So its been a minute since the last blog, right? February I think? Aaaaand a few things have happened in that time. Job changes. Car crashes. All sorts of nasty things. But of the better occurrences was the Aurealis Awards – the first in person Speculative Fiction awards since 2019. Unfortunately, still being in the middle of a pandemic, there were plenty of people who couldn’t make it, but it was a start to getting back to seeing each other in person. For me, that was pretty exciting.
The other exciting bit was that with a few weeks notice and a number of YouTube tutorials later, we were still able to stream it via Facebook and Zoom, with (hopefully) the video going up on Aurealis Awards YouTube channel soon. Despite being somewhat on the stressful side, I think it was the good, exciting kind of stress, rather than the expectational and existential kind of stress.
The list of winners and finalists can be found on the Aurealis Awards website, and it was great to see so many people and works celebrated. Highlights included seeing current and former Canberrans (respectively) Lisa Fuller and Kathryn Barker take home a couple each, second placed member of the Most-Nominations-Without-A-Win Club Alan Baxter win a well deserved Aurealis for The Gulp, and the late Aiki Flinthart picking up an award for Best Anthology. If only have a few minutes to watch the Awards on YouTube or Facebook later, I highly recommend you watch the tributes to Aiki delivered by Pamela Jeffs and Gene Flynn. Heartfelt, a little sweary (by the request of Aiki’s family), and an incredibly just way to celebrate a wonderful person.
From a personal perspective, its was a little odd to realise that the vast majority of people in the room I had only ever known online. See, I was kind of part of the spec fic crowd before I moved back to Canberra, but I was more someone sticking their toe in the door and heading to the back of the room. I had made an effort to volunteer where I could for a few things, but it was only really when I moved back that I really got involved.
That of course, was in mid-2019. I attended one convention, and then the country/world shut down. Which meant that all the people I’ve spo
ken to, interviewed, profiled, or otherwise come across over the last few years – I have, as a general rule, never met until now. It was more than a little surreal.
I’m really looking forward to doing this again next year. There are no plans yet as to what form it will take (the active committee was not huge, and we need a break!), and with the world throwing plenty of curveballs, there is always a risk to events either in person or online. But likewise, the global situations may take a turn for the better, and it may mean more people can safely join in by then. It’s very much a ‘who knows’ scenario, another reason I’m glad we were able to get some of us together while we could. Hopefully next year, we can get even more.