2014 Aurealis Awards Shortlists announced!

AA-logoSome familiar names were joined by some exciting new talents in the announcement of the shortlists for the 2014 Aurealis Awards, recognising the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.

Winners of the 2014 Aurealis Awards and the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony, on Saturday 11 April at the University House, Canberra.

How many have you read?


Fireborn by Keri Arthur

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfelds

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELthis-shattered-world

Aurora: Meridian by Amanda Bridgeman

Nil by Mouth by LynC

The White List by Nina D’Aleo

Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Foresight by Graham Storrs


Book of the Dead by Greig Beck

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

Obsidian by Alan Baxter


The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim

Afterworld by Lynnette Lounsbury

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty

Clariel by Garth Nix

The Haunting of Lily Frost by Nova Weetman

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfelds

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTIONslaves-of-socorro

Slaves of Socorro: Brotherband #4 by John Flanagan

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee

The Last Viking Returns by Norman Jorgensen and James Foley

Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

Sunker’s Deep: The Hidden #2 by Lian Tanner

Shadow Sister: Dragon Keeper #5 by Carole Wilkinson


Left Hand Path #1 by Jason Franks & Paul Abstruse

Awkwood by Jase Harper

“A Small Wild Magic” by Kathleen Jennings

Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye by Tim Molloy

The Game by Shane W Smith

Frané Lessac, author of A is for Australia, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Frané Lessac

author of A is for Australia

Ten Terrifying Questions

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in New Jersey and grew up in a small town outside of New York City. From my bedroom window, I could see the famous skyscraper skyline. As a child I spent weekends exploring museums and galleries. I had many pets including snakes, a monkey and a camel.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve, I wanted to be an artist. I explored New York’s Greenwich Village with my snakes entwined around my arm. I loved watching the painters wearing their black berets and the poets reciting verse with the audience snapping their fingers in approval.

At eighteen, I moved to California and lived in a beach house in Malibu while studying Ethnographic Film at UCLA. My aim was to make films about ‘primitive’ tribes before they were swamped by western culture.

At thirty, I was living on a small Caribbean island. I realized I could share stories about people from around the world with words and art. I began painting the lush scenery, flora and fauna, and the colonial architecture of the island. I approached numerous publishers before one accepted my first book – The Little Island

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

Illustrator: Frané Lessac

At eighteen I believed in fate and now I believe we can influence our destiny.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Rousseau and Matisse. Gauguin’s island sojourn, Matisse’s intricate patterns, colour and composition and Rousseau’s primitives. Looking back, I feel blessed that I had access to seeing their originals in person:
Gauguin: The Seed of the Areoi
Matisse: The Goldfish
Rousseau: The Gypsy

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to visual artists, why did you choose to illustrate books?

I continue to create large-scale oil paintings based on my travels for exhibitions, but when I realised I could share stories about people from around the world with art, I was inspired to write and illustrate books for children.

6. Please tell us about your latest published work…

When I came to Australia over twenty-five years ago, I fell instantly in love with the country and way of life. I found the Australian light and landscape a brand-new challenge. What inspired me most was the freshness of the scenery, the unusual flora and fauna and colour – the red ochre of the earth and the uniquely blue sky. The love of our country is what ultimately drove me to create A is fore Australia – A fantastic tour.

Grab a copy of Frané’s new novel A is for Australia here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after viewing your work?

A is for Australia is a celebration of Australian places and culture. I hope people can explore and discover why Australia is one of the most amazing countries in the world. Perhaps become intrigued to visit some of the places in the book.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of art and why?

Children and their art as a whole, they just do it! They’re brave and they don’t doubt their talent.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

My main ambition is to inspire people to paint, read, think and dream.

10. What advice do you give aspiring illustrators?

First of all build up a portfolio showing a diversity of style and subject matter. Include animals, children, and anything else you love to draw.  Send out sample postcards and A4 tear sheets to publishers, editors and art directors. Update the images and resend at least once or twice a year. Research what’s appropriate for their publishing lists. Join organizations like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). It’s the best way to keep your finger on the children’s book publishing pulse.

Frané, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of A is for Australia

A is for Australia

by Frané Lessac

A factastic tour of Australia from A to Z with award-wining author and illustrator Frane Lessac.

What is the Fremantle Doctor? Where is Qui Qui? And why are some islands named after days of the week? You’ll uncover these exciting facts when you explore the A to Z of Australia – from Bondi to Kakadu and all the way to Taronga Zoo. Discover why Australia is one of the most amazing countries in the world!

About the Author

Frané Lessac is an author and illustrator of international renown, having over forty children’s books published throughout the world. She was born in the USA and lived on the Caribbean island of Montserrat and London before moving to Australia. Frane has contributed her distinctive paintings to many critically acclaimed children’s picture books, including My Little Island, a Reading Rainbow feature book. Also, On the Same Day in March was named a Top Ten Science Books by ALA Booklist.

