Rules

General Governance

The Aurealis Awards are administered by WASFF on behalf of Chimaera Publications.

The WASFF executive is responsible for the overall governance of the awards as stipulated by contract. This governance includes the Aurealis Awards ceremony as well as the judging process.

The selection of finalists and winners from entries in the Aurealis Awards process is the responsibility of selected judging panels. Panel sizes may vary among categories – and from year to year – depending on the perceived workload and the availability of judges for a particular category. However, each panel must consist of at least three judges.

Judges are selected by the Aurealis Awards management team following a public application process; any member of the public may apply. The management team reserves the right to select judges from the pool of applicants, and may seek additional judges should it be deemed necessary following the closure of the public application process. No correspondence will be entered into.

For more information about being an Aurealis Awards judge, go to the judging the Aurealis Awards webpage. It is anticipated that most disputes will be resolved by a consensus within the individual judging panels or with the assistance of the judging co-ordinator. Should a resolution not be achieved, the matter may be referred to the Aurealis Awards management team. In such cases, the management team’s decision is final and binding.

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Entries

What works are eligible?

Any work of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen or permanent resident and published for the first time between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016 is eligible to be entered.

The Sara Douglass Book Series Award is an award is for a “series”, defined as a continuing ongoing story told through two or more books, which must be considered as ending in one of the years covered by the judging period. This award will not be run in 2016.

How to enter works?

Entry is via the online entry form.

Who can enter works?

Anyone can enter a work, however registrants must agree to send or submit a copy of the entered work to each judge in the category or categories the work is entered in.

Details of judges’ postal addresses will be provided after works are registered.

There is no entry fee for short fiction entries, entries in the Children’s category, or entries for the Convenors’ Award for Excellence.

There is a $10.00 entry fee for works entered in all other categories.

A list of entries appears on the Aurealis Awards website and is progressively updated during the year. Only formally entered works will be considered for the Awards.

Can I submit works electronically?

Yes. Electronic entries must be provided as epub or mobi files (if neither format is available, PDF may be acceptable) to the judging co-ordinators for dissemination to the appropriate judges – individual judge’s emails will not be provided to entrants.

Entry deadline

Entries must be lodged by midnight 7 December 2016.

Copies of entered works must be received by the judging panels at the addresses provided no later than 31 December 2016.

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Works published late in the year

The Aurealis Awards 2016 are for works of speculative fiction by authors, editors and illustrators, who are Australian citizens or permanent residents, first published in English between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016.

To avoid a logjam of work arriving at the very end of the awards process, if a work is released close to our December 2016 deadline, we recommend advance copies or page proofs be sent to judges as soon as possible.

We are happy to accept electronic copies, photocopies or printouts of manuscripts or galleys, providing the text is identical to that appearing in the final, published version.

Works submitted in proof form will be eligible for an award so long as at least one judge on the relevant panel or the judging co-ordinators sight a final published version on or by 31 January 2017.

The earlier our judges receive the work, the more time they will have to give it the consideration it deserves. 

In 2016, we strongly encourage publishers and authors to enter all works published in the first half of the year by August 31, 2016, and then enter works as they are published.

The judging co-ordinators and judges are under no obligation to notify those entering if works cannot be considered because they are deemed ineligible under our rules and conditions.

The Aurealis Awards aim to be as comprehensive and as inclusive as possible, so if an eligible work does not appear on our list of entries then please email us to let us know about it. Every effort will be made to encourage that work’s author/publisher to enter it. However, please note that just suggesting a work be considered does not constitute a valid entry.

Categories

There are seven categories. Each category has a panel of at least three judges who choose the best eligible works entered each year.

Science fiction

  • best science fiction short story (less than 7,499 words)
  • best science fiction novella (7,500 to 40,000 words)
  • best science fiction novel (40,000 words or longer)

In all categories, literary merit is of paramount importance in selecting the shortlisted works. Genre elements should not be enough to see a book on the shortlist; the Aurealis Awards is first and foremost a literary award. However, neither should a problematic definition of what makes a work of a particular genre bar an excellent book that contains appropriate elements of that genre, and the Aurealis Awards prefers an inclusive view of what genre markers may include.

A work in the Science Fiction category often contains elements based on imagined future scientific or technological advances, or major social or environmental changes, and may portray space or time travel or life on other planets. Science Fiction may include content such as futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life, and its imaginary elements are largely plausible within the scientifically established context of the story. The genre often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a literature of ideas and change.

These guidelines are not intended to be proscriptive on the nature of genre in these categories. Rather, they are offered as an outline that should be considered fluid and as inclusive as possible within the nature of speculative fiction.

Fantasy

  • best fantasy short fiction (less than 7,499 words)
  • best fantasy novella (7,500 to 40,000 words)
  • best fantasy novel (40,000 words or longer)

In all categories, literary merit is of paramount importance in selecting the shortlisted works. Genre elements should not be enough to see a book on the shortlist; the Aurealis Awards is first and foremost a literary award. However, neither should a problematic definition of what makes a work of a particular genre bar an excellent book that contains appropriate elements of that genre, and the Aurealis Awards prefers an inclusive view of what genre markers may include.

