Can't believe that the WOLF KINGDOM quartet won the Childrens/Illustrated Fiction Category at the Aurealis Awards. Wow! I was so sure I didn't have a chance. I didn't fully believe it when Lee Battersby sent me a humorous sort of congratulations on the night - I thought it was maybe more humour than fact. It was only the next morning, yesterday, when other emails came through and I knew it was true.
Now I wish I'd come up for the ceremony - not so much for the ceremony itself, by all accounts Rowena did at least as good an acceptance as I could've done myself. But I', sorry I missed the party afterwards - all the good vibes. It's a great event they put on, and I'd have attended without hoping to win, except for the overload of work I was under (uni teaching, proofreading WORLDSHAKER, stories promised by deadlines - everything landed on me at the same time).
Anyway, I have to say it feels great to be an award winner. I've won 4 Aurealises before, but this was the sweetest of all, because it was totally out-of-the-blue. And I'm so glad Laura Peterson, my wonderful illustrator, also received an award. I was so lucky to have her working on the books - and she was out-of-the-blue too, a relatively unknown talent needing and deserving recognition.
I've been doing some judging myself lately, for the NSW Premiers Literary Awards - that's the other job that's used up all my time. The experience confirmed past experiences - that judges on panels take thir role very very seriously and really work hard to set aside all prejudices. No favours, no account of reputations, just the quality of this particular book. I can't give the shortlist or winner, of course - I'm not even mentioning the category. But all 3 of us did our very best to be open-minded. As when I did judging for the Aurealises, 5, 6 years ago, I ended up with real admiration for my fellow-judges. Not everyone will agree with our decisions, we didn't always agree among ourselves - but we talked everything out, recognised our own limitations and tried to go beyond them. Three cheers for human nature!
I was going to blog yesterday, but I was too busy celebrating. Today I'm feeling a little seedy. But when I get over the seediness, I'll be back on a high. It's great to receive recognition from the spec fic community - from people whose opinions I specially value.
PS Isn't it amazing how well the spec fic community does awards? I mean, compared to any other genres. Nebulas, Hugos, World Fantasy (as won by our very own Margo) - we're just GOOD at it! And the Aurealises keep going from strength to strength - they've done so much to raise the profile of SF & Fantasy & Horror in Australia.