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Panel sizes may vary among categories – and from year to year – depending on the perceived workload required and the availability of judges for a particular category. However, each panel will consist of at least three judges, one of which will be the panel convenor.

Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the speculative fiction community; from diverse professions and backgrounds, and may include academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category.

Being an Aurealis Awards judge involves reading entries in a single category, which may comprise several dozen novels and/or more than a hundred short stories in the process of evaluating the year’s entries. Judges may keep their reading copies of entries.

It is vital that judges be able to work as part of a team and meet stringent deadlines. Most of the judges’ discussions are conducted via an online forum or email.

All discussions are confidential between the judges in each panel and the judging coordinator and/or the Aurealis Awards management team, as required. The Aurealis Awards judging coordinator will have no input into these decisions unless a panel of judges is unable to reach a consensus.

Judges from previous Aurealis Awards processes are welcome – indeed encouraged – to re-apply. But, in the interests of transparency and impartiality, no one may judge the same category for more than two consecutive years, and a break of two consecutive years is required before a judge can reapply to be a judge in that particular category again.

Because fantasy and science fiction are the largest categories, they have been split into two separate judging panels, one for novels and one for short stories.

As of 2013, all judges for the Aurealis Awards will accept works electronically and will each nominate their preferred electronic file format.

The winner of the Peter McNamara Convenors' Award for Excellence will be reached by a consensus of the convenors of each of the judging panels.

Each judge receives one complimentary ticket (non-transferable) to the Aurealis Awards 2013 ceremony to be held in April 2014 in Canberra.

Aurealis Awards finalists and winners in each category are selected by our judges.


2013 Judging Panels

Judging Coordinator: Tehani Wessely



Short Fiction

Science Fiction

Helen Merrick (convenor)
Lorraine Cormack
Alexandra Pierce
Keith Stevenson

Jason Nahrung (convenor)
Zara Baxter
Sally Newham
Tania Walker


Katharine Stubbs (convenor)
PR Khangure (PRK)
Cathie Tasker
Bethwyn Walker

Simon Petrie (convenor)
Natalie Madalena
Sandra Wizgell
Shaheen Shehnaz Iqbal


Emma Kate (convenor)
Mary Elizabeth Burroughs
Kimberly Chandler
Bill Congreve

Emma Kate (convenor)
Mary Elizabeth Burroughs
Kimberly Chandler
Bill Congreve


Young Adult

Stephanie Gunn (convenor)
Katie Fielding
Amanda King
Gillian Polack

Stephanie Gunn (convenor)
Katie Fielding
Amanda King
Gillian Polack


Lyn Battersby(convenor)
Joy Lawn
Sarah Mayor Cox
Kerry Neary

Best Anthology/Collection

Best Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel


Kathryn Linge (convenor)
Sarah JH Fletcher
David McDonald
Rob Riel

Alex Adsett (convenor)
Andy Buchanan
Donna Maree Hanson
Bryce Hearse

Peter McNamara Convenors Award


Convenors from all panels


Bios 2013


Science Fiction: Novel

Lorraine Cormack enjoys reading across a wide range of genres, and discovering good writers who are new to her, as well as following the writings of established authors. She has been a book reviewer for many years, including most recently for the late lamented ASiF website. She is a founding member of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. She lives with her family.

Helen Merrick (convenor) is an SF/F critic and reader. Her book The Secret Feminist Cabal was shortlisted for a Hugo and won the William J Atheling Jr award. Other publications include the co-edited collection Women of Other Worlds and the co-authored Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway. By day she is an academic at Curtin University. By night she reads way too much speculative fiction, mostly for fun.

Alexandra Pierce is a teacher, a reader, a reviewer, and podcaster. She teaches history, and doesn't manage to read quite enough of it. She reads a lot of science fiction and not quite as much fantasy, loving both novels and the short form. She reviews on her own blog ( and occasionally at Strange Horizons, while she podcasts at Last Short Story and, more frequently, the Hugo-nominated Galactic Suburbia. She also manages to go see her husband, go to church, and spend some time on astronomy.

