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.
2018 Judging Panels
Judging Coordinator: Tehani Croft
|Science Fiction||Cathie Tasker (panel convenor)||Gene Melzack (panel convenor)||Zara Baxter (panel convenor)|
|Astrid Edwards||Chloe Townson||Edie-Brie (Brie) Hawthorne|
|Dianne De Bellis||Chris Lampard||Fergus McCartan|
|Lorraine Cormack||Natalie Haigh||Joanna Kasper|
|Zohal Arbabzada||Lindsey Hodder|
|Fantasy||PRK (panel convenor)||Mark Fazackerley (panel convenor)||Rob Porteous (panel convenor)|
|Kimberly Chandler||EE Montgomery||Earl Livings|
|Jake Kalago||Jennifer Rowland||Georgina Ballantine|
|Nathan Phillips||Rachel Nightingale||Paige Belfield|
|Stuart Dunstan||Paula Boer|
|Horror||Heather Iveson (panel convenor)||Emma Kate (panel convenor)|
|Christine Yunn-Yu Sun||Glenn George|
|Craig Hildebrand||Holly Harper|
|Eugen Bacon||Michael Grey|
|Hayley Baxter||Tom Woodward|
|Young Adult||Caitlin Chisholm (panel convenor)||Linda Sengsourinho (panel convenor)|
|Alexa Shaw||Anna Hepworth|
|Andrew Finegan||Caitlin Wardle|
|Elizabeth Fitzgerald||Elspeth Lamorte|
|Michael Barrett||Heidi Kneale|
|Children’s Fiction||Miffy Farquharson (panel convenor)
|Other||Illustrated Work / Graphic Novel||Anthology / Collection||Sara Douglass Book Series Award|
|Lynne Green (panel convenor)||Carol Ryles (panel convenor)||Katharine Stubbs|
|Jess Howard||Deb Gates||Stephanie Gunn|
|Justin Randall||Dorothy-Jane Daniels||Tehani Croft|
|Shel Sweeney||Ion Newcombe||Ju Landeesse|
|TR Napper||Jessica Harvie|
|Convenors’ Award for Excellence||All panel convenors.|
Zohal Arbabzada is a second-year undergraduate student at Western Sydney University studying a Bachelor of Communication/ Bachelor of International Studies. A passionate reader since childhood, she loves to discuss and review books on multiple digital platforms such as Goodreads, Netgalley and her personal book blog. On long work commutes she listens to audiobooks and her ideal day is to sit at home with a large mug of coffee and read all day long. Her other hobbies include writing, and watching quality television shows. She also wants to travel the world and tell the stories that need to be heard. Most of all, Zohal aspires to work in the Communication & Media industry, preferably as a journalist.
In February 2008 Kerry Armstrong accepted the position of product manager at Scholastic Australia and was dispatched to the annual sales conference in the US. While there, Kerry read the manuscript of The Hunger Games, becoming the first person in Australia to do so! And so began Kerry’s love affair with the world of publishing for younger readers. Every day Kerry is amazed at the passion and care taken with creating a picture book, the opportunity to create mayhem in fiction and the complexity of worlds and characters created in novels for young adults. Kerry now sits at a desk at HarperCollins Publishers and mostly thinks about selling Australian books overseas.
Eugen M. Bacon, MA, MSc, PhD, studied at Maritime Campus, less than two minutes’ walk from The Royal Observatory of the Greenwich Meridian. A computer graduate mentally re-engineered into creative writing, Eugen has published over 100 short stories, articles and multiple anthologies. Her work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in the Copyright Agency Prize 2017, Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Awards 2016, Alan Marshall Short Story Award 2016, Lightship Publishing (UK) international short story prize 2013 and Fish Short Story Prize 2013/14. Out soon: Literary speculative novel with Meerkat Press (2019). Creative non-fiction book with Palgrave MacMillan (2018). Chapter, multi-authored book: Creative Writing with Critical Theory: Inhabitation, Gylphi (2018).
Georgina Ballantine is a freelance editor and emerging writer, working her magic on words and whimsy. She’s fascinated by myth, monsters and ancient history and wrote her Honours thesis on ‘Representations of the Sphinx and Other Mythical Female Creatures in Classical Literature’. The opening of her historical fantasy novel Fire, set in archaic Greece, won the 2017 CYA Conference unpublished YA category. Georgina volunteers as a CBCA NSW committee member and mentorship program judge, is social media officer for the Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association and runs a speculative fiction writers group. When not chasing after her three spirited preteens, a paranoid dog and two vampire cats, she hides in her cupboard under the stairs, writing mythological fantasy and science fiction.
