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As you know, I was bitterly disappointed when Satalyte shut up shop as it might have meant the end of my admittedly short career as a publi...

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are not available as e-books at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. However, I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

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Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've lived: High View, WV

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Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

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Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

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Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Sunday, 25 March 2012

On being an Aurealis judge

The Aurealis Awards are Australia's premier award for speculative fiction. There are fourteen awards each year, for best novel and best short story in each sub-genre (fantasy, horror and science fiction) together with best graphic novel, best young adult novel, best young adult short story, best children's novel, best children's illustrated work, best anthology and best collection. There is also the Peter McNamara Convenors' Award for excellence, which is judged by the convenors' panel. Each award requires three judges, which means the organisers have to find 39 good folk and true every year to undertake the onerous task. Several friends have been judges in the past and some have done it for several years in a row. 'How hard can it be?' I thought. 'I should also do my bit for the genre and put my hand up.'

And so it was that I came to be a judge for Fantasy Short Story section of the 2011 awards. Trust me to throw my hat in the ring for a year with a record number of entries! One hundred and seventy-two of them, to be precise. Eek!

We started reading at the end of 2011, and I seemed to be reading short stories back to back for over three months. Very little other reading and even less reviewing issued forth from my desk during the reading period, which co-incided with the final push to the finish line for the Specusphere's Mythic Resonance anthology, to which I was also committed. Remind me not to volunteer for two such major undertakings at the same time ever again!

The judging process for the Aurealis Awards is straightforward. Each of the three judges gives a mark out of ten to each and every story. The process is inevitably subjective. No matter how hard one tries to alot points for various essentials such as plot, structure, originality, quality of writing etc, in the end it comes down to personal preference. Furthermore, even though there were so many entries, we were bound by the contest rules, which stipulate that only five stories can go forward to the final round. And it is the five stories that attain the highest average mark, of course, that have to be selected. I gave the extremely high mark of 9.75 to one story, which I considered outstanding and as good as any short story I had ever read in my whole life, but sadly, one of the other judges didn't care for it at all so it didn't make the final cut.

In fact, of the 172 entries, I thought at least thirty were good enough to short-list. So there were at least 25 excellent stories that will never gain the appreciation they deserve, unless they are lucky enough to be among the winners in another award.

I was deeply saddened by this. We work so hard on our stories, but in the end it is the preferences of judges, agents or publishers that decides a story's fate.

I don't mean to gripe, because it's hard to imagine the system working any other way, but I do think it's sad that some excellent work never gets the exposure it deserves because it just doesn't happen to land on the desk of the right person at the right time. In the publishing world, for instance, a writer might have produced a lovely historical fantasy set in, say, China, and sends it to four literary agents. The first agent dislikes historical fantasy of all kinds and will not represent it. Another does not want any more historical fantasy writers at present, thank you. A third is looking for a historical fantasy set in Africa, not China. And the fourth has just signed an author with a nice Chinese historical fantasy, so will not want another any time in the near future. This is the kind of story that is repeated over and over again, be it in seeking an agent or a publisher or entering awards or competitions.

Oh well, to borrow an old saying, I guess 'that's showbusiness'! If we love writing enough, we'll keep writing anyway!

You can read the full list of 2011 Aurealis finalists in all sections at http://www.aurealisawards.com/finalists2011.pdf

2 comments:

Jo said...

I would love to see Glenda get an award this year, she has been in the finalists so many times and her work is so very good.

Satima Flavell said...

So would I, Jo. I am astonished that Glenda has never won, especially as her work seems to get even better with every new book! Fingers crossed for this year!

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