What a weekend! I always have a blast at the Aurealis Awards, but Saturday night felt like a dream. SpecFaction NSW put on an incredible show in Sydney; the drinks flowed before and after the awards, the ceremony ran super-smoothly (Kate Forsyth in her AWESOME red leather gloves was a fantastic MC) and the vibe throughout the evening was electric.
This photo of Cat, Liz and I (taken from Cat Spark’s photoset) sums up the mood on Saturday night: happy, boisterous, supportive, and so much fun. Like the Australian speculative fiction community in general, I’d say. Everyone was all dolled up — which is another thing I love about the Aurealis Awards! — and smiling, smiling, smiling. If you look at Cat’s photos, or at Tehani’s set, you’ll be greeted with a collection of people having a wonderful time, and all the smiles are genuine.
Of course, I was walking around on cloud nine all night. I was so surprised to have won the Best Collection award that I fell out of my shoe on the way up to the stage. I felt so lucky just to have been on a shortlist with Paul, Tansy, Deb and Sue that, as much as everyone likes to win, I really was totally stoked with just having my name next to theirs for all the world to see. So I floated up to the stage, dropped my shoe (luckily my dress was long) and then floated back to my seat. And there I was, feeling the adrenaline starting to ebb, feeling so relieved that I’d managed to make a speech that sounded somewhat composed and moderately articulate… and then I heard Kirstyn say that I’d tied with Paul Haines for the Best Horror Short Story award. It was at that point that I lost all composure, and with it All The Words.
I wish I could have had the presence of mind to say what an incredible honour it was to be on the winner’s podium with Paul. And, again, to have been on a shortlist with Deb Biancotti! Angela Slatter! And OMG MARGO LANAGAN! But as everyone saw, all I could muster was a goofy smile, a wide-eyed expression, and about a dozen shocked ‘thank yous’ before I sat back down. I was so happy to see Thoraiya Dyer win for Best Fantasy Short Story — two years in a row! — and loved that Kim Westwood’s The Courier’s New Bicycle won for Best Science Fiction novel (also loved her speech!), that Jack Dann’s Ghosts by Gaslight won Best Anthology, and that the Galactic Suburbia podcast was awarded the Peter McNamara!
The Rydges after-party was a wonderful, champagne-filled romp (note to self: next year, eat dinner first!) and it was so much fun catching up with friends I don’t get to see anywhere near enough, seeing Facebook and Twitter friends in 3D, and chatting and chatting and chatting — until the bar staff kicked us all out!
For some reason, I woke up with an incredible headache Sunday morning… but the lovely Angie Rega whisked me away for breakfast and to show me around Sydney for the day (I’d only been there once before, at last year’s AAs!) so I staved off the hangover with bacon and lots of walking. (Well, sort of staved off. Kept at bay.)
Thanks, everyone, for a fabulous weekend! Can’t wait to see you all again at Continuum!
2011 Aurealis Award Winners
CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)
City of Lies by Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)
CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)
Sounds Spooky by Christopher Cheng (author) and Sarah Davis (illustrator) (Random House Australia)
YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY
“Nation of the Night” by Sue Isle (Nightsiders, Twelfth Planet Press)
YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Only Ever Always by Penni Russon (Allen & Unwin)
ILLUSTRATED BOOK / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Hidden by Mirranda Burton (author and illustrator) (Black Pepper)
The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor (author) and James Brouwer (illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)
Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa L. Hannett (Ticonderoga Publications)
Ghosts by Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers (Harper Voyager)
HORROR SHORT STORY
“The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt” by Paul Haines (The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Brimstone Press)
“The Short Go: a Future in Eight Seconds” by Lisa L. Hannett (Bluegrass Symphony, Ticonderoga Publications)
NO SHORTLIST OR WINNING NOVEL
FANTASY SHORT STORY
“Fruit of the Pipal Tree” by Thoraiya Dyer (After the Rain, FableCroft Publishing)
Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman (Hachette)
SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY
“Rains of la Strange” by Robert N Stephenson (Anywhere but Earth, Coeur de Lion)
SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood (HarperCollins)
Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award
Galactic Suburbia podcast – Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Andrew Finch (producer)
Kris Hembury Encouragement Award
Emily Craven of Adelaide