Liz Barr is the co-editor of Companion Piece: Women celebrate the humans, aliens and tin dogs of Doctor Who (Mad Norwegian Press, 2012), chaired Continuum 11 in 2015, and is a three-time Continuum programmer. In her spare time, she writes, reads, blogs, and occasionally thinks about taking up gardening.
Michael Barrett is a third year University student studying a bachelor of arts/business. He grew up internationally, having lived in Singapore, Portugal, Japan, Canada and Australia. Michael’s interests lie in reading, listening to music, the occasional sport and relaxing with friends. He has been an avid reader since the tender age of eleven, and having a sister and mother as librarians always helps! Michael reads anything but was brought up on and has always been interested in YA fiction.
Hayley Baxter is a veteran Submissions Reader for Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, and is also the Book Review Editor and editorial assistant for Social Alternatives (a quarterly peer-reviewed journal). Hayley has also had her own book reviews published in web and print media. When not scouting for new books to review, Hayley freelances as an academic editor, content writer, and social media specialist. She holds a B. Arts (English literature and Spanish), an LLB (both UQ, 2012), and more recently, a M. Arts (Writing, editing and publishing) (UQ, 2016). Her thesis examined the relationship between comedy and horror in western film, and in particular, their unlikely but hallowed intersection in the dark comedy genre. With tastes spanning the literary to the pulpy, she’s looking forward to reading this year’s Aurealis Award nominations for the Horror novel/novella category.
Zara Baxter has been reading science fiction, fantasy and horror reader her whole life, even though her older sister used to staple together the pages with sex scenes she was too young to read. She was part of the Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine crew for several years, and these days she’s passionate about folk remedy depictions in SF/F/H, travelling the world to attend science fiction conventions, and craft beer. This is her third time as an Aurealis Awards convenor.
Paige Belfield is a writer and freelance editor from Sydney. She will often be so immersed in a book that she will forget to eat, or worse she will let her coffee go cold. Though she prefers to read horror or fantasy, a good book of any genre will get her raving about it for weeks on end. When she needs a break from the written word she volunteers at conventions around Australia or assists with the design and construction of sets and props. Most days, however, Paige spends her time arguing with the cat over whose turn it is on the laptop. The cat often wins.
Paula Boer is the author of the Amazon best-selling Brumbies series. Her love of fantasy began with reading Elyne Mitchell’s The Silver Brumby series as a child (plus any other horse books) and went on to include classics such as Lord of the Rings, the Thomas Covenant Chronicles, and Clan of the Cave Bear. Her favourite authors at the moment are Kylie Chan, Jennifer Fallon, and Fiona McIntosh. She is a member of the Australian Society of Authors, conducts creative writing workshops, and participates at writers’ festivals. Paula recently signed a contract for The Equinora Chronicles, a horse fantasy trilogy complete with unicorns and dragons, and is currently working on The Caprania Chronicles, the sequel trilogy with a goat god and griffins.
Kimberly Chandler is a bookworm, editor and writer. She loves most genres of writing but has a particular soft spot for fantasy, sci-fi and horror. Kimberly first fell in love with fantasy through Terry Pratchett. She has been a judge for the Aurealis Awards twice before, in 2009 and 2014. Kimberly lives in Melbourne, loves the cold, and follows far too many cat-related Instagram accounts.
Caitlin Chisholm has been an avid reader of anything she can get her hands on since she’s been able to read. Although she loves to read all books, she especially loves science-fiction, the more out there the better. She is currently living in Darwin, where she is in her final year of a degree in pharmacy. When not trying to memorise every drug in existence, she enjoys hiking and talking about whatever book she is currently reading. This is her third year judging for the Aurealis Awards and her first in the young adult category.
Lorraine Cormack has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember, across all genres. An enthusiastic book reviewer, she enjoys discovering writers new to her, and sharing good writing with others. Lorraine’s career has included time spent writing and editing technical documents, but it’s fiction that really moves her. Lorraine is a founding member of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG), and has reviewed for a number of different outlets. She lives in Canberra with her family and a lot of books.
