Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Awards and Reads and Releases

 Congrats to All: Aurealis Awards and Ditmar Award Finalists

It's Ditmar and Aurealis Awards time in Australia. The shortlists are out and it's a thrill to say that the latest anthology I've a story in, Bloodlines Ed. Amanda Pillar (Ticonderoga Publications), is a finalist for both awards.

There are plenty of great writers on the lists here and rather than congratulate everyone individually I've attached the links to the short listed works below.

Congrats to the editor of Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar, along with Ticonderoga Publications. I would also like to personally congratulate fellow Perth writer, Stephanie Gunn, whose novella from the same anthology has been short listed in the category of Best Fantasy Novella (Gunn is also a finalist for another novella in Hear me Roar Ed. Liz Grzyb).

Aurealis Awards Link

Ditmar Awards Link

Short Story Recommendations

It's not often you find Australian short fic being recommended so I feel humbled that Fossick Book Review has recommended one of my stories. 'Reading Coffee'  (originally published in Overland 204 in 2011) was the first story that I was truly proud of and it's recommended here alongside Angela Slatter's (who is a giant of short spec-fic) 'Brisneyland by Night'. Once again the link is attached below.

Twenty One New Zealand Books We're Looking Forward to in 2016

The next anthology I've a story in, At the Edge ed. Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray is on this list of New Zealand books to look forward to reading. It's released in June.

21 NZ Books to Look forward to 2016

Lee Battersby's launch of Magrit

On Saturday I attended Lee Battersby's launch of his new novel for children Magrit. Battersby usually specialises in dark spec-fic (often with a comical edge) so hearing Battersby read so well to a much younger audience than usual was an enjoyable surprise. The story had all the wit and evocative imagery that readers expect from Battersby's adult work too. Lee ran a fun launch and Stefen Brazulaitis of Stefen's Books (check the store out in Shafto Lane if you get the chance) organised a great pub lunch post-launch too. 

Latest Read

Just finished Nights at the Circus by the incredible Angela Carter. It's a genre defying tour de force, well worth savouring and it deserves all the kudos it has received.  The perpetual dichotomy of the winged heroine, Fevers makes for one of the great characters in literature. It's already one of my all time favourite novels.

Currently Reading
  • I've a few pages to go in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. And yes, Harper Lee ironically passed away when I was about midway through.  It was a sad day for literature but what a legacy Lee left behind her with TKAM. I can see why it's deemed an all time classic; the narrative voice of Scout is both innocent and gutsy, allowing for a beautiful observational voice. I don't think I'll read the recently released prequel/sequel Go Set a Watchman though. From the snippets I've read about Go Set a Watchman, I wouldn't want to tarnish my reading of what I believe the Finch family stand for in TKAM.
  •  The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes. Interesting look into Shostakovich, his music, and his relationship with the totalitarian regime (what Barnes aptly labels "his relationship with 'Power'"). The prose, as always with Barnes, has a pure feel due to his strong use of nominalisation throughout, and let's face it, little imagery. I'm almost at the end of this novel too. I've enjoyed it so far, but to be honest, at times I wanted a little more from the narrative, especially after reading Barnes' captivating Arthur and George a couple of years ago. Still, a good, solid read.

Political Gripe: Okay, we can't really say too much Down Under after the rise of Tony Abbott but at least he's now fallen. Yet the Americans have trumped (or drumpfed if you've seen John Oliver's comical segment) us in the Mad Tea Party stakes. What's dangerous about the far right is that it plays on fear and division rather than encourage inclusivity. Wake up, America! This guy, Drumpf, is leading you down a foolishly dangerous and bigoted path.

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