Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek
benpeek

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Aurealis Award from Sunny Britain

A few days ago I said I'd convince Martin Lewis (ninebelow) to post his views on some past winners of the Aurealis Awards, just to give you an idea of how the scene is viewed outside the country.

Well, here it is:

One problem is that the pool of Australian fiction is simply not large enough to credibly support such an award. There is no shame in this. There is shame, however, in falsely praising minor works, a process which merely serves to undermine the reputations of all involved. There are two issues involved here. Firstly, the major fan and juried awards of the much bigger markets of Britain and the United States are not closed to entrants from outside those countries (although, of course, native entries often win.) It is an understandable fear that such an open borders policy in Australian awards would leave little, if any, Australian fiction on the shortlists. Perhaps, though, only lauding that rare fiction that can compete on the international stage is preferable to the current situation. Secondly, and more troubling, is the fact that the award is split into five categories - science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult and children – further reducing the amount of fiction available. Even if the award is restricted to Australian fiction (and there is a clear case for this, especially given how liberally the judges interpret “Australian”) there can be no reason to sub-divide so excessively. Something has to give: together these two facts make the awards simply unsustainable.


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