Mim Crase was a teacher librarian in Hughenden from 2003 until 2016 and has been the Shire Librarian at Flinders Shire Public Library since 2017. Mim has been an Aurealis Awards judge a couple of times this century and thoroughly enjoyed getting to grips with the latest in children’ literature in Australia. When she was in the school library she was able to share some of this writing with the age group being judging for; this first hand application of the literature would lend an insight into how much children were engaged rather than what adults think will engage them. Now that she is in a public library, Mim looks forward to getting back in touch with modern children’s literature.
Tehani Croft was a founding member of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine in 2001 and started FableCroft Publishing in 2010. Now firmly entrenched in Australian speculative fiction and independent press, she has edited for Twelfth Planet Press (among other duties), judged for the Aurealis Awards, CBCA Book of the Year and the WA Premier’s Book Awards, reads far more in one genre than is healthy, and writes reviews, non-fiction and interviews. In her spare moments, she works as the head of library services at a great school near Brisbane.
Dorothy-Jane Daniels is a musician and an author. Her first novel, What the Dead Said, was followed by a raft of short stories which have appeared in publications such as Aurealis, Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, and So It Goes. Her manuscript, Green Jay and Crow, won the 2014 Fellowship of Australian Writers Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Although 2018 has unexpectedly brought her to Brisbane, she is one of the Sydney Story Factory’s Ambassadors of Ink. She can be found online at zombiejungle.wordpress.com or occasionally on twitter:@DorothyJaneD.
Dianne De Bellis lives happily in the Adelaide hills. She is retired from university teaching and spends her time reading, travelling, playing board games and doing volunteer work. Before becoming a lecturer and tutor in writing, semiotics and cultural studies, she was a writer for various government departments. Her PhD was researching Australian narratives of war. Dianne was an Aurealis Awards judge from 1997 until 2009 and was involved with SF&F conventions and fan activities. She has two children, eight nieces and nephews and four grandchildren who continue to teach her about books and reading. She loves reading in all genres and has a fascination with the intersection of pop culture, language and storytelling.
Stuart Dunstan has been in the book industry for over 15 years, working variously as a bookseller and a book reviewer for industry and street press publications. For the last seven years he has worked at Peter Pal Library Supplier, providing fiction selection and collection development services for public libraries across Australia and New Zealand, ensuring their collections are up to date with the best local and international speculative fiction. Stuart is an avid reader of all things fantasy, SF and horror, and has previously served as a judge for the Aurealis Awards in 2016 and the Australian Shadows Awards in 2017. He lives in the hills of the Gold Coast hinterland. You can follow him on Twitter at @SRDunstan.
Astrid Edwards has been a judge for the Aurealis Awards for the last two years (in the Fantasy Short Story/Novella category in 2016 and the Fantasy Novel category in 2017). She is the Deputy Chair of Writers Victoria and the founder of The Garret (www.thegarretpodcast.com), as well as a sessional teacher of professional writing at RMIT University. Astrid adores speculative fiction, and can think of nothing better than reading the best new speculative fiction in Australia in 2018.
Miffy Farquharson has been working in libraries for 27 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 six previous stints as an Aurealis judge and panel convenor. Miffy has a wide-ranging interest in speculative fiction, and, in particular, texts for young people, and is looking forward to reading entries in the 2018 awards.
Mark Fazackerley is a executive in the IT industry in his 50s 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 and Isaac Asimov was a great introduction to the genre, followed by Tolkein and Michael Moorcock. and subsequently Mark has had a life-long love of sci-fi and quality writing in general. Now a resident of Sydney, Mark reads many genres voraciously with a stated primary goal of reading good quality writing, but with a high tolerance level for B grade sci-fi. A 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. Mark has been a reader for Aurealis magazine since 2014 and previously has been a panel judge in the Science Fiction Short Story section in Aurealis Awards 2016 and 2017.
Andrew Finegan is a librarian, originally from Melbourne, who has spent much of the last decade living and working in strange places around Australia and overseas, before finally settling in Canberra early last year. Growing up on all the usual SF and Fantasy classics, he once ran a Douglas Adams fan club at university (which mostly involved mixing and drinking Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters). He also occasionally writes songs and jokes, and performed a solo fringe festival show which was all about the apocalypse. His love for Australian YA fiction was sparked when he was a judge for the Inky Awards about ten years ago, and now reads it prolifically. You can find him on Twitter at @lib_idol.
