Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What the Hemming!

The Norma K Hemming award was set up to acknowledge excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in Australian speculative fiction writing . It sounded like a great idea and I submitted two brilliant stories from X6 (the World Fantasy Award winning 'Sea-Hearts' by Margo Lanagan and the Aurealis Award winning 'Wives' from Paul Haines) for the inaugural award in 2010. Both stories were amazingly written and tackled head on just the sort of issues that the Hemming was set up for. Both of these worthy stories missed out to the truly execrable The Gene Thieves by Maria Quinn. See my review to understand just how bad a piece of writing this actually was. This year's shortlist for the Hemming Award has just been released. While I know some of the works listed and many of the writers are noteworthy, there seems to be a huge gap in the shortlist given the focus of the Hemming. Where on earth is Kim Westwood's gender bending noir thriller The Courier's New Bicycle? This piece of work has already picked up a mention on the Tiptree Honours List (as did Paul Haines's 'Wives') and been shortlisted for Aurealis and Ditmar Awards. The organisers and judges of the Hemming Awards have (as they did in 2010) missed out big time and done another disservice to the credibility of the Hemming Award.

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