The 2012 Aurealis Awards Finalists Have Been Announced! AND one of them is visiting us next month!

large_BRTD_MAY_wild_girl_coverYay!!!! The 2012 Aurealis Awards finalists have been announced! These awards, which were established in 1995 by the publishers of Aurealis magazine and are the premier awards for Australian speculative fiction, aim to highlight the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.

2012 saw almost 750 entries across 13 categories, which include Science Fiction, Fantasy, Youth, Horror, Children’s Fiction. Each category is divided further into novels and short fiction. Awards are also given to the best anthology and collection, and best illustrated work or graphic novel.  (www.aurealisawards.com). 

There are some amazing titles in the shortlist, and I am so excited to see that it includes two of my favourite reads for 2013 – Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan and Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. I braved an early morning train trip to Sydney to attend the 2013 NSW Writers’ Centre’s Speculative Fiction Festival last month and hear several authors of the who feature on this list- Kate Forsyth (who coordinated the festival), Juliet Marillier, Garth Nix, Kirstyn McDermott, John Flanagan and Jason Nahrung- talk about how they do their thing. Was that train trip worth it? In a word, YES!

forsyth-kateAnd while we’re on the topic… we’re lucky enough to have Kate Forsyth herself visiting Nowra Library next month. Our Morning Tea with Kate Forsyth will take place on May 1st here at Nowra Library and is sure to be a fascinating session with one of Australia’s top fantasy authors. Copies of Kate’s books, including her newest work, The Wild Girl, will be available for purchase. You can contact the library on 4429 3710 or  Sharpe@shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au to book your place. – Kelly.

The 2012  Aurealis Awards Finalists

FANTASY NOVEL

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier

FANTASY SHORT STORY

“Sanaa’s Army” by Joanne Anderton in Bloodstones

“The Stone Witch” by Isobelle Carmody in Under My Hat

“First They Came” by Deborah Kalin in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 55

“Bajazzle” by Margo Lanagan in Cracklescape

“The Isles of the Sun” by Margo Lanagan in Cracklescape

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Suited by Jo Anderton

The Last City by Nina D’Aleo

And All The Stars by Andrea K Host

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“Visitors” by James Bradley in Review of Australian Fiction

“Significant Dust” by Margo Lanagan in Cracklescape

“Beyond Winter’s Shadow” by Greg Mellor in Wild Chrome

“The Trouble with Memes” by Greg Mellor in WildChrome

“The Lighthouse Keepers’ Club” by Kaaron Warren in Exotic Gothic 4

HORROR NOVEL

Bloody Waters by Jason Franks

Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott

Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung

Salvage by Jason Nahrung

HORROR SHORT STORY

“Sanaa’s Army” by Joanne Anderton in Bloodstones

“Elyora” by Jodi Cleghorn in RabbitHole Special Issue Review of Australian Fiction

“To Wish Upon a Clockwork Heart” by Felicity Dowker in Bread and Circuses

“Escena de un Asesinato” by Robert Hood in Exotic Gothic 4

“Sky” by Kaaron Warren in Through Splintered Walls

YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney

And All The Stars by Andrea K. Host

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra

YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“Stilled Lifes x 11” by Justin D’Ath in Trust Me Too

“The Wisdom of the Ants” by Thoraiya Dyer in Clarkesworld

“Rats” by Jack Heath in Trust Me Too

“The Statues of Melbourne” by Jack Nicholls in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56

“The Worry Man” by Adrienne Tam

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)

Brotherband: The Hunters by John Flanagan

Princess Betony and the Unicorn by Pamela Freeman

The Silver Door by Emily Rodda

Irina the Wolf Queen by Leah Swann

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)

Little Elephants by Graeme Base

The Boy Who Grew Into a Tree by Gary Crew and Ross Watkins (illustrator)

In the Beech Forest by Gary Crew and Den Scheer (illustrator)

Inside the World of Tom Roberts by Mark Wilson

ILLUSTRATED BOOK / GRAPHIC NOVEL

Blue by Pat Grant

It Shines and Shakes and Laughs by Tim Molloy

Changing Ways #2 by Justin Randall

ANTHOLOGY

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011 edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene

Bloodstones edited by Amanda Pillar

The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 6 edited by Jonathan Strahan

Under My Hat edited by Jonathan Strahan

Edge of Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan

COLLECTION

That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote by K. J. Bishop

Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter

Living With the Dead by Martin Livings

Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren

The winners of the 2012 Aurealis Awards and the Peter McNamara Convenors Award will be revealed at a gala ceremony on the evening of Saturday 18 May 2013 at The Independent Theatre in North Sydney.