Elizabeth Fitzgerald is a freelance editor and owner of Earl Grey Editing. She runs an award-nominated book blog, and writes reviews and records podcasts for the Skiffy and Fanty Show. Her fiction has appeared in Next and Mother of Invention, among others. She lives in Canberra, Australia. An unabashed roleplayer and reader of romance, her weaknesses are books, loose-leaf tea and silly dogs. She tweets @elizabeth_fitz
Deb Gates has been an avid fan of genre fiction since picking up Lord of the Rings at age eleven. Forty odd years later she does a bit of beta reading and editing for author friends. Deb has been lucky enough to have met many of her favourite authors over the years, which just makes her love genre fiction even more. Judging the Aurealis Awards has introduced her to many books and authors she had never read before and impressed her with the quality of writing in Australia. Deb is excited to be judging again this year.
Glenn George lives with his wife and daughter in Central Queensland, where he has been teaching high school English and history since 2009. In his spare time he likes to read, write and play chess. Glenn’s love of horror and the supernatural began with reading RL Stine’s Goosebumps series (most of which he still remember vividly) and watching X-Files (that episode where Mulder and Scully drink the tainted water and age quickly on the ship stuck with him for years). Glenn now read anything he can get his hands on and wishes he had more time to read every book on his ever-growing pile.
Lynne Lumsden Green has twin bachelor degrees in both Science and the Arts, giving her the balance between rationality and creativity. She spent fifteen years as the Science Queen for HarperCollins Voyager Online and has written science articles for other online magazines. Currently, she captains the Writing Race for the Australian Writers Marketplace on Facebook. She has had flash fiction stories included in Flashspec, edited by Neil Cladingboel, and another in Flashspec Two. A short fantasy story was published in the EnVision anthology, sf-envision.com, another fantasy short story in The Phantom Queen Awakes by Morrigan Books, and in the 2016 Oscillate Wildly Press Monsters Among Us anthology, the short horror story ‘Beyond the Walls of Sleep’. Two stories were included in 2017’s Return anthology, one a straight fantasy and the other a steampunk narrative. You can find her blog at: https://cogpunksteamscribe.wordpress.com/
Michael Grey was born and grew up in Yorkshire and now lives in Melbourne with his wife and three boys. His writing work has been featured in print and online. He is currently taking applications for the role of ‘Writer’s Cat’. Candidates can contact him at http://www.michaelgrey.com.au or on Twitter @Mikes005
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 www.stephaniegunn.com.
Natalie Haigh is a voracious consumer of speculative fiction, a lover of libraries, an owner of an adorable beaglier, wearer of mermaid hair and a player of tabletop games. Her love of reading speculative fiction started from a young age, encouraged by her mother who willing drove her to the local library each week to find new stories. Natalie also belongs to the City of Small Gods (Discworld) fan group and regularly performs in amateur theatre productions in Adelaide. This is her first year as a judge for the Aurealis Awards and she is looking forward to reading more widely the great Australian speculative fiction that is being published.
One of Holly Harper’s favourite books as a child was called “Some Bodies in the Attic”: a pop-up book full of skulls, cobwebs and sinister blood stains. Her childhood love of horror only grew stronger over time, and she now writes her own books for kids and young adults about zombies, witches, werewolves, magic and mystery under the name H J Harper. She has spent over a decade as a children’s bookseller, with a special interest in helping reluctant readers find the perfect book to kickstart their reading obsessions. Holly lives in country Victoria with her partner and far too many cats. There may also be some skulls, cobwebs and sinister blood stains.
Jessica Harvie has loved science fiction since she was a child, with Star Trek being a staple of her childhood. Always reading, it wasn’t long until she hooked on to sci-fi and never let go. After finishing a degree in Children’s Literature, she wrote a thesis exploring the use of post-apocalyptic tropes in YA and Children’s fiction, focusing on their use post-1980s nuclear threat. Now she tweets about scifi, queer ecofeminism, YA and #LoveOzYA over at @jlharvie.
A life-long speculative fiction reader, past versions of Brie Hawthorne have been found reading while waiting to cross at traffic lights, in queues for nightclub toilets, movies and the Palace of Versaille (that was several chapters worth of queue), and many, many times past her bedtime. She previously had a short-lived YouTube channel where she talked about books and said the word ‘um’ an excruciating number of times, and has written reviews for Melbourne Review of Books and personal blogs. She can be found on twitter @EdieHawthorne
Anna Hepworth is an avid reader of spec fic, with specific interests stories written for children and young adults, stories written by Australians/about Australia, and short fiction. This makes reading for the Aurealis Awards a fabulous experience, and they continue to volunteer to do so. They are looking forward to discovering more favourite writers and stories that they love so much that they foist them on all their friends.
