Navigating the modern business of book publishing

2009 Aurealis Award Nominations

The short lists are in for the 2009 Aurealis Awards, recognising Australia’s best Science Fiction and Fantasy writing. It’s been another strong year for Australian SF & Fantasy and the number of new authors in this year’s list is good news for the future. The Winners will be announced on the 23rd January.

Best Science Fiction Novel

There are only two titles in the SF short list and it’s hard to go past Andrew McGahan’s dizzying literary SF masterpiece Wonders of a Godless World – a book that used the age-old idea of psychic power in a truly original way to explore the majesty and scope of planet Earth and our place on it. The Grand Conjunction was gripping space opera and a thrilling conclusion to the Astropolis which has placed Sean Williams amongst the best Science Fiction writers in the world today.

Andrew McGahan, Wonders of a Godless World, Allen & Unwin
Sean Williams, The Grand Conjunction, Astropolis Book Three, Orbit

Best Fantasy Novel

Five very strong fantasy titles and a couple of new authors to watch out for in K.J. Taylor and Peter M. Ball. Ball’s brilliant and subversive urban fantasy novella Horn is notable, coming from the small but exciting Perth-based indie publisher Twelfth Planet Press. Ball has four separate nominations in this years awards including two for Horn and two SF short stories. While I would dearly love Horn to take out the fantasy award I think Glenda Larke’s The Last Stormlord is the one to beat.

Peter M. Ball, Horn, Twelfth Planet Press
Trudi Canavan, Magician’s Apprentice, Orbit
Glenda Larke, The Last Stormlord, HarperVoyager
K.E. Mills, Witches Incorporated, HarperVoyager
K.J. Taylor, The Dark Griffin, HarperVoyager

Best Horror Novel

It’s worth noting that every book in the horror short list is a debut novel – great news if you love a good scare. Horn gets another nomination along with Tracey O’Hara’s dark urban fantasy psychological thrillers from H.M. Brown and Stephen Irwin. Kaaron Warren’s intense and disturbing vision of hell is my pick however.

Peter M. Ball, Horn, Twelfth Planet Press
Honey Brown, Red Queen, Penguin Australia
Stephen M. Irwin, The Dead Path, Hachette Australia
Tracey O’Hara, Night’s Cold Kiss, HarperCollins Publishers Australia
Kaaron Warren, Slights, Angry Robot Books

Best Illustated Book/Graphic Novel

I’m not familiar with all the titles in this list but if they were better than Scarygirl by Nathan Jurevicius they deserve to win.

Bruce Mutard, The Silence, Allen & Unwin
Emily Rodda & Marc McBride, Secrets of Deltora, Scholastic Australia
Madeleine Rosca, Hollow Fields, Seven Seas Entertainment
Nathan Jurevicius, Scarygirl, Allen & Unwin

Best Young Adult Novel

Children’s and young adult fiction has always been very strong in Australia and our authors are popular all around the world. Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan, with it’s lushly illustrated mix of steam punk bio-engineering  must be the favourite this year though.

Kate Forsyth, The Puzzle Ring, Pan Macmillan
Cassandra Golds, The Museum of Mary Child, Puffin Books
Glenda Millard, A Small Free Kiss in the Dark, Allen & Unwin
Scott Westerfeld, Leviathan Trilogy: Book One, Penguin
Sean Williams, Scarecrow, HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Best Children’s Novel

Debie Abela and Kate Constable are my favourites this year with Cicada Summer probably just edging out the delightful Aurelie Bonhoffen

Deborah Abela, The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen, Random House Australia
Kate Constable, Cicada Summer, Allen & Unwin
Jen Storer, Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children, Penguin/Viking
Gabrielle Wang, A Ghost in My Suitcase, Puffin Books

Best Children’s Illustrated Work/Picture Book

Hard to go past a Graeme Base picture book, particularly one that returns to the wonderful puzzle solving theme of his brilliant The Eleventh Hour. Enigma is perhaps a little gimmicky but offers hours of fun for any child.

