Tag Archives: margo lanagan

2012 Aurealis Awards (and having “too many” wins)

For the last couple of years I have attended the Sydney-hosted Aurealis Awards weekend, which is always a blast. Sadly I was reining back on travel this year and couldn’t make it – but it sounds like those who were there had a great time! Check in on the #AurealisAwards hashtag on Twitter to see some of the commentary on the night from those who were there. Sean the Blogonaut also Storified the event which provides the highlights in Tweets and Twitpicks.

Some great results here, and congratulations to all the winners! Special congratulations to Margo Lanagan who had a great night, taking out four awards (each chosen by separate juries!) for Sea Hearts, “Bajazzle” and “Significant Dust.”

I have to say, I found it pretty tiring that so many people (including tons that I love and respect) started trotting out the jokes so early about Margo winning so many awards, or as the jokes implied, TOO many awards. (Note: the jokes started before her first win) It reminds me of the recent commentary about Hilary Mantel in the UK winning “all” the awards and not leaving any for anything else. The jokes might all have been intended as good-natured joshing, but it’s a disappointing aspect of Australian culture in particular that there is such a low ceiling to people (even friends) celebrating your success, before they turn around and start suggesting (in jest or otherwise) that it’s something you should be ashamed of.

Chances are pretty high that Margo found it as funny as anyone else there last night, but as an onlooker on the proceedings the sheer weight and number of those jokes flying thick and fast across Twitter did make me a bit uncomfortable.

Sometimes, as I tweeted last night, an author has a really spectacular year, and awards reflect that. Margo Lanagan is one of our best authors, who happens to have put out a fantastic novel AND a brilliant original collection in the same year, and I know she wasn’t taking those wins for granted.

Margo is aces & I love her as a person as well as for her writing, and I doubt very much she will ever have a night where she goes home with four trophies again, so let her enjoy it, eh?

This might be a good time to link to the article that reworks Helen Garner’s speech for the Stella Prize recently – about how awards can mess with your head as a writer, regardless of whether you win or don’t win.

And now, the Aurealis Award winners! A great range of works being honoured here, very much worthy of a ‘To Read’ list. Too many of the winners are my actual friends so I’ll just say congratulations to EVERYONE. Worth noting that there’s quite a spread of publishers being covered here, from old hands HarperCollins and Allen&Unwin to new kids on the block digital-only publisher Xoum and some Aussies published overseas with NightShade and Clarkesworld. Twelfth Planet Press flew the flag for Australian indie presses with three short stories honoured from two Twelve Planets collections, Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren and Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan. There was even a self-published winner with KJ Bishop’s collection – so, variety!

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Postcards from a Saturday Morning

phpThumb-1The Shirley Jackson Award shortlist is up! This is especially exciting this year because it features two Australians (a pretty rare event, I think?). Even better, they’re not competing with each other!

Margo Lanagan is up for Short Fiction with “Bajazzle” from her wonderful collection Cracklescape, and Kaaron Warren is up for Novella with the deeply troubling, upsetting and horrific “Sky” from her dark and creepy collection Through Splintered Walls. Both these collections are Twelve Planets!

Congratulations to everyone on the Shirley Jackson list – was pleased to see Robert Shearman there with his new book Remember Why You Fear Me, and Kelly Link with the wonderful story “Two Houses” which I heard her read at Continuum last year.

Speaking of Kaaron Warren’s Through Splintered Walls, if you’re anywhere near Rockingham WA today, go and check out the exhibition of paper art made from the ‘printer error’ batch of those books – Lee Battersby let a few sneak peeks out over Facebook and the work looks spectacular!

In other news, the new Board of Directors of the SFWA has been announced:
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Friday Links Is A Prestige-Free Zone

At Salon-com, Laura Miller takes on the question of why young adult literature is “dominated” by women and particularly examines the issue of how commerciality (or perceived commerciality) affects the prestige of women writers differently to men.

Tor.com looks at some of the ramifications of Wonder Woman and Superman hooking up. I’m sorry, I know there are many people particularly WW and Lois fans who are outraged but this, but I fail to find it anything but hilarious. It feels like that Brady Bunch movie where Greg and Marcia started getting romantic.

Also, why is no one getting upset that Clark broke the sacred rule of dibs? Green Lantern called DIBS, Clark!

