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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.

All judges for the Aurealis Awards will accept works electronically and will each nominate their preferred electronic file format. We strongly encourage submission of files in epub and mobi formats, although rtf, doc and pdf files may be accepted.

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

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


2014 Judging Panels

Judging Coordinator: Tehani Wessely



Short Fiction

Science Fiction

Miffy Farquharson (convenor)
Emma Kate
Emmet O'Cuana

Rob Riel (convenor)
Cathie Tasker
Shauna O'Meara
Daniel Keioskie


Katharine Stubbs (convenor)
Bethwyn Walker
Gillian Polack
Lorraine Cormick

Sean Wright (convenor)
Deb Gates
Helen Petrovic
Rowena Specht-Whyte


Zara Baxter (convenor)
Craig Hildebrand-Burke
Adrik Kemp
Maree Kimberley

Young Adult

Stephanie Gunn (convenor)
Katie Fielding
Joy Lawn
Helen Merrick


Sarah JH Fletcher (convenor)
Sarah Mayor Cox
Jordi Kerr
Sue Bursztynski

Best Anthology/Collection

Best Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel


Kathryn Linge (convenor)
Sandra Wigzell
Natalie Maddalena
Jamie Marriage

Robert Hood (convenor)
Alan Baxter
Tania Walker
Lee Battersby

Convenors Award for Excellence


Convenors from all panels

Bios 2014


Science Fiction: Novel

Miffy Farquharson (convenor) has been working in libraries for 25 years across the primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors. She was the CBCA Vic Branch Book of the Year judge in 2008-2009, WAPBA judge in 2011-2012 and has two previous stints as an Aurealis judge and panel convenor. Miffy has a particular interest in speculative fiction and books for young people in general, and is looking forward to reading entries in the 2014 awards.

Emma Kate is a qualified teacher librarian with 15 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 partner and daughter in Southern Tasmania where she reads every night before sleep and sometimes instead of.

Emmet O’Cuana is a freelance writer and podcaster based in Melbourne. He has written for magazines Filmink, Film International and Home Brew Vampire Bullets, and can also be found online at Hopscotch Friday and Sequart.

Emmet’s published prose includes his horror short Tiresias: a 'blood punk' fantasy, in Aurealis #59. His comics work includes two stories illustrated by Paul Briske in Decay #17 (Cairo Road) and the Dark Oz "Retro Sci-Fi" special (The 1,001 Deaths of Bill Maturin). In addition Emmet has written the story Syrup and Sawdust with Dan Gilmore, for Matthew Hoddy's Beer Anthology and an online comic for Outré Press titled The Suburbs, with art by Sean Rinehart. Emmet was the former host of Beardy and the Geek, a podcast dedicated to Australian comics, and a recurring guest on Joy 94.9’s Sci-Fi and Squeam and SYN Radio’s Arts Mitten.

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:


Science Fiction: Short Story

Dan Keioskie has been reading Sci-Fi since the age of five, starting with a Doctor Who novelisation of Carnival of Monsters which is still kept in a box in the garage along with several other old novels that his wife thinks he has thrown away. Dan has worked mainly in the banking field for most of his working life with brief stints as a turf farmer and charity supervisor. Two years ago he published a Superhero/Comedy novel co-written with his brother Luke, mainly as an excuse to get together and make fun of the 60 years of comic book knowledge they have between them. His reading habits are ingrained with an average of one novel a week, mainly in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genres but will give anything a go as long as it is well written. He believes that if a book is worth reading, it is probably worth re-reading. Dan lives on the Sunshine Coast, QLD, with his wife Neena, three children Varni, Calix and Yevae, two snake-killing cats and a dog that could care less what happens as long as he is fed.

Shauna O’Meara is an artist, writer and veterinarian based in Canberra, Australia. She recently won the 2013 Writers of the Future contest and her short stories have appeared in L. Ron Hubbard presents Writers of the Future volume 30; Midnight Echo 8; the “Australian Security Nightmares” anthology and the CSFG anthology: “Next”. She recently completed the artwork for a short comic commissioned by Midnight Echo magazine and has contributed the cover and interior art to several Australian speculative fiction anthologies including: “In Fabula-divino”; “Gold Coast Anthology: Undertow” and the CSFG anthologies: “Winds of Change” and “Next”. She has just completed her first novel – a science-fiction crime novel set in a post-global-warming America – and has a head full of tales and drawings just waiting to be committed to print.