Keith Stevenson is a speculative fiction writer, publisher with award-winning Australian independent press coeur de lion publishing, past editor of Aurealis Magazine, and was a pioneer podcaster with his Terra Incognita SF show. He's passionate about science fiction and is working on his own two-book space opera while plotting the next big thing for coeur de lion.


Science Fiction: Short Story

Zara Baxter has been reading science fiction since she stumbled onto The Dispossessed in high school. She's worked for the past 15 years as a technology writer and editor, and spends her spare time involved in science fiction, fantasy and horror fandom and publishing — from attending conventions to writing short stories, reviewing, and producing very occasional fanzines. She attended Clarion South Writer's workshop in 2004, was a member (and sometime editor) of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine for six years, and still slush-reads for that publication. Zara has previous been an Aurealis Awards judge for Fantasy Novel.

Jason Nahrung (convenor) grew up on a Queensland cattle property and now lives in Ballarat with his wife, the writer Kirstyn McDermott. He works as an editor and journalist to support his travel addiction. His fiction is invariably darkly themed, perhaps reflecting his passion for classic B-grade horror films and ’80s goth rock. The co-author of the novel The Darkness Within (Hachette Australia), his most recent long fiction titles are the Gothic tale Salvage (Twelfth Planet Press) and Blood and Dust (Xoum). He lurks online at

Sally Newham is a long-time, passionate, critical reader and sporadic writer of speculative fiction who lives in a cottage by a creek with her son and her dog in Northern NSW. She has taught creative writing to kids, including editing an anthology of their work. She has an Honours degree in Creative Writing and loves the scholarly examination of texts through contemporary lenses such as ecocriticism, especially the work of a certain Mr. Shakespeare. Her first (and only, thus far) novel manuscript won a place in the 2010 Allen and Unwin/QWC Children's Literature Manuscript Development Program. She recently attended this event: and read her contemporary selkie tale 'My Flood Husband' which was published in Fablecroft's 2011 After the Rain anthology. She occasionally blogs here: and here:

Tania Walker is an author/illustrator and has been a lifelong friend of the written word since age four, when she first wrote her initials in Liquid Paper on the side of her parents’ house. Since then she’s embarked on a haphazard career of artistic and literary adventure, including: working for Walt Disney Animation Australia, designing naughty toys and novelties, creating art for poker machines, and coding websites for the university where she also studies. She’s had one short story published and hopes that reading a couple hundred more of the same might keep her out of trouble for a bit.


Fantasy: Novel

PR Khangure (PRK) is a long time speculative fiction enthusiast who regularly escaped to Middle Earth during primary school. Since then he's become more omnivorous in his spec-fic reading, enjoying and reviewing works in a wide variety of genres including fantasy, science fiction, horror, cyberpunk and paranormal romance. PRK is an IT Geek by day, which provides him the means to fund his spec-fic habit and devour whatever books he can get his hands on. Contributing to spec-fic in Australia, PRK runs conventions as a hobby, and is on the Board of the Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation. You'll usually find him roaming the corridors at Swancon and Continuum, or online via Twitter: @prkaye or his website:

Katharine Stubbs (convenor) is a reviewer for Hachette Australia and the fantasy writing website/forum Mythic Scribes. She currently writes, interviews and judges short stories for the website Shades of Sentience and has done so since its creation. Some day, Katharine would like to be a published author but until then, she is happy re-writing her many current manuscripts, reading as much as possible, and travelling.

Cathie Tasker has always been a devotee of speculative fiction. As a child she read Patricia Wrightson’s Down to Earth which made a strong impression on her and began her fascination with speculative fiction. She quickly read every speculative fiction title she could find and continues to immerse herself in the genre. A prodigious reader across many genres, she always chooses fantasy first. Cathie was once a public librarian, book club editor, fiction editor, children’s book publisher and she now works as a creative writing teacher and freelance editor. Cathie feels that she has found her calling as an editor and teacher: “I’m the Spock, not the Kirk”.

