Sunday, March 23, 2014

Literary award season, aka Oh the Books I Will Read!

It is showtime, or nearly, for quite a few of the literary awards that I follow, which means that combination of stress and happiness that only a prize list junkie understands as I try to race the clock.

1. The Stella shortlist is out, and it's a very interesting one:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Night Games by Anna Krien
The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane
Boy, Lost by Kristina Olsson
The Swan Book by Alexis Wright
The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright

I'm at 3/6 read on this, based on my longlist reading - I've read and reviewed Burial Rites, and I have reviews almost finished on Boy, Lost and The Swan Book. I reckon I should comfortably cover the other three before prize announcement on 29 April. So all good there.

2. Next up is the Nebulas (the Sci Fi Writers awards) the nominee list of which is here. I get til 15 May to attempt these, but realistically, there are a lot of categories, and a lot of text. I've decided to do a category restriction and attempt the novels and the short stories:


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

Short stories

‘‘The Sounds of Old Earth,’’ Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers,’’ Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
‘‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,’’ Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,’’ Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)
‘‘Alive, Alive Oh,’’ Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

Even that is pretty challenging in the timeframe, as I have currently read exactly NONE of the items on these lists  (although I have bought the Gaiman and it's on my TBR pile). I'm going to do the shorts as a bundle and review them for Global Comment, hopefully really soon. The novels will be a work in progress!

3. The biggest challenge of all really is the Australian speculative fiction awards, the Aurealis awards, because I missed the boat and only caught up this week on the nominee list (which has actually been out since February, but hey I HAVE BEEN BUSY). These awards are announced on (gulp) 5 April, which is 13 days from now,  so my attempt here is going to be limited perforce to one category only. After perusing the list, I'm going to take on the YA Novel category, which is:

The  Big  Dry by  Tony  Davies  (Harper  Collins)
Hunting by  Andrea  Host  (self published)
These Broken  Stars by  Amie  Kaufman  and  Meagan  Spooner  (Allen  &  Unwin) 
Fairytales  for  Wilde  Girls by  Allyse  Near  (Random  House  Australia) 
The  Sky  So  Heavy by  Claire  Zorn  (University  of  Queensland  P

I've picked this category partly because it's got another of Andrea Host's self-pubbed books, and I enjoyed her And All the Stars last year very much, and partly because I have a tween daughter who punches out of her weight in terms of reading material, so I'm trying to scope new stuff for her.

So this commits me (sort of) to:

- 5 short stories
- 3 Australian women's works
- 8 adult sci fi novels
- 5 YA novels

over the coming 7 weeks. It is probably unachievable, sure, but it's good to have goals! I expect to review some of them here, some at The Shake, and some at Global Comment, as the opportunity offers.

4. To make matters slightly more complicated, the longlist for Australian fiction's biggest award, the Miles Franklin, is out on 3 April, and the nominee list for the Hugos, SFF's premier fan-voted awards, sometime in early April too. Rot roh!! On a practical level, there's often a fair overlap between Nebulas and Hugos, and Stellas and Miles Franklins, so I may end up not starting from scratch there. Nonetheless, it is a crowded reading schedule ahead of me until mid-year ... and shortly thereafter I'll be swinging into the Booker list in its first year as an unrestricted prize, which could be very interesting.

If anyone else is going to read to these lists, let me know, hey, and we can compare notes as we go!


  1. Oh my goodness, you're clearly a much faster reader than me... Best of luck beating that ticking clock! And I hope you enjoy 'Fairytales'. ^__^

    1. Thank you! I actually just bought Fairytales today for my Kobo and plan to start it as my bedtime reading tonight. Looking forward to it :-D