Panel sizes may vary among categories – and from year to year – depending on the perceived workload required and the availability of judges for a particular category. However, each panel will consist of at least three judges, one of which will be the panel convenor.

Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the speculative fiction community; from diverse professions and backgrounds, and may include academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category.

Being an Aurealis Awards judge involves reading entries in a single category, which may comprise several dozen novels and/or more than a hundred short stories in the process of evaluating the year’s entries. Judges may keep their reading copies of entries.

It is vital that judges be able to work as part of a team and meet stringent deadlines. Most of the judges’ discussions are conducted via an online forum or email.

All discussions are confidential between the judges in each panel and the judging coordinator and/or the Aurealis Awards management team, as required. The Aurealis Awards judging coordinator will have no input into these decisions unless a panel of judges is unable to reach a consensus.

Judges from previous Aurealis Awards processes are welcome – indeed encouraged – to re-apply. But, in the interests of transparency and impartiality, no one may judge the same category for more than two consecutive years, and a break of two consecutive years is required before a judge can reapply to be a judge in that particular category again.

Because fantasy and science fiction are the largest categories, they have been split into two separate judging panels, one for novels and one for short stories.

All judges for the Aurealis Awards will accept works electronically and will each nominate their preferred electronic file format. We strongly encourage submission of files in epub and mobi formats, although rtf, doc and pdf files may be accepted.

The winner of the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be reached by a consensus of the convenors of each of the judging panels.

Aurealis Awards finalists and winners in each category are selected by our judges.

2016 Judging Panels

Judging Coordinator: Katharine Stubbs

Novel Short Story / Novella
Science Fiction PRK (panel convenor)

Talitha Kalago

Laura Birch

Rob Porteous

Rivqa Rafael (panel convenor)

Ben Payne

Rose Hartley

Mark Fazackerley

Fantasy Stephanie Gunn (panel convenor)

Lorraine Cormack

Belle McQuattie

Shane Charles

Gene Melzack (panel convenor)

Astrid Edwards

Rob Riel

Kristy Mika

Horror Kirstyn McDermott (panel convenor)

Lisa Hannett

Matthew R. Davis

Julia Svaganovic

Robert Hood (panel convenor)

Ashlee Scheuerman

Sharon Smith

Matthew Summers

Young Adult Miffy Faquharson (panel convenor)

Lyn Battersby

Elizabeth Fitzgerald

Kirsten Reim

Nicole Murphy (panel convenor)

Lily Stojcevski

Amelia Birve

Caitlin Chisholm

Other Illustrated Work / Graphic Novel Anthology / Collection
Heather Iveson (panel convenor)

Fergus McCartan

Jess Howard

Cassandra White

Cathie Tasker (panel convenor)

Michelle Goldsmith

Ion Newcombe

Chris Lampard

Sara Douglass Book Series Award Convenors’ Award for Excellence
Not running in 2016 All panel convenors

Judges’ Bios 2016

Science Fiction: Novel

PRK is a long time speculative fiction enthusiast who regularly escaped to Middle Earth during primary school. Since then he’s become more omnivorous in his spec-fic reading, enjoying and reviewing works in a wide variety of genres including fantasy, science fiction, horror, cyberpunk and paranormal romance. PRK is an IT Geek by day, which provides him the means to fund his spec-fic habit and devour whatever books he can get his hands on. Contributing to spec-fic in Australia, PRK runs conventions as a hobby, and is on the Board of the Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation. You’ll usually find him roaming the corridors at Swancon and Continuum, or online via Twitter: @prkaye or his website: http://www.prkaye.com/

Talitha Kalago is a geeky Australian author who spends an unhealthy amount of time reading, playing video games and watching horror movies. She also loves fresh water shrimps and snakes. She advises that shrimps are the best companions for writers; as they always look like they are typing. Snakes on the other hand, simply knock everything off your desk—including keyboards, mugs, entire computers and shrimp tanks.

Talitha’s other interests include entomology, psychology and sociology, rock climbing, aquascaping, web design, photography and graphic design. She also writes romance novels under a pseudonym. There is a 30% chance she is watching a horror movie as you read this. Her website can be found here: http://www.traditionalevolution.com/.

Laura Birch is not quite but almost one day will be a writer having only racked up three rejection letters for short stories so far. While working on her bachelor’s degree in literature Laura is a reader for Aurealis Magazine. Never leaving home without a book, Laura started her love of speculative fiction with high fantasy but has spent years steadily making her way through all that SF has to offer. This is Laura’s first time as a judge for the Aurealis Awards.

