|The Author Pontificates|
Photo Credit: Wei Li Jiang
A crowd of about 50 people turned up to celebrate the achievements of local speculative fiction authors Shelley Chappell, Tim Stead, fan writer Rebecca Fisher, and myself. It was a very pleasant ceremony, with organizer extraordinaire Helen Lowe giving a speech on the necessity of celebrating literature on a national and local level with all the changes going on in publishing and Christchurch city. There was also a brilliant display of posters and our works created by Peter Fitzpatrick which made us all look incredibly professional.
I was very humbled by all the kind words expressed in my direction, happy that so many people took the time to come along to our little ceremony, and I met so many new people interested in talking about my work. I'm so grateful to have people like Helen, SpecFicNZ, and a cast of volunteers committed to raising the consciousness of science fiction and fantasy in New Zealand.
Helen has also been incredible about promoting and documenting the event, from putting up profiles of each of the finalists and winners, to posting her speech, posting up photos and a write up, and being so enthusiastic about overseeing all the details. Her energy really made the event come together, shine, and go smoothly.
|The Authors Pontificates More To People Who Actually|
Want To Hear What She Says
Photo Credit: Wei Li Jiang
Best NEW talent is a very odd thing to wrap my head around, least of all it being my very first award win as a science fiction and fantasy writer. It doesn't FEEL new to me. I started this writing journey five years ago now, and that seems a long time considering all that's happened, and no time at all considering I'm just starting to "break in" to the industry now.In late 2009, a few perfect storms collided to set me on the journey I'm writing now. I had one of those existential "oh heck, what will I have to show for myself when I hit 40!" crises, I was starting to be around creative people who were prodding me to expand my creative horizons, and I was asking myself that age old question: what do I want to be when I grow up.Science fiction and fantasy has been a big part of my life since I was a teenager, and I was always a capable writer. But I'd never given myself the opportunity to find out if I was a GOOD one.Part of my journey has been retraining myself to understand success comes in many forms, and at ANY time in your life. There are many great authors who started and came to success later in life.At that time 5 years ago I was also contemplating what I wanted to SAY. My reading and influences and life were shifting. I wanted to write what I hadn't had the chance to read, whether by its absence, lack of availability, or through the history of women and LGBT authors who had been invisibilized. I actually had to spend a lot of those early times reframing and relearning the history of women, and feminism and it's intersections in science fiction and fantasy.I discovered the cleansing, creative anger of Joanna Russ. The gender bending, and gender breaking, work and history of James Tiptree Junior. I'll always be grateful that one of the first science fiction authors put in my hands was Anne McCaffrey. And I wouldn't be where I am today without the sublime works and encouragement of a diverse range of women and genderqueer authors and editors. Having Catherynne Valente and Nora Jemisin voice their belief in my abilities was an uplifting experience.I learned it was time to raise my voice. And that's what I implore of all authors and readers moving in from the margins: raise your voice in whatever way feels comfortable. Engage. Enjoy. We all have stories we're looking for, stories to tell. Story telling is not a finite resource.Words can be swords and silk, and they can be life and world changing. They can also make "puppies" sad – if they're yelling at you, or about your "kind", you know you're doing something right. And to that end – be safe. Be ready to stand tall, and if you can't, there's always someone else that has your back.Thank you all for coming today, and your support of local speculative fiction. We are small, but mighty.