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Tansy’s Con Report 2: Cocktails, Cupcakes and a Trifle or two

Can’t believe Alex has already managed to write up the whole con! I’m still grouping the events by theme…

And speaking of events, there were all manner of special ones at this convention. I was delighted to be able to go to Narrelle Harris’ launch of Walking Shadows, the sequel to The Opposite of Life. This book has been a long time coming, and it was delightful to see it finally HERE. I adore Narrelle, and she deserves all the wonderful writerly things that have been happening for her this year. It was a smallish program room but utterly packed, standing room only (and there were plenty on their feet) as Jason Nahrung launched the books, and we all queued up to buy it. I have a copy!

Speaking of books, I was also excited beyond all measure to get my hot little hands on Medea by Kerry Greenwood, one of my favourite Ancient Greece novels of all time, recently reissued by ClanDestine Press, who are also publishing Narrelle’s novels. I’ve never owned a copy of this book (I read it through the library) but am so excited to have a chance to reread it.

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Twelfth Planet Press Takes On Embiggen Books

If you’re in Melbourne this weekend and not at the Continuum/Craftonomicon convention, you can still get in on some Twelfth Planet Press action!

Hosted by Ian Mond of The Writer and the Critic Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein and a bunch of her authors will be recording a live podcast from Embiggen Books this Saturday afternoon and otherwise causing merriment and mayhem. We’d love to see you there whether you’re a reader, writer, podcast listener or just someone interested in awesome, cute books. For many of you it will be your first chance to get your hands on (or just gaze lovingly at) Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren, and Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan, two brand new books in the Twelve Planets range, plus Salvage by Jason Nahrung, which will be launched at the convention the previous night (TONIGHT)

Embiggen Books
5pm Saturday 9th June (TOMORROW)
197-203 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000

A book launch with a difference! Come join host Ian Mond, Twelfth Planet Press publisher Alisa Krasnostein and Twelfth Planet Press authors as they launch the Twelve Planets into space, via a live podcast from Embiggen Books. Find out what goes in to putting together this acclaimed series of boutique collections. Hijinks will undoubtedly ensue.

If you’re at the convention, of course, we’d love to have you come along as well! It’s about a 10-15 minute walk from the main con venue, and the more people we have, the better.

Eeee I’m going to be in Melbourne in a few hours.

Friday Links Loves Talking Ponies

So the big SF news on the internet this week is apparently not the release of the Clarke Award shortlist, but that Christopher Priest does not approve of the Clarke Award shortlist. Scalzi and Charles Tan discuss both the rant itself and the responses to it. Cheryl Morgan looks at the piece as part of a larger tradition of deciding award decisions are WRONG.

Personally, as someone who has judged a bunch of awards, I think that critiquing shortlists is fair game, because there’s no completely objective definition of ‘best’, but suggesting that the decisions are wrong, incompetent or should in some way not count is the height of arrogance because, you know, THERE’S NO COMPLETELY OBJECTIVE DEFINITION OF BEST. And it’s amazing how often these critiques come down to “people with different opinions to me are stupid/wrong” which isn’t an overly healthy attitude. At the point you’re suggesting that the judges should be fired and their decisions overturned… gah. No. Not okay.

On the other hand, internet rants are fascinating when they’re happening to other people. So there’s that. And sometimes there are t-shirts. By far the most measured, well-crafted and nuanced response I have seen in response to the Priest post, however (and one which made me seriously reconsider my use of the word ‘rant’) is by Catherynne Valente, who brings up all kinds of really interesting angles to the story that I hadn’t considered before. I really think she is becoming one of our most important commentators on the field.

Speaking of nuanced criticism, Maggie Stiefvater’s first response to the Hunger Games film and the audience she saw the movie with is really interesting. Certainly worth considering if you’re over all the ‘it should have been more violent’ complaints of the movie.

There’s a great discussion on the Australian Women Writers blog about romance, and whether it’s feminist or not, being a genre all about women’s point of view (readers, writers and characters), but one that sometimes promotes unfeminist ideas. (You mean supporting women’s rights to CHOOSE what they read even if it’s bad for them might be feminist???)

Jennifer Mills interrogates the gender essentialism that sometimes surrounds discussions of women’s writing.