Rob Porteous writes science fiction and fantasy stories. His short stories have been published in ASIM and overseas. In 2013, he co-edited Next, a collection of Australian spec-fic short stories with Simon Petrie. He is currently working on a debut fantasy novel.


Science Fiction: Short Story / Novella

Rivqa Rafael is based in Sydney, where she works as a freelance science editor. The subject material often finds its way into the fiction she writes, sometimes in unexpected ways. Her short stories have been published in The Never Never Land, Hear Me Roar and Defying Doomsday. She is an avid reader of speculative fiction – mostly science fiction, but any subgenre will do as long as it’s well-written. She has a degree in microbiology and a master’s in professional writing. She can be found at rivqa.net and on Twitter as @enoughsnark, and is looking forward to reading this year’s Australian science fiction shorts.

Ben Payne has been an Aurealis Award judge since he was a small baby, and a fox discovered him on the woods beneath a daffodil tree. It delivered him to the convenors who reared him as their own son, on a strict diet of nettles and ambiance. He has edited and written a few works in the past but found it gave him allergies so he has returned to judging. He anxiously awaits his judging hat in the post.

Rose Hartley attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop in San Diego in 2015, where she studied short fiction under the guidance of some of her favourite authors. She is the joint recipient of the South Australian Hachette Mentorship Program and is currently editing her novel with the help of her mentor at Hachette. She has had residencies at Varuna, the SA Writers Centre and Manning Clark House. When she’s not reading short fiction, she’s fondly watching her chickens, rabbit and cat destroy her garden in the Adelaide Hills or taking her vintage caravan out on a road trip.

Mark Fazackerley is a executive in the IT industry in his 50’s who has been a sci-fi and fantasy fan since bedridden with pneumonia as a kid for two winters in his native New Zealand. Starship Troopers was a great introduction to the genre and subsequently Mark has had a life-long love of sci-fi and quality writing. Now a resident of Sydney, Mark reads may genres voraciously with a stated primary goal of reading good quality writing, but with a high tolerance level for B grade sci-fi. A past artisan and now frustrated writer himself he has the ubiquitous novel-in-progress that will likely have to wait until retirement – meanwhile he gets his writing fix as a popular amateur food and travel writer. A long-time martial arts exponent with yoga, mountain biking and cooking his main interests, he is an undying slave to his two Maine Coon cats and his wife (in that order!) Mark has been a reader for Aurealis magazine since 2014.

Fantasy: Novel

Stephanie Gunn is a Ditmar and Aurealis Award nominated writer of speculative fiction. In another life, she was a scientist, but now spends her time reading, reviewing, and writing. She has judged various panels of the Aurealis Awards since 2011. She is currently working on several contemporary fantasy novels, and lives in Perth with her husband, son and requisite cat. She can be found online at http://www.stephaniegunn.com.

Lorraine Cormack is an experienced book reviewer across all genres, but with a particular interest in speculative fiction. She is an avid reader across all genres and enjoys discovering good writers who are new to her, and highlighting good writing for other readers to enjoy. A founding member of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild, Lorraine lives with her family.

Voracious reader and online reviewer, Belle McQuattie has been devouring fantasy for almost as long as she’s been reading. She will forever be thankful for high school English teachers that think Isobelle Carmody and Terry Pratchett are appropriate study texts, spending many years living a couple of blocks away from the library, and the shenanigans found in the HarperVoyager Purple Zone. One day, she plans to write again, but often finds she can’t put books down for long enough to start. She can be found on twitter @theresaninkspot, and blogging at http://thereareinkspotsonmypage.com.

By day he is a mild mannered HR manager at a busy public hospital but at night he becomes the superhero known as………well not really. After a busy day at work Shane Charles likes nothing more than spending time with his wife and three kids before relaxing with a good book or three. An avid reader since starting reading comics as a four year old Shane has spent the last forty odd years spending the majority of his spare time venturing to other galaxies, battling invading aliens, saving Jimmy Olsen from trouble and all of the myriad other scenarios that the world of fiction can welcome you into. Shane has previously been a judge in the Sci-Fi category and this is his first foray into the worlds of Australian Fantasy.

Fantasy: Short Story / Novella

Gene Melzack has is a short story reader by preference and long-time speculative fiction reader and fan. In the past he has reviewed for semi-prozines such as Strange Horizons and academic journals such as Foundation. He served as secretary of the Science Fiction Foundation from 2004-2005 and was features co-editor of Vector, the journal of the British Science Fiction Association from 2005-2006. He was sub-editor for review site Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus from 2008-2009. He has previously served as a judge for the British Science Fiction Association‘s non-fiction award and for the Aurealis Awards in the Collection/Anthology category.

