This month, instead of moving straight onto another subgenre of speculative fiction I thought I’d shine a light on the most prestigious spec fic awards in Australia: the Aurealis Awards. The awards were first established in 1995 and, although the categories have changed a bit over the years, they have remained juried awards, with the winners judged by panels of judges. The Aurealis Awards have separate categories for Best Novel in each of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and YA, as well as short story and novella categories for those genres and categories for children’s fiction and graphic novels.

The finalists for this year’s Aurealis awards have just been announced and if you’re interested if a full list of the past winners, you can check out this PDF or click through the various links in this wikipedia entry, which also covers some of the history of the awards. Some of this year’s finalists have already been reviewed for the AWW Challenge, as have past years’ finalists and winners, but if you’re looking for reading suggestions, the list of present and past Aurealis Awards finalists is a good place to start.

Razorhurst Justine LarbalestierHere are some of the finalists and winners that have been reviewed for the Challenge. I’ve included the year of publication with each of them, so that, for example, the 2016 award is the one that will be awarded this year, in 2017.

Best Horror Novel

2014, finalist, Razorhurst by Justine Larbelestier reviewed by Angela Savage

2013, winner, Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near, reviewed by Cassandra Page

Best Science Fiction Novel

2016, finalist, Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, reviewed by HM Waugh

2015, winner, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, reviewed by Ju Transcendancing

2013, finalist, Rupetta by Nike Sulway, reviewed by Stephanie Gunn

vigilBest Fantasy Novel

2016, finalist, Vigil by Angela Slatter reviewed by me.

2015, finalist, Skin by Ilke Tampke reviewed by Julia Tulloh.

Best Young Adult Novel

2015, finalist, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, reviewed by Sheree Christoffersen 26 Letters

2014, winner, Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty, reviewed by Shaheen @ Speculating On Specfic

Best Collection

2014, finalist, The Bitterwood Bible by Angela Slatter reviewed by Lou Murphycherry crow children

2015, finalist, Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin reviewed by Glaiza – Paper Wanderer

Best Anthology

2016, finalist, Defying Doomsday edited by Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench, reviewed by Jessica White.

2014, finalist, Phantazein edited by Tehani Wessely, reviewed by Lisa @ Welcome to my Library

Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list and I urge you to peruse the full list of of past Aurealis Award winners and finalists.


Tsana Dolichva is a Ditmar Award-nominated book blogger who has been reading and enjoying Australian speculative fiction for as long as she can remember. She blogs her book reviews over at the creatively titled Tsana’s Reads. Along with Holly Kench, she edited Defying Doomsday, an anthology showing that people with disabilities and chronic illnesses also have stories to tell, even when the world is ending. In her spare time she is an astrophysicist.