Craig Hildebrand is a writer from Melbourne. His fiction and nonfiction has been published in a variety of places in print and online, and he currently writes reviews, recaps and analysis on books, film and TV, with a focus on speculative fiction. This is his second time round judging in the horror category for the Aurealis Awards. His writing can be found on his website at http://craighildebrandburke.com/
Lindsay Hodder is an enthusiast of all things speculative, and is thrilled to be an Aurealis judge this year (less so to be writing about herself in the third person). She’s formed a career around words, from the scholastic – having researched a graduate thesis on the social possibilities of escapism in young adult speculative fiction – to the practical – writing across various genres for a variety of publications and websites internationally. She keeps multiple to-read shelves and can currently be found working in the children’s editorial department of a publishing company, where she’s happily known as ‘the fantasy and sci-fi person’.
Jess Howard decided to be a writer at age 7 after reading Roald Dahl’s The Witches because she wanted to create stories that could be both horrifying and triumphant. Years later she still agrees with her 7 year-old-self and has worked in education publishing for over a decade, has been shortlisted for the Hardie Grant Egmont Ampersand prize, and is still writing whenever she can.
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 online at her blog (link text: Triple Threat Librarian, link: http://www.triplethreatlibrarian.com) and on Twitter as @TripleThreatLib where she talks libraries, books, and life.
Jake Kalago is a prolific writer living on the gorgeous Sunshine Coast in Australia. Despite being in his mid-thirties, he is often mistake for being in his early teens. He loves writing horror, sci fi and fantasy, with a special interest in queer and inclusive fiction. He watches too many trashy horror movies to have any shred of self-respect, and lives with an alarmingly diverse array of disabled rescue animals, including snakes, frogs, shrimp, fish, cats, dogs and birds. Jake’s favourite dinosaur is the bagaceratops. You can find more about him at his website and blog, where he posts writing and lifestyle essays on Wednesdays. If that’s not enough for you, you can even sign up to his newsletter: http://www.traditionalevolution.com/
Jo Kasper started reading science fiction at a very early age (The Magic Faraway Tree is so obviously a trans-dimensional portal, right?) and has basically never stopped. She is not a writer, which meant she spent her first Conflux convention being introduced to people as “The Reader” and has done her best to live up to that ever since. Jo watched with fascination as science fiction has changed from the tech heavy space operas of Clarke and Asimov, to encompassing not only strange alien creatures but also women, people of colour, and LGBTQ characters as well. Science fiction is not just about the cool gadgets that may exist one day, but also how they will be used, what effects technology changes will have on society, and how humanity will cope. And robots. The best stories have robots.
Emma Kate surrounds herself with the written word. She works in a bookshop, reads every night before sleep, and writes as EK Cutting. When not wrapped up in literature, Emma watches a lot of tv, makes a lot of stuff from yarn, and has many cuddles from her four cats.
Heidi Wessman Kneale is a Fantasy-Romance author of moderate repute. This is her third year as an Aurealis judge and she loves reading all the splendid work Australian authors create. When not writing books, she is an ambidextrous polymath, specialising in the fields of music and conceptual astronomy.
Elspeth Lamorte is an early-career creative researcher from Sydney, affiliated with the University of Notre Dame, with a research focus on gender theory, young adult fairy tales and a further interest in mythology, superstition, and folklore. She occasionally presents her research at a variety of conferences, has written feature articles for online publication Chattr, and is a co-host and organiser of speculative fiction book club The Name of the Book. When she’s not reading, writing, or talking about her cats on Twitter she can be found indulging in a long-term enjoyment of Japanese animation, Korean television, and the occasional horror movie.
Chris Lampard lives in Western Australia and has been reading SF for many years. Chris is also a gardener, board gamer and occasional traveller. This is Chris’s third year as an Aurealis judge.
Ju Landeesse is a reader and reviewer interested in the overlapping realms of seen and unseen culture, intersectional feminism, speculative fiction, and the care and feeding of other humans. Her work as a midwife connects her with the magic of birth and the opacity of healthcare systems. Her reviewing and critique seek to entangle and complicate the seemingly mundane and the transcendent. Ju is a weapon of mass whimsy, a being composed of delight, non-monogamy, pansexuality, feminism, and fannishness.
