Indie authors shortlisted for Aurealis Awards; UK Selfies Awards winners announced
There are a handful of self-published authors on the shortlist for this year’s Aurealis Awards, presented annually to the best Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writing. Meg Grace is up for Best Fantasy Novel for her self-published book Supermums—And So It Begins, described as ‘A laugh out loud celebration of friendship and motherhood with a love triangle on the side for good measure.’ Meanwhile, Alan Baxter is shortlisted for Best Collection for The Gulp, a set of stories that take place in the isolated Australian harbour town of Gulpepper. Two pieces from the collection, ‘Mother in Bloom’ and ‘The Band Plays On’, are also up for Best Fantasy Novella and Best Horror Novella respectively. To see the full shortlist, visit the Aurealis Awards website here. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Canberra on 28 May.
Overseas, the winners of the Selfies Book Awards, presented by UK trade publication BookBrunch to the best self-published adult novel, children’s title and biography, were named at the London Book Fair on 5 April. Ivan D Wainewright won the adult fiction category for The Other Times of Caroline Tangent, Hannah Peckham won the children’s category for Conker the Chameleon (illus by Stephanie Jayne), and Hannah Powell won the biography category for her memoir The Cactus Surgeon: Using nature to fix a faulty brain. Each winner receives £750 (A$1320). Visit BookBrunch for more information about the awards and winning titles.
ASA’s new non-profit law firm for writers
Last month Australian Society of Authors (ASA) CEO Olivia Lanchester spoke to Independent Publishing about the work the ASA does to advocate for and support writers. Now, the ASA has announced the launch of Authors Legal, a non-profit law firm providing low-cost legal advice to members.
To be headed by managing lawyer and director Victoria Chylek, the firm will provide legal advice on trade publishing, ghost writing, distribution, copyright and agent-author agreements.
Authors Legal will assist members from first-time authors to established writers. ‘Authors Legal is a unique law firm,’ the ASA said. ‘It operates exclusively in the publishing space, combining both legal specialisation and industry knowledge at an affordable cost.’
Click here for more information about the ASA and Authors Legal.
Petition to shorten Kindle returns date
A UK-based campaign calling for Amazon to cut its ebook returns window has garnered more than 42,000 supporters since its launch earlier this month.
Amazon’s current policy allows customers to receive a full refund within 14 days of purchasing an ebook, even if they have read every word. The Change.org petition argues the retailer shouldn’t be offering refunds on ebooks to customers who have finished reading. Authors don’t receive royalties on returned titles.
The Society of Authors is also calling on Amazon to cut its ebook returns window to 48 hours, and authors, including Jeanette Winterson and Ian Rankin, have said it’s a growing problem. Another author claimed that more than 100 copies of their book were returned in March, compared to fewer than 10 in the first two months of the year.
According to the Times, the trend is driven by TikTok users. Videos about returning ebooks—including tutorials on how to return books after reading them—have been viewed more than 17 million times.
Upcoming writers’ festivals
The programs and dates have been announced for several upcoming major writers’ festivals across Australia.
The Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) has revealed its 2022 program, which runs from 16–22 May under the theme ‘Change My Mind’. The 25th SWF program features nearly 400 guests appearing at 234 events either via live stream or in person. International guests include South African 2021 Booker Prize winner Damon Galgut, US writer Hanya Yanagihara, and American human rights lawyer and activist Derecka Purnell, as well as writers Rebecca Solnit, Claudia Rankine, Julian Barnes, Sarah Winman, Torrey Peters, Johann Hari, Art Spiegelman and Jennifer Egan. Local guests include Liane Moriarty, Emily Bitto, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Michelle de Kretser, Nardi Simpson, Christos Tsiolkas and Hannah Kent, among many others.
On 10 May, the program for this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival—which runs as a hybrid in-person/online event from 15–25 June—will be unveiled via livestream from the Wheeler Centre. Likewise, the Canberra Writers Festival, running from 10–14 August, reveals its program of more than 60 live events on 29 June.
The Best Australian Yarn short story competition, worth a total of $50,000, is a new award presented by the West Australian and the Minderoo Foundation. The competition is open to all writers over the age of 12 and stories between 1500–2500 words long, and there’s $30,000 up for grabs for the overall winner. Entries close on 31 May.
Entries for the NZ$10,000 Sargeson Prize—New Zealand’s richest short story award—are open until 30 June. Last year’s prize attracted 850 entries, and there’s also a category for secondary school students.