Read, Watch, Play 2013 – March is Ecoreads & Dystopian Fiction

6116062998_2d4e533d1bThe Read Watch Play theme for this month is Ecoreads. This is the time to read and discuss books and ideas about ecology, environment, water use and conservation.  2013 is the International Year of Water Cooperation, and it’s a great time to read up on the environmental and sustainability issues we face, and the ways we might improve them.

We’ve embraced Ecoreads this month at Nowra Library, but we’ve also found another way of exploring it- the dark side of conservation and sustainability, if you will. What would happen if none of our plans, ideas, environmental awareness and hard work paid off? What if the world we know …. ended?

photo of display

What if we found ourselves in….dystopia?

The Road, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel.

The Road, based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel.

Dystopian fiction is is a branch of Speculative Fiction, and is often closely related to Science Fiction. It is often set in a futuristic,post-apocalyptic or post-cataclysmic society characterised by environmental disaster, totalitarian governments and dehumanisation.  Social issues, as well as those of environment, technology, politics, are often explored. As the name suggests, ‘Dystopia’ is the opposite of ‘Utopia’,  the term first coined by Sir Thomas More in his 1516 work Utopia, which describes an ideal society, perfect and just. The word is similar to the Greek word “outopos ” – “no place”- and “eutopos” – “good place.”  No wonder then that Dystopian fiction is often fraught with sadness, desperation, desolation and struggle.

Katniss in The Hunger Games film.

Katniss in The Hunger Games film.

Famous works of dystopian fiction include Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and George Orwell’s Ninteen Eighty- Four. Recent popular additions to the genre include The Hunger Games  series by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Lois Lowry’s The Giver.  (You can also view or reserve these items on the Shoalhaven Libraries Catalogue).

This month at Nowra Library our 3rd Wednesday Book Club members will be reading and discussing Ecoreads, but the discussion doesn’t end there. You can join the live Twitter discussion on 26 March starting at 8.00pm EDT, and join readers from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore (and who knows where else!) as they discuss their favourite Ecoreads.

Use the tags #ecoread and #rwpchat as you discuss, so others can join in the conversation too. For more information on how to take part in Twitter book discussions, check out the Read Watch Play blog.  

Happy reading (and tweeting!)

Science fiction master Ray Bradbury dies

The literary world is mourning the loss of author Ray Bradbury, who died on Tuesday at his southern California home at the age of 91.

Bradbury wrote a plethora of works, including horror, mystery and humour in the form of novels, screenplays, plays and poetry, but it was his works of science fiction which truly define him. His 1953 release Fahrenheit 451 remains Bradbury’s most celebrated work and a science fiction classic to this day. Inspired by the Cold War, the rising popularity of television and Bradbury’s own love of libraries, the novel creates a frightening, technology-obsessed and Apocalyptic future in which books are banned and burned (I know, I know… it’s the stuff of nightmare, isn’t it?). The novel was made into a successful film in 1966.

Fahrenheit 451 predicted ideas and technologies which have now come to pass, including iPods, interactive television and electronic surveillance, and it is interesting that Bradbury himself resisted the release of the novel in e-book form for years. He claimed e-book readers smelled ‘like burned fuel,’ called the Internet a ‘big distraction’ and encouraged readers to return to the traditional and well loved reading materials of ink and paper. In 2011, when rights to the novel were renewed and could not go ahead without e-book rights as well, he relented, but not before receiving a special promise from his publisher, Simon & Schuster: that the e-book would be available in libraries. The promise was honoured, and Fahrenheit 451 was the only Simon & Schuster e-book available for download by library users at that time.

After an amazing career stretching back to the 1940’s, Ray Bradbury will be remembered as a prolific and masterful writer.

“He was my muse for the better part of my sci-fi career,” director Steven Spielberg said in a statement. “He lives on through his legion of fans. In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination, he is immortal.”

Ray Bradbury August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012