Astrid Edwards is Director of Strategy at Bad Producer Productions and Vice Chair of the Committee of Management at Writer’s Victoria. She is also a slush pile reader for Aurealis Magazine. She has been addicted to fantasy and science fiction since she was a teenager, and reads anything and everything. Her latest favourites are Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive and Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles. Astrid spends a great deal of time reading and drinking coffee (preferably in a bookstore). You can see what she reads and where she wanders on GoodreadsInstagram and Twitter.

Rob Riel has earned a crust as a sailor, metallurgical engineer, university lecturer, electron microscopist, poetry publisher (Picaro Press), disability services coordinator… and a fair bit else. He has published on the order of 100 stories, poems, and prose poems. For the last decade he’s worked part time mentoring students in HSC English. He lives in Cardiff, NSW, with his beloved partner Judy, who is a successful poet and novelist.

Kristy Mika is a hoarder of words, cats, comics, TCGs, musical instruments and bacon (not necessarily in that order of importance). She blames all of her eccentric behaviours (too many to list) on growing up beside the beach where Mad Max was filmed. After years of scientifically delving into people’s brains and recording the strangeness they produce, she decided immersing herself in fantasy fiction was the safer route to staying grounded in reality. Now, after some time pushing about words like Hippogryph, instead of Hippocampus, she may believe Cybernetic Unicorns are real – but at least she’s still sane. Mostly. She makes weird squawkings about books, and creates bookish art @ Book Frivolity, and stumbles about Twitter & Instagram @bookfrivolity

Horror: Novel

Kirstyn McDermott has been working in the darker alleyways of speculative fiction for much of her career. Her two novels, Madigan Mine and Perfections, each won an Aurealis Award and her most recent book is Caution: Contains Small Parts, a collection of short fiction published by Twelfth Planet Press. When not wearing her writing hat, she produces and co-hosts a literary discussion podcast, The Writer and the Critic, which generally keeps her out of trouble. After many years based in Melbourne, Kirstyn now lives in Ballarat where she is currently pursuing a creative PhD at Federation University with a research focus on re-visioned fairy tales. She can be found online at www.kirstynmcdermott.com.

Lisa L. Hannett has had over 60 short stories appear in venues including Clarkesworld, Fantasy, Weird Tales, Apex, the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror, and Imaginarium: Best Canadian Speculative Writing. She has won four Aurealis Awards, including Best Collection for her first book, Bluegrass Symphony, which was also nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Her first novel, Lament for the Afterlife, was published in 2015. You can find her online at http://lisahannett.com and on Twitter @LisaLHannett.

Matthew R. Davis is an author and musician based in Adelaide. A member of the AHWA, he has racked up over two dozen dark fiction and poetry publications around the world, and is currently editing two novels for beta reading and submission. When not slaving over a hot laptop to produce fiction, he plays bass and sings in alternative/progressive rock and metal bands such as Blood Red Renaissance (on hiatus) and icecocoon. He dabbles in short film and band videos from time to time as composer, editor, writer, producer, director and actor, and also turns his hand to graphic design for posters and album sleeves. You can find out more about his activities at matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com.

Julia Svaganovic’s journey to the dark side (no, not that one; she’s firmly in the rebellion) began in high school when a friend who was raving about Pet Semetary lent her a copy. From there it was a slippery slope into Stephen King’s creepy world. She continues to devour horror stories in all forms including books, tv, movies, comics and video games. When not trying to give herself nightmares, Julia is part of the team running the annual Continuum spec fic conventions in Melbourne and chaired the 2014 Natcon. You can geek out with her on Twitter @starrybryte.


Horror: Short Story / Novella

Robert Hood is a well-known and much published writer in the horror, SF, fantasy and crime genres. He has been referred to (in print) as “Australia’s master of dark fantasy” as well as “Aussie horror’s wicked godfather”. His novels include Backstreets, the Shades series, and an epic dark fantasy novel, Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead (Borgo/Wildside Press), which won the 2014 Ditmar Award for Best Novel. His latest book, Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories (IFWG Publishing Australia, 2015) is a reference volume containing 44 stories and copious notes, and was the winner of the 2015 Australian Horror Writers Association’s Shadows Award for Best Collected Work. He has been a writing tutor at the University of Wollongong and for Clarion South, and has acted as both convenor and judge on the SF and Illustrated Works Aurealis Award panels in previous years. Hood’s website can be found at http://www.roberthood.net and http://www.roberthoodwriter.com.