Rob Riel (convenor) 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 an 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, disc jockey, and disability services specialist. Thirteen years ago he established Picaro Press, which specialises in Australian poetry publication using print-on-demand technology; since then he has published more than 300 titles, ranging from complete unknowns to David Malouf, Dorothy Porter, and Bruce Dawe. He has twice received Australia Council grants for New Work, and has published two books of poetry. Rob lives in Cardiff, NSW, with partner Judy Johnson, a successful poet and novelist.

Cathie Tasker is addicted to reading and her favourite genre is speculative fiction. Since she first walked into the adult section of the library, she has been reading short stories and a wide range of genre and literary fiction. She has always focused on short stories in her life and work, and as an undergraduate she wrote a dissertation on the format. During her time at HarperCollinsPublishers she edited several short story anthologies, other short stories for the Masterpiece series and worked with leading authors to turn short stories into children’s books. Cathie was once a public librarian, book club editor, fiction editor, children’s book editor and publisher and is now a creative writing teacher and freelance editor. Cathie feels that she has found her calling as an editor: “I’m the Spock, not the Kirk”.


Fantasy: Novel

Lorraine Cormack is a Canberra book reviewer. Sheenjoys 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 is a founding member of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. 

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 sixth term as an Aurealis judge.

Katharine Stubbs (convenor) has been a book reviewer for a couple of years now (most recently on her own book blog (, but has also recently completed a year as a judge of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. Some day, Katharine would like to be a published author but until then she is happy rewriting her many manuscripts, reading as much as possible, and travelling. This is Katharine’s fourth year as an Aurealis judge, and her third as convenor.

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

Deb Gates has been an avid reader of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Spec Fic since she first read the Lord of the Rings at age thirteen. Her interests largely lay in picking out editorial mistakes in the books she reads, and she has done some continuity editing and proofreading for a couple of Aussie authors. Deb hopes to continue editing into the future. She is currently in the third year of a BA majoring in

Literature and Composition and Communications, focusing on creative writing.When not riding a dragon, practicing magic or caring for two demanding pixies and a knight in shining armour, you’ll find Helen Petrovic either devouring or creating fantasy worlds. An avid fantasy reader for as long as she can remember, Helen reviews speculative fiction, especially big fat fantasy, on her blog High Fantasy Addict.

Helen is currently working on her own fantasy novel, and received a Highly Commended award in the Australian Society of Author’s Emerging Writers’ and Illustrators’ Mentorship Program 2013-14 and was a Top 10 finalist in ‘Pitch Your Book Australia 2013’. Helen is also a qualified English teacher. This is her first year judging the Aurealis awards.

A lawyer by profession, Rowena Specht-Whyte is adept at manipulating language. Working in commercial litigation, she has extensive experience writing, analysing, editing and reviewing academic and legal works. Despite spending long days buried in legal texts, Rowena has always sought the challenge of speculative fiction, predominantly fantasy and horror, reading in every spare moment. She is a singer and songwriter, performing in the progressive rock band “never”, among others, and continues writing and performing original music. In 2012, she had her first short story published and she is currently working on more short stories and a novel in the fantasy and horror genres. Rowena was a judge for the Aurealis Awards in the Horror and Fantasy categories for the years 2009 and 2010 respectively. In 2014, she is looking forward to her All Access Pass to the best fantasy short fiction Australia has to offer.

Sean Wright (convenor) was born in the town of Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land, though most of his life has been spent in Alice Springs.  

A graduate of NTU he has spent his adult working life as a security guard, a martial arts instructor, a trainer in an international gaming company, a teacher librarian and a teacher for hire.  

Sean is more well known in the Australian speculative fiction community as a book reviewer, interviewer and podcast producer.  He has maintained his thrice Ditmar nominated review blog The Adventures of a Bookonaut  since 2010.

His audio interviews with Australian and International Speculative Fiction authors can be found at Galactic Chat (which he now produces), a sister podcast to Galactic Suburbia.

You can follow him on Twitter as @seandblogonaut.



