Aurealis Awards prove that anything men can do, women can do just as well.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Aurealis Awards I suggest you check them out, they’re the premiere awards for the Australian Speculative Fiction crowd. A chance for Spec Fic writers to get recognized, connect, maintain a professional discourse, and to sink a few bevies. Or French Champagne for the more successful authors.
It was a fantastic event, organized by two women, Nicole Murphy and Tehani Wessley, and MCed by the talented, multi-award winning, Margo Lanagan. Those unfamiliar with her works, might I suggest Tender Morsels as a starting place. Her writing is spectacular, you will not be disappointed. Cat Sparks, demonstrated her multi-dimensional talents by, presenting, photographing, and if you check out twitter, also doing a spot of glamour modelling. On top of that, Kate Forsyth (if you haven’t heard of her… have you been living under a rock?) presented the Fantasy awards. I am pretty sure I was not the only one who had to pop on shades when she walked onto the stage to dim her radiance. She is truly amazing. And the cherry on top was Angela Slatter. Angela Slatter essentially won the Aurealis. Well, she won pretty much every category she was in. She even beat out internationally acclaimed, juggernaut, Garth Nix.
The Australian Women Writers Challenge was up for the Covenors’ Award for Excellence this year and although it didn’t win, I think it actually kind of did. The Australian Women Writers Challenge is about showcasing the enormous depth of talent that is demonstrated by Australian women who are writers. These Aurealis Awards certainly nailed that brief. So bravo Aurealis Awards, bravo Australian Women Writers Challenge and bravo all Australian women writers. If nothing else, you all get a vag badge from me.
So let’s have a ‘Clam Bake’ and celebrate these wonderful women of the Aurealis Awards and go check out their wares. Names listed below for your convenience.
Lisa L Hannett
Marianne de Pierres
Here we go. Review number 2 for the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Today I am tackling Jan Cornall, not only a writer but an institution in this country. She sings, she performs, she teaches, she is a mentor to many an artistic soul. Australian artists salute Jan Cornall, so let’s take a look inside her first published novel.
Take me to Paradise follows the journey of Marilyn, both her physical and emotional Journey. Marilyn wakes up one morning and instead of catching the bus to work, catches the ‘I don’t like Mondays’ flight to Bali. It is a poignant journey of self-discovery and self-recovery. A woman getting out of her element and in doing so she can strips away the trappings of her life and discovers what is truly her and versus what is a construction of her. It has many nods to metaphysical thought but also has that feeling of rebellion of like expressed in feminist movies like Thelma and Louise. I think this book would resonate with anyone who has had an existential crisis, midlife crisis, or went through those awkward teenage years, because all of these times are a deeply perplexing and painfully personal experience. The novella has a beautifully rich setting, with sights, smells, and sounds blasting at you. You feel as if you are immersed in this world. The tropic jungle descriptions in particular are quite powerful and make you want to travel. Take Me to Paradise shows how different the paradise dream can be: for a western woman, for a Balinese man, for a Balinese wife, and the many characters Marilyn meets.
Recently I was at a writing course and one of my fellow students told a sad tale of how she loved writing and had chosen to do a Creative Writing degree only to find that her tutors were rejecting her work simply because it was Speculative Fiction and they preferred Literary Fiction. She was seriously losing her confidence and her passion. As a teacher I found this devastating that teachers, tutors, lecturers, professors could have such a negative effect on someone’s hopes and dreams. What was worse, the person who had traumatised this girl was actually an ex collegue of mine. The horror, the horror. I in part felt personally responsible, because it wasn’t just some random person demeaning the genre but someone I had quite enjoyed having cups of tea with. And so I decided that I could not sit idly by. I decided that in personally must take action. With this motivation I decided to start the Literary Refugee group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/556083947785347/) and I roped my friend Cassandra Page in with me. I had met her at A Touch of Magic by Kate Forsyth at the New South Wales Writers’ Centre. This group is to be a place where you can proudly declare that you want to write about wizards and or aliens. You can say you don’t just appreciate fairy tales but you love them, you can say magic happens, you can say the future is the best setting. Heck you can say and do whatever you like and I hope you find solace with like-minded people. Speculative Fiction writers, you are loved, you are adored, I am you. You have a home! I hope you join me.
So, here’s my pitch. Have you suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous literary bigotry? Have you, like Terry Pratchett discovered that stories of imagination tend to upset those without one? Are you fleeing literary persecution from dusty old academics (some in young bodies) who think Speculative Fiction is best left in a cupboard, locked up and unexplored? Then take refuge here, a place that appreciates and upholds Tolkien’s three gifts of escapism, consolation and recovery. Where you can proudly declare that you want to write about a magical talking horse, or a skink like alien that lives in a sulphur rich environment and be supported, encouraged and celebrated. As Tina Fey says, I don’t care if you don’t like me, I’ll start my own group, isolation is what created the X-Men… or something like that. It is time to get your Speculative Fiction on! Join Literary Refugees at https://www.facebook.com/groups/556083947785347/
For those wondering what course was I at, it was History, Mystery and Magic, run by Kate Forsyth at the Australian Writers’ Centre. She’s an unbelievable teacher as well as having published over 25 books. I personally recommend her courses to anyone.
I’m currently on a journey of self discovery… and not a good one. I’ve discovered a few home truths about myself that will shock and appall some readers. Please take a seat and make sure you’re in a safe place. Shhhhhh, it’s okay we’re in a safe place. My two main confessions of this moment are 1. I don’t know anywhere near enough about technology to start my own website and I’d really like to but reading up on things like joomla and dreamweaver make me nearly die of snoredom. 2 I don’t use commas nearly enough. Yep. I’m a techno noob who lacks punctuations skills. This is a slight problem for one whose dreams are lofty, who aspires to greatness, whom wishes to become that most magnificent of beasties, an author. So I shall share my perilous journey through my attempts to become greater than I am, and at the very least give a “How Not to Get Published” guide, and perhaps share some fun facts, uninspiring thoughts and some tid bits… or tids of tids bits. Don’t want to go all crazy and out there and offer a whole tid bit and then find I can’t deliver. Phew. Okay, so it’s official. I am a world famous blogger of massive greatness and have complete my first blog… now.