A work in the Fantasy category usually incorporates imaginative and fantastic themes. These themes may involve magic or supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element. Events in these works frequently occur outside the ordinary laws that operate within the universe, whether in the acknowledged real world or in a wholly created one. A work of Fantasy often includes the activity of imagining impossible or improbable things.

These guidelines are not intended to be proscriptive on the nature of genre in these categories. Rather, they are offered as an outline that should be considered fluid and as inclusive as possible within the nature of speculative fiction.

Horror

  • best horror short fiction (less than 7,499 words)
  • best horror novella (7,500 to 40,000 words)
  • best horror novel (40,000 words or longer)

In all categories, literary merit is of paramount importance in selecting the shortlisted works. Genre elements should not be enough to see a book on the shortlist; the Aurealis Awards is first and foremost a literary award. However, neither should a problematic definition of what makes a work of a particular genre bar an excellent book that contains appropriate elements of that genre, and the Aurealis Awards prefers an inclusive view of what genre markers may include.

A work in the Horror category should be intended to disturb or inspire fear, dread or trepidation in the reader. The genre may include psychological suspense, occult fiction, dark fiction, and paranormal fiction. A work need not contain supernatural elements to be considered horror.

These guidelines are not intended to be proscriptive on the nature of genre in these categories. Rather, they are offered as an outline that should be considered fluid and as inclusive as possible within the nature of speculative fiction.

Young adult

  • best young adult short fiction (less than 40,000 words)
  • best young adult novel (40,001 words or longer)

In all categories, literary merit is of paramount importance in selecting the shortlisted works. Genre elements should not be enough to see a book on the shortlist; the Aurealis Awards is first and foremost a literary award. However, neither should a problematic definition of what makes a work of a particular genre bar an excellent book that contains appropriate elements of that genre, and the Aurealis Awards prefers an inclusive view of what genre markers may include.

In this category, the genre guidelines above should be considered in conjunction with the age range of Young Adult. For the purposes of the Aurealis Awards, young adult can best be described as ‘teen fiction’, broadly 12-18 years.

Children’s

In all categories, literary merit is of paramount importance in selecting the shortlisted works. Genre elements should not be enough to see a book on the shortlist; the Aurealis Awards is first and foremost a literary award. However, neither should a problematic definition of what makes a work of a particular genre bar an excellent book that contains appropriate elements of that genre, and the Aurealis Awards prefers an inclusive view of what genre markers may include.

In this category, the genre guidelines above should be considered in conjunction with the age range of Children’s fiction. The Children’s category is for younger readers, aged under 12 years.

Anthology and collection

  • best collection (a volume of speculative stories or poems by a single author – must include three or more pieces)
  • best anthology (a volume of speculative stories or poems by multiple authors, including a single issue of a magazine – must include three or more pieces)

In all categories, literary merit is of paramount importance in selecting the shortlisted works. Genre elements should not be enough to see a book on the shortlist; the Aurealis Awards is first and foremost a literary award. However, neither should a problematic definition of what makes a work of a particular genre bar an excellent book that contains appropriate elements of that genre, and the Aurealis Awards prefers an inclusive view of what genre markers may include.

In this category, the genre guidelines above should be considered in conjunction with the definitions of Anthology and Collection.

Illustrated book or graphic novel

  • best illustrated book/graphic novel

In all categories, literary merit is of paramount importance in selecting the shortlisted works. Genre elements should not be enough to see a book on the shortlist; the Aurealis Awards is first and foremost a literary award. However, neither should a problematic definition of what makes a work of a particular genre bar an excellent book that contains appropriate elements of that genre, and the Aurealis Awards prefers an inclusive view of what genre markers may include.

In this category, the genre guidelines above should be considered in conjunction with the broad interpretation of what a graphic story / illustrated book / graphic novel may look like.

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The Convenors’ Award for Excellence

The Convenors’ Award for Excellence is awarded at the discretion of the convenors for a particular achievement in speculative fiction or related areas in the year that cannot otherwise be judged for the Aurealis Awards.

It can be for a work of non-fiction, artwork, film, television, electronic or multimedia work, or that which brings credit or attention to the speculative fiction genres.

The award was originally known as The Convenors’ Award for Excellence and was renamed in 2002 after Peter McNamara (d. 2004), publisher, editor and the original Aurealis Awards convenor, shortly after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. In 2014, the award guidelines were revised and it was renamed to its original form, to avoid confusion with the Peter McNamara Achievement Award presented annually at the National Science Fiction Convention.

Entries for the Convenors’ Award for Excellence must be submitted to the Aurealis Awards co-ordinator using the Convenors’ Award for Excellence entry form by midnight EST, 31 December 2015.

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The Sara Douglass Book Series Award

The Sara Douglass Book Series Award is a WASFF-hosted trial, and covered series ending (in its original publication) between January 2011 and December 2014 (in the inaugural year). The Award will potentially thereafter be held periodically, covering the interim years. The Sara Award will not be running in 2016. 

