Recently, and soon

Re-interred convict and early white settler graves in the Jewish section of Cornelian Bay Cemetery, Hobart; many of the stars represent child and infant deaths.

I’ve had a busy few months year, editing Mother of Invention (it’s with the printer now!), writing, and taking on the gothest side gig ever: doing admin and proofreading gravestones for a monumental stonemason.

Belated writing news… My Ecopunk story, “Trivalent”, was shortlisted for a Ditmar Award, and my Defying Doomsday short, “Two Somebodies Go Hunting”, has been shortlisted for a Norma K. Hemming Award.

I just got back from the US, where among other things, I pre-launched Mother of Invention at WisCon (my livetweets are here; I had a fantastic time on the two panels I was on, plus the others I attended and elsewhere). While I was there, Strange Horizons interviewed me about my writing and editing work, and it was great fun to chat to them about what keeps me writing.

Next on the horizon is Continuum. I’m programmed as follows:

  • At 5pm on Friday, I’m running a panel on Assumed Knowledge in Fandom, about gatekeeping and unintentional barriers that stop people from enjoying geeky pastimes.
  • At 2pm on Sunday, it’s the Mother of Invention pre-launch party (come along for excitement, cupcakes, and other goodies)!
  • At 11am on Monday, I’m giving a ‘Deep Dive’ presentation on convict women (yes, the picture is a teaser from my slideshow!). Here’s my abstract:

    Abandoned wenches and rebellious hussies: convict women in Van Diemen’s Land
    In the Australian education system and more broadly, the history of male convicts dominates the discourse around transportation of criminals to Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Little is generally known of the thousands of women who were transported to Australia during the era. In this presentation, I will attempt to shed some light onto their lives, focusing on the female factories and the assignment system in use in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). I will outline the crimes for which women were transported, what their sea voyages and arrivals were like, before examining the work women did in and out of the factories. Some were horribly mistreated; rape was common, whereas survival sex work led all female convicts to be perceived as prostitutes. Pregnancies were punished with internment in the factories, the resulting children were placed in orphanages at young ages. Some women kept their heads down and gained a ticket of leave as soon as possible; others were recalcitrant and seemed to prefer life inside the factory to outside (and each other to men). I will also aim to contextualise these histories within the history of prison reformation, different attitudes to morality among different social classes, and colonisation.

Ends and beginnings, 2016 edition

Author with awardIn the spirit of recounting the good things that happened to me in this global annus horribilis, here’s my year in review. In (mostly) chronological order…

My writing year kicked off in earnest (I’m sure I wrote stuff before then, but I can’t be sure) in March, when I attended Contact. Held in Brisbane over the Easter long weekend, this was the 55th Australian National Science Fiction Convention and I enjoyed it heartily.

It featured the first Aurealis Awards that I was involved with (as judge for SF short story category) and much live-tweeting by me. I also won a Ditmar Award for Best New Talent, which was surprising and inspiring to my work since. (Except for the part where I dropped my pin on the floor of the stage, but I am at peace with my clumsiness.) To the Australian speculative fiction community, thank you for welcoming me and honouring me.

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Making Contact

Author with award

Here I am with my first ever award, for Best New Talent in the Ditmar Awards. Photo by me.

Last night I returned home from Contact, the 55th annual Australian speculative fiction convention held in Brisbane.

As I usually do, I had a wonderful time catching up with friends from around the country (and outside of it), learning and live tweeting up a storm (the least terrible of these are immortalised on Storify), and adding to the ever-toppling Mt. TBR.

I was also chuffed to win a Ditmar Award for Best New Talent! Like I said on the night (hopefully coherently, right after I dropped my pin on stage) I very much appreciate the support of my family, the Australian speculative fiction community and specifically my mentor, Cat Sparks.

I am Ditmar nominated!

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve been nominated as ‘best new talent’ in the Ditmar awards. The full preliminary ballot is available on the Ditmars wiki. Any member of Contact 2016 or last year’s Swancon can vote online (for me or any of my worthy opponents).

This year, I was also a judge for the Aurealis Awards, for science fiction short stories. At final count, I believe we read 128 stories, and it was a fantastic learning experience. The full shortlist was released a little while ago, and the the winners of both awards will be announced at Contact, in Brisbane over the Easter long weekend. It’s going to be a great con!