Earl Livings has published literary and speculative poetry and fiction in Australia and also in Britain, Canada, the USA, and Germany. He also has read his work in many venues around Melbourne and in the USA, England, Ireland, and Wales. Earl has a PhD in Creative Writing and taught professional writing and editing for almost 20 years. He has also worked as a freelance editor, a manuscript assessor, and a mentor for Writers Victoria. His writing focuses on science, nature, mythology and the sacred and his next poetry collection will be published in late 2018. When not researching in Wales and Scotland for his current project, an historical fantasy set in 6th century Britain, Earl lives with his wife in a book-filled house in Box Hill, Victoria.
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. This is his fourth year as a judge and he is very excited to get started, so much so he made pew pew noises when selected.
Gene Melzack 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, Fantasy Short Story/Novella, and Science Fiction Short Story/Novella categories.
For E E Montgomery, writing is the thread that stitches the fragments of a curious mind into myriad imaginary worlds. A dedicated people-watcher, E E finds stories everywhere. In a cafe, a cemetery, a book on space exploration or on the news: there’ll be a story of personal growth, love, and unconditional acceptance there somewhere. E E Montgomery has published short stories, novellas and novels across genres (contemporary, historical, romance, science fiction and fantasy) since 2011.
TR Napper is a former diplomat and aid worker. He lived and worked throughout Southeast Asia for over a decade. He is currently completing a creative writing doctorate in Noir, Cyberpunk, and Asian Modernity. TR Napper is also an Aurealis award-winning short story writer, whose work has appeared in annual Year’s Best Anthologies, and been translated into numerous languages. He does not own a cat.
Ion Newcombe is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia’s longest running online speculative flash fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998. He has been a zealous reader and occasional author of SF short stories since his childhood in the 1960s. “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 The AntipodeanSF Radio Show (and podcast).
Rachel Nightingale was a highly imaginative child who used to pretend she was a gypsy wandering the woods on her way home from school. Once she realised creating stories gave her magical powers she decided to become a writer. Some years, and many diversions later, she is the author of Harlequin’s Riddle, published by Odyssey Books, and also, rather unexpectedly, an award winning playwright. Columbine’s Tale, the sequel to Harlequin, will be released in September 2018 and she is currently writing the final book of trilogy, which by complete coincidence is about the power of creativity to shape the world, whilst desperately trying to ignore all the other stories clamouring for her attention. She lives in regional Victoria with a very bossy cat, her family, and the cutest dog in the world.
Nathan Phillips is a writer of fantasy and contemporary fiction who enjoys reading epic fantasy and YA. His favourite authors include Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, Anne McCaffrey, Jim Butcher and Brandon Sanderson. After twelve years as a military officer, Nathan now works in fraud investigations, and is currently re-reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, a task gladly stalled by his first year as an Aurealis judge. A South Australian at heart, he now lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast and is lucky enough to be surrounded by a wife and two sons that also love fantasy, especially the Harry Potter series. His writing companion is a trashcat named Stanley.
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.
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 Boards of the Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation and Continuum 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/
Justin Randall completed his first class honors as a top 5% graduate with a thesis on digital comics, titled ‘Visual communication in print and the digital medium’ before accepting a tenured academic position. He illustrated his first full length graphic novel for IDW Publishing titled 30 Days of Night: Eben & Stella, along with a follow-up title, Dust to Dust, as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive while working as a colorist for the quasi-sequel to Repo Man, Waldo’s Hawaiian Holiday by Alex Cox. He then produced his first solo graphic novel series titled Changing Ways which was awarded a Gold Ledger award and two Aurealis awards for ‘best illustrated book’ in Australia. Twice featured in the Wheels for the Mind, Apple magazine, he has since worked as an interior artist for Image Comics and been a reoccurring cover artist for the Silent Hill comic series through IDW Publishing as well as a recurring cover artist for the 30 Days of Night novels through Simon & Schuster, New York. Justin recently completed the third book in his Changing Ways series and is currently working on a new graphic novel and virtual reality experience titled Cavity.
Jennifer Rowland is an Australian writer and academic who has spent most of her adult life working across a range of disciplines internationally. She loves language, is an avid reader and learner of new things, and writes both fiction and non-fiction. She is a strong supporter of independent authors. Her current day job involves overseeing a postgraduate research training program in northern Sydney, as well as teaching communications and project management. In her spare time, Jennifer has been known to extol the virtues of the Oxford comma. This is her first year as an Aurealis Awards judge.