When not travelling the world, Ashlee Scheuerman hides away in Western Australia to write speculative fiction, with her best apocalyptic work being found in such award-winning horror anthologies as Surviving the End and Qualia Nous. Her second novel approaches publication, filled with notions of fae gods, necromancy, and a recurring fascination toward entomology and psychology. Ashlee collects pine cones, takes too many photos of pigeons, toadstools, and moss, and probably has enough pets – for now. Her website begrudgingly exists at http://ashleesch.com/

Sharon Smith is currently the Children’s and Youth Services Librarian for the Riverina Regional Library, developing and presenting literacy programs for the community members of 13 local government areas. Sharon is experienced in public, school and medical library work, with a few stints as a receptionist during the day and hilarious sleep deprived stints as a waitress at night. An avid reader herself, especially of dystopian youth fiction, Sharon is a passionate advocate for literacy and encourages the use of words for all ages in all formats… because our stories can be told in many ways!

Matthew Summers is a reviewer, blogger, and voracious reader. When he doesn’t have his head stuck in a book he spends his time writing, editing, and helping raise his beautiful daughter alongside his partner in rural New South Wales. His blog Smash Dragons (smashdragons.blogspot.com.au) has featured everything from news and reviews right through to interviews and opinion pieces. Matthew is passionate about local speculative fiction, and is forever hunting to unearth new writers to read. He is also partial to whiskey, coffee, and all things gaming. This is Matthew’s first time as a judge for the Aurealis Awards, and he is over the moon to be involved.


Young Adult

Miffy Farquharson has been working in libraries for 25 years across the primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors. She was the CBCA Vic Branch Book of the Year judge in 2008-2009, WAPBA judge in 2011-2012 and has four previous stints as an Aurealis judge and panel convenor. Miffy has a particular interest in speculative fiction and books for young people in general, and is looking forward to reading entries in the 2016 awards.

Lyn Battersby is a Western Australian author with over 20 publishing credits to her name, including appearances in Electric Velocipede, ASIM, Borderlands and several Australian anthologies. She has worked as an editor/slush reader for ASIM and Ticonderoga and has acted as an Aurealis Awards judge and panel co-ordinator several times in the past. She is happily married to author Lee Battersby and his Lego collection.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald is a freelance editor and owner of Earl Grey Editing. She runs a book blog (www.earlgreyediting.com.au/blog) and is serving out her fourth term as the Secretary of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. An unabashed roleplayer and reader of fanfiction, her weaknesses are books, loose-leaf tea and silly dogs. She tweets @elizabeth_fitz

Kirsten Reim was a library monitor in year 6, and it was then that she decided to become a librarian. She never really deviated from that path except when she wanted to become a ballerina. For the last 20 (ish) years she has worked as a teacher librarian and librarian in schools of all sizes and in all sectors, with her main goal of sharing her passion for books – especially those for young adults. In 2008-2009 she was the CBCA NSW Branch Book of the Year judge, and this further ignited her love of children’s literature, so much so that she went on to study creative writing for a brief period. She has now decided she is a much better reader than writer and is excited to be a judge for the Aurealis Awards.

Children’s Fiction

Like all of us Nicole Murphy fell in love with children’s literature as a child, although a career as a primary teacher enabled her to indulge the passion well into adulthood. Nicole is a multiple published author of science fiction, fantasy and romance. She has been an editor, publisher and writing teacher. She currently works as a professional conference organiser. Nicole was the Aurealis Awards convenor in 2013-2014.

Lily Stojcevski is an eighteen-year old reader and writer from Tasmania. She was a judge for the 2013 Inky Awards and a test reader for Jennifer Kloester’s novel The Cinderella Moment. In 2014, she won the Senior section of the Tasmanian Young Writers Prize for her speculative fiction “Mountain, Predator, Shell,” which was published in Forty Degrees South and Award Winning Australian Writing 2015. Lily has a long-standing interest in children’s and young adult fiction and wrote a guest blog for Meanjin’s “What I’m Reading” about the importance of young adult fiction. In 2015 she was a panellist at the Tasmanian Readers and Writers Festival on the youth panel, “Tasmania: a Land of Dregs, Bogans, and Third Generation Morons.” Her story “She’s Everywhere,” featured in the “Lost Voices of Old Hobart Town” event at the 2015 Festival of Voices in Hobart. Lily is currently writing an urban fantasy novel about witchcraft.