Bethwyn Walker is a writer, chronic student and avid reader. Originally a Psychology student, she spends (too) much of her time analysing mental states. Luckily, now she is a Writing student, she can write about them. Her first 'proper book' was Matilda by Roald Dahl, and she feels she has modelled herself accordingly (though, unfortunately, still no telekinesis). She can be found online at


Fantasy: Short Story

When Natalie Maddalena was twelve, she unofficially changed her middle name to Arlyah; and only later discovered that Alia — spelled differently but pronounced the same — means other, different or changed in Latin. It continues to be appropriate as it reflects her fascination with other worlds, different peoples and changed realities. Natalie is a freelance editor based in Canberra who spends her leisure time immersed in the fantasy worlds of books, table-top role play and computer games.

Among AA judges, Simon Petrie (convenor) is a bit of a recidivist, having previously served on the SF Novels (2008), Anthology / Collection (2009), and Fantasy Short Story (2010) panels. He's the author of over eighty published speculative-fiction short stories (many of which are found in his collection, Rare Unsigned Copy: tales of Rocketry, Ineptitude, and Giant Mutant Vegetables, available from Peggy Bright Books), the editor of four-and-a-bit issues of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and co-editor (with, respectively, Edwina Harvey and Rob Porteous) of the Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear and Next anthologies. Simon is a member of the Andromeda Spaceways publishing collective, the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild, and SpecFicNZ. In 2010 he scored a Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best New Talent, and the following year earned a coveted Dishonourable Mention in the Bulwer-Lytton Contest. He was born in New Zealand slightly over a half-century ago, and these days makes his home in Canberra.

Until May 2013 Sandra Wigzell owned a Dymocks Franchise but unfortunately was one of the many stores to fall foul of the strong Australian dollar and online buying of books. Until the closure of her shop, Sandra was the main bookseller at Supanova, working with them to promote Australian Authors to the readers if fantasy in each state. Sandra is currently working on a number of projects all connected with the book industry. Prior to buying her store Sandra was Editor of a bi-monthly craft magazine. She has had a colourful career spanning sales, marketing and training in both the craft industry and finance. Sandra has always been an avid reader and currently reads at 2000 words a minute. She reads across all genres but her favourite has always been fantasy. The escapism from everyday life and ability to create a whole new world has been the main attraction. Like wine Sandra just “knows what she likes” and doesn’t need a book to do more than make her want to turn the page to find out what happens next.

Shaheen Shehnaz Iqbal can’t remember a time when she didn’t love reading, and uses her book review blog to peddle her love to others. Speculating on SpecFic is dedicated to works of speculative fiction — fantasy, science fiction, magic realism, paranormal romance and much more. This is her first year judging for the Aurealis Awards, and she's very excited to be part of the team. When not reading (rare times indeed), she can be found completing a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics.



Mary Elizabeth Burroughs works as a mother and high school English teacher, which means she is a perpetual student of horror. Imagining what dark things may happen to those she cares about — and how best to prevent those things — is her profession. She is also a writer, having earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Mississippi and studied at Clarion Writers’ Workshop in UC San Diego. She can be found online @wondersofmaybe and the blog of the Sydney speculative fiction writers’ group, the Amberjacks ( 

Kimberly Chandler has always been caught up in other worlds, whether they be inside her own head or created by other people. She is a bookworm and an editor and a writer. She recently moved from Brisbane to Melbourne, a city that has always held her heart. Kimberly first fell in love with fantasy through Terry Pratchett and was lucky enough to be a judge on the Horror panel for the Aurealis Awards back in 2009.

Bill Congreve is an award winning writer, editor, book reviewer and independent publisher (MirrorDanse Books). He has published over forty short stories in a range of publications including Faerie Reel, Tenebres, Event Horizon, Terror Australis, Aurealis, Borderlands, Bloodsongs, and Cross-Town Traffic. His collection of vampire stories is called Epiphanies of Blood. His most recent collection is Souls Along the Meridian, published by Blade Red Press in 2010. He won the Peter McNamara Achievement Award in 2012 and has acted as judge for the Aurealis Awards on eight occasions. He works as a technical writer and editor in the emergency services sector. Bill can be found online at

Emma Kate (convenor) is a qualified teacher librarian with 10 years of experience who currently works in a middle/senior school library where she gets to read all the Young Adult she likes. Emma has been a previous Aurealis Awards judge for the Fantasy Novel and Horror categories. She can be found online as herself at @waqem and and as the editor of Elaia ezine at @Elaia_Ezine and She lives with her daughter in Southern Tasmania where she reads every night before sleep and sometimes instead of.