Graeme Base, Enigma, Penguin/Viking
Anna Fienberg (author), Kim Gamble (illustrator), Tashi and the Golem, Allen & Unwin
Pamela Freeman (author), Kim Gamble (illustrator), Victor’s Challenge, Walker Books Australia
Dan McGuiness, Pilot and Huxley, Omnibus Books
Gregory Rogers, The Hero of Little Street, Allen & Unwin


It’s always great to see so many wonderful new names in the short story categories and I look forward to seeing many of these authors going on to write novels in the future. It’s also great to see the small independent publishers get the recognition they deserve for all the hard work they do to bring so many authors to their audience. I have mentioned Twelfth Planet Press above and they feature very strongly here again with five more nominations across four categories, but there are a number of passionate small and independent presses  and magazines around Australia that just keep producing great SF, Fantasy and Horror. It’s a largely thankless task and far from profitable but we are going to see more and more stories coming from these wonderful little operations as advances in both e-books and print on demand technology level the playing field with the big publishers. You can find links to a number of these publishers and magazines in my blogroll.

Best Science Fiction Short Story

Peter M. Ball, ‘Clockwork, Patchwork and Ravens’, Apex Magazine May 2009
Peter M. Ball, ‘To Dream of Stars: An Astronomer’s Lament’, Apex Magazine October 2009
Christopher Green, ‘A Hundredth Name’, Abyss & Apex Magazine #31
Greg Mellor, ‘Defence of the Realm’, Cosmos #25
Mike Resnick & Lezli Robyn, ‘Soulmates’ Asimov’s September 2009

Best Fantasy Short Story

Christopher Green, ‘Father’s Kill’, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #24
Ian McHugh, ‘Once a Month, On a Sunday’, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #40
Tansy Rayner Roberts, ‘Siren Beat’, Roadkill/Siren Beat, Twelfth Planet Press
Angela Slatter, ‘Words’ The Lifted Brow #5
Lucy Sussex, ‘Something Better than Death’, Aurealis #42, Chimaera Publications

Best Horror Short Story

Felicity Dowker, ‘Jesse’s Gift’, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #40
Christopher Green, ‘Having Faith‘, Nossa Morte, February 2009
Paul Haines, ‘Wives‘, X6, Coeur de Lion Publishing
Paul Haines, ‘Slice of Life – A Spot of Liver‘, Slice of Life, The Mayne Press
Andrew J. McKiernan, ‘The Message‘, Midnight Echoes, Australian Horror Writers Association

Best Anthology

Alisa Krasnostein & Tehani Wessely (editors), New Ceres Nights, Twelfth Planet Press
Keith Stevenson (editor), X6, Coeur de Lion Publishing
Jonathan Strahan (editor), Eclipse 2, Night Shade Books
Jonathan Strahan (editor), Eclipse 3, Night Shade Books
Jonathan Strahan & Gardner Dozois (editors), The New Space Opera 2, Harper Eos

Best Collection

Deborah Biancotti (author) & Alisa Krasnostein (editor), A Book of Endings, Twelfth Planet Press
Greg Egan, Oceanic, Gollancz
Paul Haines (author) & Geoff Maloney (editor), Slice of Life, The Mayne Press
Robbie Matthews (author) & Donna Hanson (editor), Johnny Phillips Werewolf Detective, Australian Speculative Fiction

Best Young Adult Short Story

Joanne Anderton, ‘Dragon Bones’, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #39
Sue Isle, ‘Paper Dragons’, Shiny #5, Twelfth Planet Press
Ian McHugh, ‘Once a Month, on a Sunday’, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #40
Tansy Rayner Roberts, ‘Like Us‘, Shiny #5, Twelfth Planet Press
Cat Sparks, ‘Seventeen’, Masques, CSFG

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Categorised in: All Posts, Australian Literature, Literary Awards, SF & Fantasy

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About Richard

Richard Bilkey has been selling, marketing and distributing books for over ten years, managing independent bookshops, a major online retailer and, most recently, one of Australia's largest Independent Book Distributors, Brumby Books.

Contact Richard directly at
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