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!