Zara Baxter (convenor) has been reading horror ever since she can remember. Her older sister stapled together the pages of a short story in an R Chetwynd-Hayes collectionso she couldnt read about sex at an impressionable age, and she devoured James Herbert's The Rats well before reaching high school. She's worked as a University lecturer in microbiology, a technology writer and editor, and a webmonkey, and wonders what on earth her next career might be. She attended Clarion South Writer's workshop in 2004, was a member (layout geek, slushwrangler and sometime editor) of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine for six years, writes whenever she gets a spare minute and wishes she had more time to cook. Zara has previously been an Aurealis Awards judge for Fantasy long-form and Science Fiction short stories.

Craig Hildebrand-Burke is a writer and teacher from Melbourne. He currently blogs for Momentum, contributing on books, writing, film and television. His short stories have been published both in print and digital, and writes reviews, opinion pieces, and other bits of writing in a variety of places and publications. He teaches English, Literature and Creative Writing to secondary students, and has been a participant in both the Digital Writers' Festival and the Emerging Writers' Festival discussing genre fiction in the digital age, and the future of teaching writing to students. He tweets from @hildebrandburke and can also be found at

Adrik Kemp has been reading since before he can remember, in fact has photographs of himself in kindergarten forgoing nap time for more reading! Through his life so far, his interest in reading has grown to include a similar obsession with writing. He currently reads and reviews submissions for Aurealis magazine as well as for an online writer's community, Tabula Rasa. He holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney and uses this to inform his intuition for original and innovative fiction.

Maree Kimberley is a writer from Brisbane, Australia. She has a Bachelor of Creative Industries and an MA (both majoring in creative writing) from Queensland University of Technology. She is in the final stages of her creative-practice led PhD, which examines young adult fiction through a posthuman framework. She has published articles, short stories, flash fiction and a children’s novella and her work has appeared in academic and literary journals as well as in a number of anthologies. She is a member of the Australian Horror Writers Association and is currently on editorial teams for the speculative fiction magazine, Aurealis, and the literary magazine, Pank. Her obsessions include neuroscience, the grotesque, bizarre and somewhat strange and she also has a thing for circuses, so it’s no surprise that the one book Maree wishes she’d written is Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love.


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, teaches a first year Communications unit at Curtin University, and tries (unsuccessfully) to finish reading the ever-increasing pile of novels building in her home. She is a very excited to once again be judging in 2014.

Stephanie Gunn (convenor) is a writer and lapsed (mad) scientist. She has had several short stories published and is currently working on too many contemporary fantasy novels. She has reviewed for Horrorscope and Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, judged for the Australian Shadows Awardsnd this is her fourth time judging the Aurealis Awards. She lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband, son and requisite cat. She can be found online at

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 for Australian 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.

Helen Merrick is an academic, reader and fan of all things speculative fiction. She writes non-fiction about SF/F, feminism and sustainability. Her publications include the co-authored  Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Haraway and the Hugo-nominated The Secret Feminist Cabal.  



Sue Bursztynski is a Melbourne writer, author of ten books for children and teens and passionate reader of children's and YA books. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Ford Street Publishing, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Pearson, Peggy Bright books, Specusphere and Fablecroft. Two of her books were Children's Book Council of Australia Notable Books, Potions To Pulsars: Women Doing Science, a children's history of women in science, and her YA novel Wolfborn. She has recently edited an issue of ASIM. During the day, she is a mild-mannered teacher and librarian, whose blog, The Great Raven,, reviews children's, YA and genre fiction books.

Sarah Mayor Cox has worked as a primary teacher, teacher-librarian and literacy coach and currently lecturers in Literacy Education, Children’s and YA Literature at La Trobe University, Bendigo; and is a member of the Room21 Educational Consulting group. In her spare time, when she’s not ‘talking texts’ with the four gorgeous men in her life (three of them sons), she is the president of the Central Victoria Local Council of ALEA, and the convenor of the Bendigo Writers Festival schools’ day ‘Text Marks the Spot’ (2012-14). Sarah is an enthusiastic and vocal member of her local CAE book group (which she joined to force her to read at least one adult book a month) but ironically she rarely finishes the monthly book because of all the other reading she does. You can hear Sarah reviewing some of these children’s and YA texts with Fiona Parker on ABC Central Victoria Local Radio 91.1 or follow her on twitter @BespokeShespoke. She loves to stitch, felt, cook, swim, travel and catch-up with friends whenever possible but housework and weeding are definitely for the next life!!

A lifelong fan of speculative fiction, Sarah JH Fletcher (convenor) 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, working on books for young people – particularly the ones featuring dragons. Sarah's experience also includes commissioning and developing picture books for Koala Books, an imprint of Scholastic Australia. She was a judge on the Collections and Anthologies panels for the 2012 and 2013 Aurealis Awards.