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Oysters, Sand and Worldbuilding as Plot

There’s a trick, well-honed over the last eleven years, to finding a good ROR retreat. Ideally, we need some kind of shared accommodation to fit 5-8 writers, a working kitchen so Mr Flinthart can do his thing, a decent-sized space to all sit in for critiquing sessions, some inspiring scenery and some nice walking areas nearby.

Steeles Island, a mostly-private peninsula out near Carlton Beach (on the eastern shore of the Derwent River), turned out to have all these things in spades. It was a lucky find, as it turned out to have so many benefits we hadn’t even hoped for.

This particular ROR (wRiters on the Road/Rise/Riesling) had a family theme to it. We’d only included family members once before, when little Raeli was too young for me to bear leaving her behind for a whole four days, and so she and my honey came along to a North West Coast Tasmanian ROR, staying nights with us at the Hawley Beach house we rented, and disappearing during the days to visit relatives. This time around, we planned to do something similar only with Jem along – and then Margo and Rowena decided to bring family members too!

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While we were away RORing (and I am still planning a post on the retreat, honest!) the new issue of Locus came out – and I had forgotten that as it was February, that meant Recommended Reading List! Yee-haw!

Yes, I am a diehard Locus Recommended Reading List fangirl. It’s where I got my book recs from before the blogosphere inserted itself into my brain. Which is why it was so exciting for me to appear on there twice – under Collection for Love and Romanpunk, and Short Story for “The Patrician.” Heady stuff! The Collection recommendation is especially exciting, as I’ve never had a whole BOOK recommended by the Locus crew. And it really didn’t hurt to be poring over the list with fellow recommendee Margo Lanagan over our breakfast bowls…

I’m really excited and proud about how much positive response I have got from people about “The Patrician” – it’s a story that felt right when I was writing it, so it’s fantastic to see it mentioned several times in this issue of Locus, by reviewers whose opinions I greatly respect. The book as a whole has gone very well too – Alisa told me this week that she opened the last box of Love and Romanpunk! How exciting is that, for a small press title to be so close to selling out, less than a year after its release?

Jason Nahrung points out all the Aussies on the list. It’s lovely to see such a diverse range of Australian authors mentioned – that is, old favourites as well as new names. And lots of women! I was particularly excited to see Thoraiya Dyer and Jo Anderton on their for their work, so early in their careers – potential Campbell nominees, perhaps? But congratulations to everyone to made it, especially those of you who are friends. Cos, you know. I like my talented friends BEST OF ALL.

More Launch Pictures!

Thanks to Tehani, I have some more pics from the Reign of Beasts/Sea Hearts launch! She has made them available through Creative Commons, so feel free to grab them, but do credit the photographer!

Reign of Beasts and Sea Hearts look so pretty together!

Richard Harland, Rowena Cory Daniells, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Margo Lanagan

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Launched! Selkies and Beasts

Many bookloving folk in Hobart and from farther afield gathered last night to celebrate the double launch of two much-anticipated Australian fantasy novels: Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin) and Reign of Beasts: Creature Court Book Three by Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager). Sea Hearts was launched by Richard Harland, and Reign of Beasts by Rowena Cory Daniells.

It was lovely to see so many family and friends gathered once again for what has become an annual tradition in recent years – long may it continue! – the launch of one of my books. Even more special was to share this with members of my writing group, who are normally scattered more widely across Australia when an event like this happens.

I began the Creature Court with ROR, who workshopped the first volume through a couple of early drafts, so it felt very appropriate to bring the trilogy to a close with many of them: Rowena Cory Daniells, Margo Lanagan, Dirk Flinthart and Richard Harland, in attendance. Sad of course that we couldn’t be joined by Marianne De Pierres, Trent Jamieson and Maxine McArthur! Their absence was felt.

The Hobart Bookshop put on an excellent launch, as they always do. I was delighted to welcome Tehani, new import to our shores, along with her family, and to finally meet Lian Tanner, another local writer whose path has never entirely crossed mine before.

And, of course, while books and launch speeches and wine are all terribly important things, the MOST important thing is that, yet again, my gorgeous daughters dressed for the occasion, as a lion and tiger respectively. Goodness only knows what I’ll do when I have a seamonster book to launch.

Thanks for coming, everyone who came!

Margo and I were both delighted to see our books hurled into the stratosphere with such panache, and of course those who weren’t able to make the event can assuage their disappointment by picking up copies in good (Australian and New Zealand only for now, sigh) bookshops.