A good, good night at the 17th annual #Aurealis Awards!

I gotta feeling… that tomorrow night’s gonna be a good night – a good, good night: #AurealisAwards

A good, good night!

Such was my tweet on Friday – and my prediction was spot on. Saturday night at the 17th Annual Aurealis Awards was a good night – a good, good night!

Kicking off with pre-drink drinks, in pre-frock frocks (yes, I mean you Cat Sparks!), we all gathered at The Rydges Hotel’s Mundo Tapas Bar to wish the shortlisted stars of the Australian speculative fiction scene the very best of luck.

Above us, stars then followed the stars, as we switched venues to enjoy our Voyager goodie-bags, complimentary drinks and canapés in the lobby of the North Sydney Independent Theatre. With a film crew recording our every move, and a room pack full of talent so breathtaking it was hard to know whom to chat with first, it felt like a luxurious red carpet experience.

North Sydney Independent Theatre – lobby drinks & canapés. Yum!

After chinking countless glasses and enjoying the mounting excitement – it was soon time for finalists, supporters, editors and fans to find their seats in the theatre, await the results and cheer as one favourite after another received their coveted Aurealis Awards.

Kate Forsyth, Susan Wardle & Chris Barnes

Opening Star Wars style graphics set the mood and Kate Forsyth, our Master of Ceremonies, talked about the first Aurealis Awards she attended years ago, when she was both enormously pregnant and enormously impressed with the wealth of speculative fiction talent in Australia.

Since then our community has only grown from strength to strength, she said.


Good luck in Tassie, Stephanie Smith!

One after another, Susan Wardle, Chris Barnes, Sophie Masson, Margo Lanagan, Scott Westerfeld, Cat Sparks, Kirstyn McDermott, Stephanie Smith, Sean Williams, Tehani Wessely, Rosanna Arciuli and Damon Cavalchini then took to the stage to congratulate this year’s winners.

The onscreen graphics were particularly impressive this year, and Stephanie Smith’s farewell speech particularly touching.

Alan Baxter – catching me, catching him deep in the Twittersphere!



For live event coverage, just follow the #aurealis hashtag on Twitter – because of course Alan Baxter live-tweeted the whole thing – and there’s a great virtual summary by Sean the Blogonaut here.

So… the winners are:


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)

Kate Forsyth (Master of Ceremonies) & Gillian Polack (Aurealis Judge)

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: JOINT WINNERS – Hidden by Mirranda Burton (author & illustrator) (Black Pepper) AND The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor (author) and James Brouwer (illustrator) (Gestault Publishing)

Alan Baxter, Gillian Polack (Aurealis Judge) & Russel Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)

COLLECTION: Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa Hannett (Ticonderoga Publications)

ANTHOLOGY: Ghosts by Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers (HarperVoyager)

HORROR short story: JOINT WINNERS – The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt by Paul Haines (The Last Days of Kali YugaBrimstone Press) AND The Short Go: a Future in Eight Seconds by Lisa L. Hannett (Bluegrass Symphony, Ticonderoga Publications)

Pamela Freeman, winner of Best Fantasy Novel “Ember and Ash”.


HORROR novel: NO SHORTLIST OR WINNING NOVEL – TWO HONORABLE MENTIONS AWARDED TO: The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin (Hachette) AND The Business of Death by Trent Jamieson (Hachette)

FANTASY short story: Fruit of the Pipal Tree by Thoraiya Dyer (After the Rain, FableCroft Publishing)

FANTASY novel: Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman (Hachette)


Kim Westwood, winner Best Science Fiction Novel “The Courier’s New Bicycle”.

SCIENCE FICTION short story: Rains of la Strange by Robert N Stephenson (Anywhere but Earth, Couer de Lion)

SCIENCE FICTION novel: The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood (HarperVoyager)

The Peter McNamara Convenor’s Awards went to Galactic Suburbia.

The Kris Hembury Encouragement Award went to Emily Craven.



So, if you were wondering what to read next – there’s a list I made for you earlier!

After a few celebratory drinks in the lobby, there was a writers’ retreat of the liquid variety back at The Rydges Hotel’s Mundo Tapas Bar.

Richard Harland

My hubby & Trudi Canavan (Photo by Cat Sparks)

Nicky Strickland, Jo Anderton & Jason Nahrung

Alan Baxter & Abigail Nathan (Bothersome Words)

My hubby & Patty Jansen (Photo by Cat Sparks)

All up, it was a wonderful night, and I was sad to leave (but had to get back for my babysitter!) – so thank you SpecFaction NSW, HarperVoyager, Cosmos Magazine, Galaxy Bookshop and Judging Coordinator Tehani Wessely. It was a good night – a good, good night!

Want more photos? There’s more from the night here (by Cat Sparks), here (by Tehani Wessely) and here (by Richard Harland).

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of awards – thank you so much Sydney Aaliyah for my blogging award. I love that you love this blog enough to give it an award. Lucky me, for having received this award before, you can read the seven secret things that not very many people know about me here – but, shhh, don’t go telling too many people about them, or they won’t be so secret anymore!

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.


  1. A great night, and great to meet you there!

  2. How cool! Looks like you had an absolute ball, Zena!

  3. Sounds like a great night! Thanks for listing the winners, I’m planning an Aussie Fantasy showcase in July so I’ve added quite a few to my list 🙂

    • You are very welcome, Angelya! Here’s a list of the shortlisted fantasy finalists, I thought you might be interested:

      The Undivided by Jennifer Fallon (HarperVoyager)
      Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman (Hachette) – WINNER
      Stormlord’s Exile by Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)
      Debris by Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
      The Shattered City by Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)

      “Fruit of the Pipal Tree” by Thoraiya Dyer (After the Rain, FableCroft Publishing) – WINNER
      “The Proving of Smollett Standforth” by Margo Lanagan (Ghosts by Gaslight, HarperVoyager)
      “Into the Clouds on High” by Margo Lanagan (Yellowcake, Allen & Unwin)
      “Reading Coffee” by Anthony Panegyris (Overland)
      “The Dark Night of Anton Weiss” by D.C. White (More Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications)

  4. Smile, Zena! You’ve been nominated (not for the first time, I’m sure) for the prestigious Versatile Blogger Award! http://jeffwhelan.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/the-versatile-blogger-award/ I’d have notified you last night but it was way past my bedtime. Had to grab some shuteye first. Cheers!

    • Jeff – you are wonderful! Thank you so much for this award, and for all your support for my blog. I see every single tweet you make about it, and I really appreciate it 🙂

      Fascinating to read more about you in your seven things – I’d love to read that 3-part sonnet which you wrote to propose to your lovely wife. It’s amazing that you travelled with a carnival, and I loved reading about your drive to San Fran – so lucky that your passenger had a AAA-Plus towing card!!

      Yes, as you suspected, I did receive this award last year. You can read my seven things here: http://www.zenashapter.com/blog/?p=3838 But that doesn’t make your award any less special. Thank you 🙂

Comments are closed