As I mentioned earlier, the awards night on Sunday (full results here) was a very emotional one for me! And brought in a rather hefty stack of what we football fans refer to as ‘silverware’ for myself and some very good friends. I’ve been to a lot of Ditmar ceremonies over the last decade or more that I’ve been attending cons, and this is only the second time that I’ve had fiction even nominated, so to win Best Novel with what is, let’s face it, my ‘comeback’ novel, means a lot to me.
Especially because this year’s shortlist was so strong, made up of books I love and works by writers I really respect (didn’t quite manage to read the whole shortlist before I got to the con) and I would have been genuinely glad to see any of those novels win.
But I’m so proud of Power and Majesty, and so pleased by its overall reception, and it’s hard not to be supremely grateful that people are
Winning the William Atheling for Criticism and Review for my Modern Women’s Guide to Classic Who was also deeply meaningful to me – I love this blog, and writing reviews, and you all know how I feel about Doctor Who & feminist commentary, so the fact that it was that particular series of posts that earned me another shiny trophy is something I feel very good about. Having a set of book ends like this does suggest I’m doing a good job of balancing my professional and fannish work!
Then there are the awards I shared – Galactic Suburbia won the Ditmar for Best Fan Publication in Any Medium, and the Tin Duck (Western Australia specific fan award) for Fan Production. As you can see, both sets of awards don’t have a problem with the ‘are podcasts fanzines’ debate! I had been delighted to see GS nominated for these awards along with many other podcasts because I tend to see the awards shortlists as important historical documents, and it was lovely to see the ‘year of Australian podcasts’ commemorated in this way. But much though I love all of our fellow podcasters (and projects) I was awfully delighted about these ones. We love our podcast and it has been completely humbling both at Swancon this weekend and at Worldcon last year to have so many people come up to us and say “you changed the way I read.”
Considering feminist commentary is often thought of as a rather niche concern, it’s also very exciting how often those people are men, though I have to say it’s no less awesome to hear women tell me the effect that Galactic Suburbia has had on the way they look at things.
Finally I had a very small share of the Ditmar for “Best Achievement” which was won by last year’s Snapshot. Yes, another new media project! Taking part in the Snapshot is always frantic and exciting, and inspiring at the same time. Last year, it was Kathryn Linge who took the helm, organising and encouraging us all, and while many of us have our name on that award (and we all got to kiss Sean Williams when accepting it, of course!) she was the one who put in the hard yards to make it happen.
So you know it wasn’t just about me, I was also squealing and whooping about many of the other winners. Alisa puts in so much work at Twelfth Planet Press, and I think has really lifted the bar of what we expect from indie SF press in Australia – I loved Sprawl, and I think it’s her best anthology yet, so hooray for her taking out the ‘Best Collection’ Ditmar and ‘Best Professional Production’ Tin Duck. Other Sprawl related awards included Amanda Rainey getting the Tin Duck for Best Professional Artwork for the cover art, Pete Kempshall getting the Tin Duck for Best Short Story for “Signature Walk,” and Cat Sparks’ “All The Love in the World” (one of my favourite stories from last year!) getting one of two Best Short Story Ditmars (tying for first place with Kirstyn McDermott’s “She Said” from Tales From the Second Storey).
Random Alex and Tehani have both been reviewing furiously and consistently for some years now, and so it was exciting to see them take out the Ditmar for Fan Writer and Tin Duck for Fan Written, respectively. I also yippeed for Thoraiya Dyer (whose “Yowie” from Sprawl is up for an Aurealis Award) getting Best New Talent. I not only love Thoraiya’s work, but have been excited to see how quickly she has gone from first publication and first award noms last year to – with her sale to Cosmos early this year – her first pro sale. All that plus her excellent TPP stories! Thoraiya caused many people to go “awwww” when she took her 2 year old daughter on stage for both of her Ditmars, the other being for “The Company Articles of Edward Teach” – this was a story I really loved last year, and thought would fall under the radar because it was published so late in the year. So hooray for that too!
Fan Artist of the Ditmar went to Amanda Rainey too, in this case for the Swancon 36 logo, which I have to say is hard to argue with when you’re staring at the gorgeous design of this year’s Ditmar & Tin Duck trophies (in true cyclical fandom tradition, she designed this year’s trophies featuring said logo, and promptly won several of them). She also tied for first place with Christina Lorenz for Fan Artist in the Tin Ducks. Amanda’s been doing such great work in the SF community over the last few years, mostly unpaid despite her high professional skills, and it’s lovely to see her time and effort rewarded with some trophy love.
Oh and yes, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann won for “some short film” as Jonathan charmingly put it, while presenting the award. It was one of those things where – well, it would have been completely embarrassing if anything other than the Oscar winner had taken the prize, though it would have been rather amusing if Shaun had beat himself with his other nominated work.
Back to the Tin Ducks, I think the only award I haven’t mentioned is Juliet Mariller’s Best Long Form for Seer of Sevenwaters – I loved her original Sevenwaters book, and didn’t know this one existed, so hooray for awards, now I can seek it out!
There were a few other non-affiliated awards, of which the one of most interest to me was the NORMA, of course. This year it was won by A A Bell’s Diamond Eyes, which I shall promptly seek out. The thing that seems most interesting to me up front is that they changed the award this year to include disability along with race, gender, etc. as themes that the award was looking for, and it seems from the blurb I have read that disability is a strong theme in this particular book. Watch this space for my feedback!
OK I have to go now and record another Galactic Suburbia, so I will just close by saying that it would be hard to beat the energy and love and positive vibes that I felt in the room when I picked up my own awards, and cheered on so many of my friends and colleagues while they did the same. So many smiles, so much genuine happiness! There was a time when I definitely did not feel as much a part of this community as I do today, and it was just plain nice to have so many people express their support. I do apologise for my (honestly I don’t remember what I said) rather garbled thank you speech, but I was so completely overwhelmed at that point that I’m surprised I was able to form words. That was probably the only moment of the con when I really wished I had after all brought my honey and my daughters all that way on the plane with me, so they could be a part of it all.
This whole winning trophies thing is aces, but it’s really, really new to me, as is this huge wave of excitement about my work. I am well aware that it’s not something that happens every year in a writer’s bumpy career, so intend to enjoy it while I can.