Young Adult

Katie Fielding is a dedicated (though currently dormant through motherhood) English teacher who aims to inspire those around her to a love of literature in its many and varied forms. Truly believing that the beauty and nuance of the written word is not limited to those that are carefully arranged into paragraphs and printed in books, she encourages those around her to explore and delight in words wherever they may be found: in poems, on billboards, on walls…  In the fleeting moments Katie has to herself, she has gained a Master degree in Education, writes teaching resources for Young Adult novels, is Treasurer of the English Teachers Association of WA, and tries (unsuccessfully) to finish reading the ever-increasing pile of novels building in her home. She is a very excited first time judge in 2013. 

Stephanie Gunn (convenor) is a writer, sometime reviewer and lapsed mad scientist (but her degrees sure look pretty on the wall). She has had several short stories published and is currently working on a contemporary fantasy novel. She has previously judged the Australian Shadows Awards and this is her third time judging the Aurealis Awards. She lives in Perth, Western Australia, with her husband and son, who loves all things Star Wars, despite being too young to have seen the movies yet (the geek starts young). She can be found online at

Amanda King hails from Colorado in the United States where she ran the events and marketing program at Boulder Book Store, one of the nations’ largest independent bookstores. While there, she founded the Teen Advisory Board. This group of 15 teens was part bookclub and part event coordinators. Mandy was a judge for the Cybils Award for two years in the Middle Grade Sci-fi/Fantasy and YA categories. Though her passport may be from the United States, she calls Australia home these days and currently works at the ACT Writers Centre. In her downtime, you can find her eyebrow deep in a book or climbing rocks.

Gillian Polack writes, edits, reviews, teaches, critiques and sometimes eats speculative fiction. One day she will learn how to breathe it. She has two novels published, has edited two anthologies, has written a speculative fiction-related food history volume for Conflux (the Canberra science fiction convention) and has sixteen published short stories. She has recently finished a science-fiction-based doctorate at the University of Western Australia. She is also an historian, with a PhD in medieval history and a strong interest in food history, matters Arthurian and almost anything that involves stories. This is Gillian's fifth term as an Aurealis judge.



Lyn Battersby (convenor) is a published short story author and editor. Her work has been nominated for several awards and has appeared both in Australia and Overseas. She has served as a judge for the Katharine Susannah Pritchard Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards and Aurealis Awards in the past.

Joy Lawn is fascinated by ideas and images and how authors and artists express these with truth and originality. She is a critic and columnist for The Weekend Australian and Books + Publishing and writes about children’s literature forAustralian Book Review and Magpies magazine. She blogs on literary fiction for ReadPlus and also writes teacher notes for professional organisations. Joy speaks about literature at conferences and other forums and some of her favourite times of the year are spent chairing sessions at writers’ festivals. Joy has an MA in Children’s Literature and Literacy, with a particular interest in speculative fiction. Her vision is to see children’s and young adult literature, including quality graphic novels, further recognised in the wider community.

Sarah Mayor Cox has worked as a primary teacher, teacher-librarian and literacy coach and currently lecturers in Literacy Education and Children’s and YA Literature at La Trobe University, Bendigo. In her spare time, when she’s not ‘talking texts’ with the four gorgeous men in her life (three of them sons), she is a member of the CBCA Victorian Branch Committe, is the President of the Central Victorian Local Council of ALEA. Sarah is a co-author of Success with Reading and Writing: Helping at-risk students 8-13 years, Teacher Manual & Student Log (Gaelene Rowe, Helen Lamont, May Daly, Debra Edwards and Sarah Mayor Cox) Dellasta 2000, reprinted 2001. Her first trade book is Pictures Telling Stories: The Art of Robert Ingpen (Ingpen, Lothian 2004). You can hear Sarah talking with Fiona Parker about books for children and YAs on ABC Local Radio 91.1 or follow her on twitter @BespokeShespoke. She loves to stitch and felt, and swim and catch-up with friends whenever possible but housework and weeding are definitely for the next life!!