This Award is intended to recognise that there are book series that are greater as a whole than the sum of their parts. It is anticipated that shortlisted works will be best enjoyed read in succession, with an arc that begins in the first book and is completed in the last. The series may be in any speculative genre within the extended bounds of science fiction, fantasy or horror (that is, if a book would be considered on an individual basis for one of the novel categories of the Aurealis Awards, the series may be considered here).

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For an entry

Each entry is categorised, and this information will be displayed on the list of Aurealis Awards entries.

Although works may be entered in more than one category, we urge you to only choose the most relevant, rather than make across-the-board, blanket entries.

Many categories attract an entry fee, which must be paid for each category entered.

It is rare, for example, for one work to be considered science fiction and fantasy and horror and YA. It is possible for a work to be a finalist and win in more than one category. But if a work is entered in multiple categories, a copy of the entry must be sent to each judge in each of the relevant categories and the entry fee must be paid for each category (if applicable).

The Aurealis Awards management team recognises the financial burden of entering multiple works in multiple categories to some authors, editors and publishers at independent small presses.

In the case of multimedia, if a work of this type is to be entered in the novel, anthology or collection categories, then judges will need to receive a copy of the work for their consideration but the work will be considered only on the literary elements. However, a multimedia format work may be entered and considered for the Convenors’ Award for Excellence as this special award has a broad scope and may take into account more than the printed word.

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Regarding co-authored, edited or illustrated works

The Aurealis Awards 2015 are for works of speculative fiction by authors, editors and illustrators, who are Australian citizens or permanent residents, first published in English between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2015.

In the case of co-authored novels or short stories, at least one of the authors must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and the Australian involvement may not be limited to illustration only.

To be eligible, anthologies must have been edited by an Australian citizen or permanent resident and first published in English in the period under consideration. In the case of co-edited works, at least one of the editors must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

For single author collections, the entry must have been authored by an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

The 2008 Aurealis Awards process was the first time we had the anthology category, and magazines were considered alongside anthologies. While this practice was discontinued for a number of years in response to feedback from our judges who felt that the inherent differences in the formats were more marked than the similarities, individual issues of magazines may once again be entered in the Anthologies category.

In the case of illustrated works or graphic novels (either work for adults or children’s picture books), either the writer or illustrator or both must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and the entry first published in English between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2015.

We aim to be as inclusive as possible and endeavour to do all we can to assist in the entry process. Enquiries may be emailed to the judging co-ordinator.

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Conflict of interest

A novel or short story written by a judge is automatically ineligible to be entered for an award in that year in the category for which the person is a judge. Work is still eligible to be entered in other categories.

A novel or short story written by the Aurealis Awards convenor, co-convenor or assistant convenor is automatically ineligible to be nominated for an award. This ineligibility applies only to works written by the person involved. For example, if the editor of an anthology or magazine is a judge, stories in the anthology or magazine not written by him/her are still eligible, but anything written by him/her is not.

If the editor or co-editor of an anthology or collection is a judge in the anthology and collection category, then that anthology or collection edited or co-edited by him/her is ineligible.

Should a judge have any concerns about their eligibility or the appropriateness of reviewing a particular work, they should raise them with their convenor, who will then discuss the matter with the awards co-ordinator and make a ruling. This ruling will be final.

Judges are asked to inform their panel convenor of potential perceived conflicts of interest in their judging process (for example, editor of a short story, beta reader for a novel, spouse of an entrant). As this is a very small industry, everyone who could be a judge will almost certainly know at least some of the writers whose works come before them, and we rely on their ability to be impartial about the quality of the work they are judging.

A novel or short story written by the judging co-ordinator is automatically ineligible to be entered for an award.

Novels or short stories written by other members of the Organising Committee are still eligible for consideration by the relevant judging panels. However, to maintain the integrity of the judging process, the following additional rules are to be observed: (1) If a judging panel requires clarification on any point, they will refer their query to the judging co-ordinator in the first instance. If the judging co-ordinator is unable to resolve the query, s/he may refer the matter to the President of the Organising Committee for joint resolution, provided there is no conflict of interest in doing so. (2) The convenor of each panel will notify short-listed works and the ultimate winner to the judging co-ordinator only.

The remainder of the Organising Committee will not be notified of the ultimate winners in advance of the Aurealis Awards ceremony.

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Regarding blogs, websites, reviews, critiques and other public comments

Judges, the judging co-ordinator, and members of the Aurealis Awards management team may externally review or critique works which may be eligible for entry. These reviews or critiques may take the form of blogs, printed reviews, discussion panels and similar activities. However, as it is important that the awards maintain a level of independence and impartiality, all such reviews should contain a disclaimer emphasising that this is the personal opinion of the person involved and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the panel, the judging co-ordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.

Similarly, we ask that judges refrain from commenting on shortlisted works within their category between the date the shortlist is publicly released and the announcement of the winners at the awards ceremony.

Most of the judges’ discussions are conducted via an online forum or email. All discussions between the judges in each panel and the judging co-ordinator and/or the Aurealis Awards management team are confidential. Judges may not discuss the process of the judging panel in any forum.

All members of the Aurealis Awards management team must also refrain from commenting on all shortlisted works within this time frame.

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