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I’ve been a bit quiet again about these parts but last weekend C and I made a whirlwind trip to Sydney for the Aurealis Awards. I’m so glad C came with me. I’m just not enjoying flying as much these days as I used to and it made such a big difference to have C along. And I’ve found the perfect way to get myself to sleep on the plane – bring enough entertainment (knitting, podcasts, reading) to fill the entire trip. I fell asleep before takeoff from Perth on Friday night at midnight (hadn’t been sleeping during the week) – I even complained to C that they didn’t do the safety demo and he just looked at me like I was odd. On the way back I slept for about half, still not bad for me. But still what use is three hours sleep for me?

After the red eye, we arrived at the hotel at 7am and were unimpressed not to be able to check in. We headed off for breakfast with C’s sister and a couple of friends down to Ripples at Luna Park. So we’d been there an hour and were taking in the gorgeous Sydney Harbour Bridge up close and personal. Breakfast was lovely and it was nice to just hang out and talk weddings and things. And then we headed back to the hotel, via a little chocolate shop to run an errand for Terri. Sadly the shop did not have what she was after but all the chocolates looked so delectable I grabbed a few things for the little party I knew we’d have later that night when Tansy and Alex arrived.

We got back to the hotel at midday and our room was still not ready. By this stage, I was pretty ragged and just wanted my room so I could nap before the awards. We waited in the lobby, I fell asleep a couple of times, watched the staff behind the desk not be there pretty much most of the time. Eventually we got to check in at 1.45pm and I’d just showered and laid down when Tansy rang me to tell me she’d arrived.

We’d booked a suite for the weekend – two rooms and lounge and stuff for Galactic Suburbia to hang out. We knew we’d chat long into the night! I’d organised strawberries dipped in chocolate to be there on arrival as a surprise but the hotel stuffed that up too. Bit of a shame. Tansy and I caught up a bit before Alex arrived and then it was all on! We grabbed dinner, with Emma who we found at some point, before we glammed up for the awards. (I took no photos)

It was fantastic to see everyone start to filter down into the lobby to head off to the Independent Theatre. Lots of hugs and squeals and quick catch ups.

The awards were nerve wracking! I had three speeches I was in charge of … should the occasion arrive! Some of the categories were excruciating when I had several horses in the race – I love all my babies equally! I did get to accept Sue Isle’s Aurealis Award for “Nation of the Nights” from Nightsiders for best Young Adult Short Story.

And then, Galactic Suburbia was awarded the Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award for Excellence. I can’t really capture the feeling of sharing such an honour with Tansy and Alex. We were so blown away for the podcast to be recognised. As we stood there sort of processing it all, Tehani read the most amazing few words about the project:

The Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award for Excellence is awarded at the discretion of the convenors for a particular achievement in speculative fiction or related areas. This award may take into account a body of work or achievements over a number of years; it can also be for a work of non-fiction, artwork, electronic or multimedia work, film or TV, or that which brings credit or attention to the speculative fiction genres. The award was originally known as The Convenors’ Award for Excellence and was renamed in 2002 after Peter McNamara (d. 2004), publisher, editor and the original Aurealis Awards convenor, shortly after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Galactic Suburbia (GS) is an Australian feminist speculative fiction podcast, hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts (produced by Andrew Finch). Since March 2010, GS has been providing fortnightly podcasts covering SF news, culture and opinion, and in particular discussing these topics from a feminist point of view. Of particular note is the “Spoilerific Book Club”, which has produce in-depth and critical analysis of books ranging from Joanna Russ’ How to Suppress Women’s Writing, to the hugely popular YA dystopia ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy. The GS team produce serious critical analysis, whilst still keeping the topics entertaining and accessible.

Galactic Suburbia was one of the first Australian podcasts of SF literature and culture, and has inspired many new Australian podcasts, including The Coode Street Podcast, The Writer and the Critic, and Bad Film Diaries, Live and Sassy and The Book Nut. Thus GS has founded a new arena for SF criticism and review in Australia, as well as bringing a new international audience to Australian writing, not only promoting works by Australian authors but also highlighting feminist issues within the global speculative fiction scene and thereby encouraging vital debate and discussion among community members.

It’s still not really sunk in for me, I guess. To be recognised for excellence for our little podcast is just amazing. It just makes us so happy that people tune in every fortnight, and shout at the podcast, and laugh with us and cry with us and eat cake with us and send us feedback. Being part of Galactic Suburbia – not just getting to mull over and dissect ideas and issues with two intelligent, thoughtful women – but seeing a community grow around it has just been one of the most positive and uplifting projects I’ve ever been involved with. Hearing from other people that things we’ve discussed have made them think about how they are in the world, how they read and how they interact with text and film and audio and the world, and in some cases *changed* that  – I mean, that’s the best outcome you can ever hope from the work you do. And it’s shown to me that you *can change* things, you *can make a difference*, even “just” three women talking into their laptops in their bedrooms on a Thursday night. And, that change is possible? I mean, that means *anything* is possible.

If you listen to the podcast, I want to say thank you. Thank you for listening and for hearing. Thank you for reminding me that fighting the good fight is the point. And that one person *can* make a difference – what’s the quote? – that’s the only way it’s ever been done.

After the awards, we went to the after party. I have to admit I didn’t overly mingle. I spent a lot of time catching up with TPP peeps. It’s so rare to see them in person and we have things we’re bubbling on the back burner! And then at midnight, we whisked away for more chatting in the room – intersectionality, awards and all sorts of thing!  Luckily for me, C was watching a rugby game which started at 1am so I was actually in bed before he was done!

And then up at 8 or something stupid with 4 hours sleep. I think I had 10 hours over the weekend. But I was not going to miss the awards breakfast – it’s the point of going, don’t you know! And it was awesome! We had the most amazing chats with Kirstyn and Cat and Kaaron. I forgot to go back up to the room and a grumpy C eventually came down to tell me I had to check out :)

And then we headed off to do more family stuff. The weekend was a great opportunity for me to meet C’s other side of his family and we spent Mother’s Day lunch with his aunts and grandmother. I had a really lovely time and it was a really nice way to end the weekend. After lunch we caught the bus to the airport and headed home.

I’m not sure I’m a big fan of the whirlwind one day on the other side of the country and back thing, especially when I’ve got a high sleep debt but it was worth it. Great to see everyone in a non con setting, a bit more laid back and a lot of fun.

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  • By Paul (@princejvstin) on 20 May 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I love that harbour bridge…because it reminds me of one of the bridges back in NYC

    And congratulations to you, Tansy and Alex. :)

  • By AlisaK on 20 May 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I think I know which bridge you mean!
    Thank you :)

  • By Alex on 21 May 2012 at 5:39 am

    Well said indeed, Alisa.

  • By Sean the Bookonaut on 21 May 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Yeah congrats Team GS.

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