During 30 years of involvement with children’s literature, Kerry Neary has twice been a judge for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards, a judge on the inaugural Eve Pownall Panel (1996), and a judge on the children’s fiction panel for the 2009 Aurealis Awards. In that time, he has reviewed children’s literature extensively, contributing to Queensland Education department publications as well commercial publications. Currently he reviews books for beginning readers on local community radio and maintains a book blog of annotations of those reviews, Books from the basement. In his reading tastes Kerry is not a ‘genre-phile’ as such; he enjoys any book that is well-written and memorable, and makes him think differently about things — at least until the next good book comes along.


Illustrated work/Graphic novel

Alex Adsett (convenor) is a publishing consultant and literary agent with over 15 years experience in the book industry. She offers commercial advice to authors and publishers, helping them review and negotiate their contracts, including print, ebook and self-publishing agreements. She has worked as a spec fic bookseller in Australia and the UK and has been an Aurealis Judge since 2007. As an agent, Alex is looking for great new works of genre — SF & fantasy, crime and romance and is passionate about the ongoing publication of Australian genre authors. She is often to be found on twitter at @alexadsett or via her website

Andy Buchanan is an award winning animator, artist, travel junkie and researcher from Melbourne. Andy has exhibited internationally and lectured widely on abstract animation, visual communication and sequential art. His current research concerns the role of the unconscious mind in the creation of art — some of which can be found at

Donna Maree Hanson has been writing, reading and reviewing in the genre for over ten years. As well as running a couple of Conflux science fiction conventions over the years, she has published short stories and a short novel, Rayessa and the Space Pirates. She is currently completing a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Canberra. She is very interested in graphic novels.

Bryce Hearse lives in Tasmania, having moved from the stinking heat of Adelaide about six years ago. He work in retail and has done so for over a decade. His spare time finds him reading a lot of graphic novels including Walking Dead, Y The Last Man, Chew, Preacher, Atomic Robo and many others. Bryce is a passionate fan of the printed word, and demolishes a book or three a week. He also likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.


Anthology and collection

A lifelong fan of speculative fiction, Sarah JH Fletcher is a freelance editor who has been working in the publishing industry since 2006. She began her career in-house in the children's and YA division of Random House Australia, moving to Murdoch Books to work on adult titles, then going freelance in 2011. Her clients range from multinational trade publishers to digital-first start-ups. She was a judge on the Collections and Anthologies panel for the 2012 Aurealis Awards.

Kathryn Linge (convenor) is a university academic and an avid reader. She was nominated for the William J. Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review in 2007 and has been an Aurealis Awards judge since 2008. Kathryn has won Ditmars for contributing the 2007 and 2010 Snapshots of Australian Speculative Fiction, in which up to 90 people in the Australian speculative fiction scene were interviewed within a single week.

David McDonald is a Melbourne based writer who works for an international welfare organisation. When not on a computer or reading a book, he divides his time between helping run a local cricket club and working on his debut novel. In 2013 he won the Ditmar Award for Best New Talent, and has been nominated for the William J. Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review three times. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies such as The Lone Ranger Chronicles from Moonstone Books and Epilogue from Fablecroft Publishing. David is a member of the Australian Horror Writers Association, The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, and of the Melbourne based writers group, SuperNOVA.

Rob Riel has been an avid reader of genre fiction since the days when a young bloke could buy the latest Asimov or Eddings novel for a dollar. He’s been a (very occasional) contributor of short fiction to the genre, and for some years managed the SFWoE competition in Australia. Rob has worked as a sailor, metallurgist, university lecturer in English, electron microscopist, and disability services specialist. Twelve years ago he established Picaro Press, which specialises in Australian poetry publication using print-on-demand technology; since then he’s published more than 300 titles, ranging from complete unknowns to David Malouf and Dorothy Porter. He has twice received Australia Council grants for New Work, and has published two books. Rob lives in Cardiff, NSW, with partner Judy Johnson, a successful poet and novelist.