Jordi Kerr is a freelance writer with a passion for YA novels, films, and fantasy. By day she works at the Centre for Youth Literature, helping young adults engage with books, stories, and writing; and doing the bidding of Inky, overlord By night she goes on covert adventures, sometimes through the pages of books, sometimes through the streets of Melbourne. She leaves a trail of words wherever she goes, so that she can find her way home again.

You can learn more about her freelance work at, or find her on Twitter @WritingJordi.


Illustrated work/Graphic novel

Lee Battersby is the multiple award-winning author of the adult novels The Corpse-Rat King and Marching Dead from Angry Robot Books, and the upcoming children's novel Magit & Bugrat (Walker Books) as well as over 70 stories in Australia, the US and Europe. His comic book cred comes from a series of mini-comics and single-panel gag comics created at the dawn of his career, before he realised he was crap at drawing and slightly less crap at the writing part. Lee blogs at the Battersblog ( and lives online at the rarely-updated Batthaim ( His amazingly original Facebook and Twitter handles are "Lee Battersby". Ask for him by name.

Alan Baxter writes dark fantasy, horror and sci-fi, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. He is the author of the dark urban fantasy trilogy, Bound, Obsidian and Abduction and the dark urban fantasy duology,RealmShift and MageSign. He co-authored the short horror novel, Dark Rite, with David Wood. Alan has more than 50 short stories published in a variety of journals and anthologies. Read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook, and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything.

Robert Hood’s (convenor) long career in the fantasy/horror/SF/crime genres has always had a dark, even monstrous edge. With over 160 stories published in major magazines and anthologies worldwide, many re-printed in his three collections to date, he has been called “Australia's master of dark fantasy” as well as “Aussie horror's wicked godfather”. He has also produced numerous children’s books, most notably the Creepers series with co-author Bill Condon. His published novels include Backstreets, the Shades series, and most recently a high fantasy epic, Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead. He co-edited the popular Daikaiju! series of giant-monster themed anthologies and several other genre-related ones. His extensive website can be found at and he has an award-winning and irregularly updated film and miscellaneous weirdness blog called Undead Backbrain. He has never written a comicbook but has read a hell of a lot of them.

Tania Walker is an illustrator by trade and an author for fun. Keen to explore every facet of her trade, she worked for Walt Disney Animation and subsequently wandered through a varied career creating art for toys and novelties, games, textbooks, comics, poker machines, TV ads, book covers and more. Pursuing a side interest in writing, she recently published her first short story, and is currently developing a fantasy comic.

In meatspace you’ll find Tania Walker living in beautiful Hobart with her husband and cat; in cyberspace she lives mostly on Twitter at @TaniaWalker, and uploads sketches at and finished art at She loves hiking, whisky, comics and tabletop RPGs.


Anthology and collection

Kathryn Linge (convenor) is a university academic and an avid reader. She was nominated for the William 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.

Natalie Maddalena is an author and freelance fiction editor. She spends most of her time in fantasy worlds – her own or other people's – and is a bit sad that no-one has invented dragons or working wands yet in this one. But her children still believe in the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, so that is her contribution to keeping magic alive. She loves judging the Aurealis Awards because she gets to see the breadth and depth of Australian writing talent and is introduced to amazing authors she might not otherwise find.

Jamie Marriage is an internationally published Australian CyberPunk author and science fiction nerd with a taste for the dangerous and obscene aspects of life. His work ranges from the sarcastic to the satirical. Links to his work can be found at Science fiction, bizzaro, mystery and crime have all been pinned and distorted by his erratic pen strokes. Since 2010 he has been reviewing books and blogging for young adult book project as well as adult fiction at and other reviews on a freelance basis.

Sandra Wigzell from June 2013 till August 2014 submerged herself in organising the inaugural Book Expo Australia. Her main for the expo was to promote Australian Authors and publishers and to re-engage people with reading and books, no matter the format or genre. Prior to this she had a diverse career as Owner of a Dymocks Franchise, craft magazine editor and marketing manager in the finance industry. For two years she was the main bookseller at Supanova and worked to promote Australia Authors of fantasy and sci-fi around Australia. Sandra feels her main fame to claim is, that she can read (when not distracted by her four dogs) at 2000wpm.