When Amelia Birve is reading you might have to call her name twice, or three times to get her attention, or maybe just come back later. She loves stories, especially magical ones, and so is incredibly grateful to be working in a public library. Here you will find her selecting books, storytelling to preschoolers, leading writers’ groups, and organising book clubs. She studied Education and Arts at university, completing Honours in English (creative writing), with her thesis focused on the Gothic in children’s literature. When Amelia’s not working at the library you might find her inventing her own magical stories. She is judging for the Aurealis Awards for the first time this year and is looking forward to getting lost in some wonderful children’s fiction.

Caitlin Chisholm has been an avid reader of anything she can get her hands on since she’s been able to read. She is currently living in Darwin where she studies pharmacy. When not trying to memorise every drug in existence, she enjoys hiking and talking about whatever book she is currently reading.


Illustrated Work/Graphic Novel

Heather Iveson discovered Star Wars and David Eddings’ Belgariad at the age of ten and has been a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy ever since. She discovered graphic novels ten years later when a friend introduced her to Kouta Hirano’s Hellsing and she found her local library’s well-stocked graphic novel section. In her professional life Heather is a librarian and loves to share her enthusiasm for great stories and encourage others to try new things. She can be found on Twitter as @TripleThreatLib where she talks libraries, books, and life.

Fergus McCartan is a reviewer, blogger and interviewer, and when his head isn’t stuck in a book he likes to entertain the delusion of finishing his first novel (hopefully within his own lifetime) and pretending his skill in playing the guitar is more like Hendrix and less like Dave Lister (that’s a Red Dwarf joke in case you were wondering). As an Irish man in Queensland he frequently wishes for the cooler climate of Hoth, but some dreams probably won’t come true. Fergus operates his own blog http://thequietfantasybookblog.wordpress.com containing a menagerie of topics from reviews, interviews, flash fan fiction and fantasy based games. This is his second year as a judge and he is very excited to get started, last year was a blast.

Jess Howard decided to be a writer at age 7 after reading Roald Dahl’s The Witches and Mathilda because she wanted to make stories that could be both horrifying and triumphant. It took a university internship at a magazine for her to take her 7-year-old self seriously. She studied writing and editing at RMIT and now works in educational publishing writing a copy by day and fiction by night and reading whenever she can.

Cassandra White is a Melbourne-based writer, who made her first comics at 7, which was, in hindsight, mostly Labyrinth fan fiction. She has a Master of Creative Writing, Publishing, and Editing from the University of Melbourne. She avoids plagiarism these days by writing about graphic narratives as well as writing young adult fiction.


Anthology and Collection

Cathie Tasker has always been a devotee of speculative fiction. As a child she read Patricia Wrightson’s Down to Earth which began her fascination with SF&F. She quickly read every speculative fiction title she could find and continues to immerse herself in the genre. A prodigious reader across many genres, she has a particular love of short stories.
She has been a fiction editor and publisher and now works as a Creative Writing teacher for the Australian Writers’ Centre, working online and face-to-face. She also does some freelance structural editing. Cathie has previously been an Aurealis Awards judge for Fantasy novels, Science Fiction short stories and more recently Horror. She has also judged the CBCA fiction and several other awards.

Michelle Goldsmith is a Melbourne-based speculative fiction author and professional editor/tech writer. Her short fiction has appeared in various publications within Australia and overseas. Her 2015 weird fiction short story, The Jellyfish Collector, was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award. She was shortlisted for a Ditmar award for Best New Talent in 2014 and 2015. She is currently working on a science fiction novel and many short stories. She has a BSc (majoring in Zoology/Evolutionary Biology) and a Masters in Publishing and Communications. Her thesis explores the author-reader relationship within the contemporary speculative fiction field and various articles based on her original research are being published. Ask her about it if you like graphs and have a spare 6 hours or so.

Ion Newcombe is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia’s longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998. He has been a zealous reader and occasional writer of SF since his childhood in the 1960s. His qualifications and employment range from horticulture through electronics — and eventually to tertiary qualifications in literature and communications from USQ and Deakin. Ion, aka “Nuke”, lives in the New South Wales North Coast holiday destination of Nambucca Heads, where he is self-employed in IT training, computer support, desktop publishing, editing, writing, and website implementation. He is also the resident tech-head, skeptic, and board member of community radio station 2NVR, where he produces a number of shows including The AntipodeanSF Radio Show, a podcast featuring stories from AntipodeanSF magazine.

Chris Lampard has been reading science fiction and fantasy for many years. He used to work in the chemical industry, but more recently has been wandering NZ and Australia as a nomadic gardener. He’s now settled near Perth, where he’s growing vegetables and Western Australian native plants.