2017 Ditmar Awards – Nominations Open!

For anyone who doesn’t know, the Ditmar Awards celebrate achievements by Australians in speculative fiction writing. Nominations for the awards are currently open and can be made by anyone who (a) has been to a recent speculative fiction convention / event OR (b) is otherwise active in the speculative fiction world as a fan, writer, editor, etc. That means you! This is the one time you get a say! So enjoy it and vote – it’s free!

Back in 2014, I was thrilled to not only be nominated for but to win the Ditmar Award for ‘Best New Talent’. I think that had something to do with you guys! Thank you!

A few of you have now asked which of my works are eligible for 2017. Rather than give you a list of absolutely everything, however, here’s a list of one work per category that I’m particularly proud of, and how to vote is below…

  • Best Short Story: “Let the Tempest Hold Me Down”, Zena Shapter, in Sci Phi Journal, March 2016.

Sci Phi Journal is itself a Hugo-finalist magazine of the best philosophical science fiction around. I was honoured to be included in this edition, and then also selected to appear in the ‘best of’ anthology for 2016, Sci Phi Journal: The Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy, Anthology Edition #1 2016.

Kim Falconer, of the Quantum Encryption Series has said my story is a “Fabulous read from a strong and prolific SF writer!” Aw. If you agree, please nominate the story! The artwork for it alone is fabulous…

THE BLURB: Tek has long believed in leading a different life. When tragedy strikes close to home, he’s more determined than ever to prove himself. Only hindsight will reveal how devastating his actions will be…

  • Best Collected Work: “A Fearsome Engine”, Zena Shapter & Chris Lake, Northern Beaches Writers’ Group 2016.

This reviewer says it all:

“‘A Fearsome Engine’ is an anthology, a collection of short stories by a writers’ group in the Northern Beaches in Australia. As such, it’s published as much for the authors as the readers, or so you’d think. But I started reading at the beginning, out of curiosity, because I knew some of the writers, and found myself half way through before I realised what the time was. The central idea – humanity’s relationship with technology – is approached from many different angles, and in many different styles – horror to romance to mystery to humour, you name it. The writing is consistently impressive and, all in all, it makes for an exciting, page-turning read. All power to writers’ groups! This one’s a keeper.”

THE BLURB: Who is the master and who the machine? This collection of twenty stories by the Northern Beaches Writers’ Group explores this question with horror, humour, pathos and philosophy. Whether it be in our own place and time, far in the future, the past, or in a universe of their own making, our authors grapple with the interface between humanity and its machines. Are the things we make ours to command? Will they always be? And who, exactly, is making whom?

  • Best Novel: “Into Tordon”, Z.F. Kingbolt (aka Zena Shapter, Zoya Nojin, Mijmark, Kristin Prescott, Kirsten Taylor, Leah Boonthanom, Liz Michell, Tracey Jackson, Tony McFadden), MidnightSun Publishing 2016.

This one’s received so many great reviews! What more can I say?

“This is an impressive debut… The narrative doesn’t falter, and middle-grade readers will delight at how quickly they are thrown into the action of the story… Into Tordon is a pacy, exciting read that middle-grade readers will love getting sucked into.” Bec Kavanagh, Books+Publishing Review

“It’s like Harry Potter on steroids!” Susanne Gervay, author ‘I am Jack’

“Annabel devoured the book, loved it! Had to take it off her at 10pm that night and she finished it next morning. Well done!” Claire, Mum of Annabel

“Into Tordon is an exciting read. Fast-paced, fun and clever… But this book isn’t all action and adventure. The two teens begin with preconceived notions of each other and as they journey… they each find a strength to themselves they didn’t know they had… Into Tordon is a book perfect for middle grade readers looking for an adventure with no romance. It’s fun and exciting with readers never quite knowing what to expect next.” Kate, Fictional Thoughts

“A timely book aimed at a young audience reminding them that girls can be champions too… The story is fast-paced and exciting…” Verushka Byrow, The Children’s Book Council of Australia, Reading Time.

“Beginning with an adrenalin-pumping computer-gaming championship, Into Tordon throws its 13-year-old main characters into a real-life scenario that is as full of risk, riddles and threats as any computer game – or is it, in fact, a computer game? It takes Beth and her antagonistic rival Zane through a fascinating range of cultures and other-worldly scenarios as life-threatening situations and brain-teasing mysteries forge a bond of mutual dependency that grows gradually into Beth and Zane’s firm friendship… full of sudden twists and intriguing turns.” Katharine England, SA Weekend, Well Read.

“The action and adventure in this story keeps the reader on their toes. Surviving being eaten by a large snake being one obstacle to overcome. This is a great read for kids aged 9-14 years and will suit both boys and girls to match the two main characters… Enjoy this action packed adventure.” Melinda McNaughton, Creative Kids Tales.

THE BLURB: Thirteen-year-old Beth has been waiting for weeks to play in the championship of her favourite online game, Tordon. Now tribes of beastmen roar through her speakers. Game on! She plays to win, until her gaming nemesis Zane challenges her to a real-life risk that has them sucked into a strange world. Here they must push their skills to the limit just to survive! Faced with riddles, a multitude of dangerous creatures, exotic cultures and scientific impossibilities, Beth and Zane are forced to take on challenge after challenge if they’re ever to return home.

  • Best Novella or Novelette: “Rider & the Hummingbird”, Leah Boonthanom, Madi Duncan, Chris Lake, Tony McFadden, Kylie Pfeiffer, Kristin Prescott, and Zena Shapter, Northern Beaches Writers’ Group 2016.

Rider & the Hummingbird has already won an award, as winner of the ‘Best Book’ award in the 2015 WABIAD competition. Profits from the sale of this book go towards The Kids’ Cancer Project. So the more exposure it gets, the more sales for charity. Help fight cancer!

Judge of the WABIAD competition, Chloe Mauger of the CBCA WA, said of it: “There are surprising plot twists, moments of high elation, and deep despair, personal challenges, red herrings and betrayals… This book tells a strong, original, well-written, suspenseful and dramatic tale…!”

THE BLURB: Fourteen-year-old Lan is a computer genius… and a prisoner. After poking around in exactly the wrong websites, Lan’s interest in drones has landed him in the High Country Youth Correctional Facility. Not a good start. Lan is resigned to his fate until he discovers that the mysterious hacktivist who framed him is part of a plot to kill thousands of people, including his mum and dad. With the help of Monk and his ferret, Lan breaks out of jail, and races to prevent a disaster that could change the face of Australia forever.

How to vote?

If you’d like to nominate any of these works, please do so via this form: http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2017/nominations.html or by emailing the organisers at: ditmars [at] sf.org.au, Nominations close 19th March.

Thank you for reading this, and good luck to everyone also being nominated for these prestigious awards 🙂










Zena Shapter

I write from a castle in a flying city hidden by a thundercloud. #Ditmar Award-winning author. Movie buff. Traveller. Wine lover. Story nerd. Book Creator & Mentor. Founder & leader of the award-winning Northern Beaches Writers' Group / ZF Kingbolt.

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