Carol Ryles reads from a wide variety of genres, but science fiction has always been her favourite since the age of ten. She is a graduate of Clarion West 2008 and her stories have appeared in over a dozen Australian anthologies such as Eidolon and The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror. She holds a BA (English) Hons 1 (Postcolonial Science Fiction). Her PhD focussed on creative writing in the subgenre of Steampunk. During her post grad studies, Carol worked as a steering committee member and editorial consultant for Trove, an online journal of creative arts from The University of Western Australia. Her website can be found at http://www.carolryles.net.
Linda Sengsourinho was first introduced to the Perth speculative fiction scene back in 2001 and has been around the fringes ever since. Neither a nerd or a geek, despite knowing many of both persuasions, Linda has been on and helped organise several Swancons, Perth’s speculative fiction convention. Truth be told, she’s probably been on more committees than she has actually attended events. Linda loves fantasy, but reads eclectically and keeps herself busy by organising conventions and running after her large extended family – the nephews are cute and give lots of cuddles! She spends a lot of time on the ridge in Roleystone, where the trees are a balm to the soul at the end of the days and where her cat is apparently at home enough to wander around asking to be fed by all the neighbours.
Alexa Shaw is a Canberra writer who dabbles across children’s, young adult and adult fiction, primarily in the genres of fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction. Her work is inspired by the amazing things we see around us every day, from the tiny to the enormous. She is currently fine tuning her first novel which is a middle grade supernatural mystery. When not writing or otherwise engaged with work, Alexa tends a very large veggie patch and has a habit of growing things her family has difficulty recognising. Mangel wurzel anyone? Kiwano?
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!
Katharine Stubbs is a book reviewer (https://ventureadlaxre.com/), and has been a judge of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards in 2013/2014, and an Aurealis judge for several years over different categories, as well as judging the inaugural Sara Douglass Book Series Award. Katharine has also stepped in as judging coordinator and acts as support staff for the Awards whenever possible.
Having made up stuff since the age of eight, Shel Sweeney is now an independent publishing personnel: freelance writer, editor and writing mentor at http://awordedlife.com. Shel has been writing stories, plays, poems, journals, letters and songs since she was eight years old. When she was confused and needed to find clarity or simply when she wanted to play and create, Shel turned her attention to the written word. Later, in working with homeless adolescents and secondary school students, Shel saw the value of the written word as an avenue for self- expression and transformation. Shel is a firm believer that words have the power to effect change, to define worlds and to transform lives.
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 SF&F title she could find and continues to immerse herself in the genre. A prodigious reader across many genres, she has a particular love of science fiction. 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, Horror, and more recently the Anthologies and Collections. She has also judged for CBCA, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and several other awards.
Chloe Townson is an avid book enthusiast who works at Riverbend Books in Bulimba, Brisbane. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Writing and English Literature, Honours in English Literature, and a Diploma of Writing, Editing, and Publishing at the University of Queensland. Her honours thesis focused on the importance of fairy tale in children’s literature through the talking animals in Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy. One of her favourite hobbies is convincing fiction-reading customers that they ought to read more fantasy and science fiction. Some of her favourite authors include James S.A Corey, Adam Douglas, Terry Pratchett, and David Mitchell.
Caitlin Wardle has wanted to become a published author for as long as she can remember, but unfortunately still has yet to finish a draft. She can never pass a bookstore without going in for at least a look, but usually comes out with a book or two anyway and is excited about her first year judging for the Aurealis Awards! When not reorganising or cataloguing her 450+ books on her bookshelves six ways from Sunday, she can be found on her blog at bendthebookshelf.blogspot.com.au
Tom Woodward discovered Redwall and Star Wars novels in year 5 and has been lost in speculative fiction ever since, and now Terry Pratchett is his favourite author. Horror is a more recent interest, stemming from b-grade zombie and sci-fi/horror films. Now he is grown up, Tom tries to read more widely, and is currently a member of a couple of book clubs. In his spare time Tom likes to play board games and try out different craft beers with his mates.
Christine Yunn-Yu Sun is a bilingual writer, translator, reader, reviewer and independent scholar based in Melbourne. She is also a long-term fan of horror fiction, having devoted time to reading, reviewing, translating and promoting emerging and established authors in this genre. In 2016, Christine received a grant from Carl Brandon Society to attend and serve as a panelist at the 55th Australian National Speculative Fiction Convention. She was a judge for the Aurealis Awards in 2017.