 Grab a copy of A is for Australia

The year is about to end and so are these awesome competitions!

Wouldn’t it be great to start the New Year with your 2015 reading list sorted with a Leatherbound Classics library or your audiobooks sorted with a range from Bolinda, or with Dinner for 2 at Quay, The Rocks in Sydney or win a Kookaburra ball and mini bat signed by Glenn Maxwell?  Let’s not stop there, look at the world with new eyes with three books signed by Brian Cox or spend your summer with a handy North Face backpack.


Order a Bolinda Audiobook by December 31st and you could win 1 of 8 signed Bolinda prize packs! The prize pack includes the following Audiobooks (all MP3 ready):

Cleanskin Cowgirls by Rachael Treasure, Loyal Creatures by Morris Gleitzman, The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss, Courting Trouble by Kathy Lette, Sapphire Skies by Belinda Alexandra, Quick by Steve Worland, The Road Back by Di Morrissey, South Of Darkness by John Marsden, The Great Zoo Of China by Matthew Reilly, The 52-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths.

Terms and Conditions apply.

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Order a Leatherbound Classic by December 31st and go in the draw to win a Classics library!

Terms and Conditions apply.

Order Organum by December 31st and go in the draw to win a Dinner for 2 at Peter Gilmore’s award-winning restaurant Quay, at The Rocks in Sydney, valued at $520! The Dinner includes a 4 course menu with wines to match and is valid until the end of 2015.

Please note: subject to reservation availability.

Flights and accommodation are not included.

Terms and Conditions apply.

Buy any book in the Glenn Maxwell series by December 31st and go in the draw to win a Kookaburra ball and mini Kookaburra cricket bat signed by Glenn Maxwell!

Terms and Conditions apply.

Order Human Universe by December 31st and go in the draw to win a signed prize pack!

Terms and Conditions apply.

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Order Walking Home by December 31st and go in the draw to win a North Face backpack!

Terms and Conditions apply.

We have plenty more prizes up for grabs! Check them out here.

Did you enter our Wiggles or Matthew Reilly competition?

We have two awesome prizes to give away, a Matthew Reilly signed backlist pack and tickets to see The Wiggles live in concert. Are you a winner? Drum roll please…

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All you had to do to go in the draw was order The Great Zoo of China.

The lucky winner is…

L.Gann, Kilmore East, VIC

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All you had to do to go in the draw was order a book from our Wiggles series.

The lucky winners are…

T.S.Powell, Noble Park, VIC
I.Sirigos, Rhodes, NSW

Deck the halls with books this Christmas, check out our massive Christmas Gift Guide,
with something for everyone!


Did you enter our Wordy Women, Karen Rose or Michael Connelly competitions?

In October and November we had some AMAZING prizes to give away, 1 of 3 Wordy Women packs (with books by Fiona Higgins, Kylie Ladd and Maggie Joel), 1 of 4 signed Karen Rose backlist pack and 1 of 3 Harry Bosch backlist packs. Are you a winner?


All you had to do to go in the draw was order either Mothers and DaughtersWife on the Run or Half the World in Winter.

The lucky winners are…

T.Eldridge, Colac, VIC
A.Newton, Hamilton, NSW
T.Hendriks, Kyneton, VIC

CloserThanYouThink _KarenRose_PromoBanner_Med

All you had to do to go in the draw was order Closer Than You Think.

The lucky winners are…

S.ODea, Yeppoon, QLD
H.Jones, Geelong, VIC
L.Whitney, Rosetta, TAS
J. Kell, Floreat, WA
L.Bawden, Eaton, WA


All you had to do to go in the draw was order Michael Connelly’s The Burning Room.

The lucky winners are…

K.Frazer, Collaroy Plateau, NSW
G.Taylor, Wheelers Hill, VIC
P.Metcalf, Nedlands, WA

Deck the halls with books this Christmas, check out our massive Christmas Gift Guide,
with something for everyone!


Did you enter our Harry Potter, Ever After High, Awful Auntie or Oxford Children’s competition?

During November we had 4 awesome kids prizes to give away, 1 of 2 Harry Potter sets, 1 of 2 Ever After High Dolls, an Oxford Children’s pack and 1 of 15 Demon Dentist packs! See if you are a winner below.


All you had to do to go in the draw was order a Harry Potter Children’s Edition.

The lucky winners are…

M.Cullen, Carlton, NSW
M.Newstead, Mornington, VIC


All you had to do to go in the draw was order a book from the Ever After High series.

The lucky winners are…

K.M.Gough, Berriedale, TAS
R.Paul, Brisbane, QLD


All you had to do to go in the draw was order David Walliams’ Awful Auntie.

The lucky winners are…

S.Murray, Carlsruhe, VIC
C.Friday, Canberra, ACT
M.Martin, Warrawee, NSW
S.Holdom, Flynn, ACT
R.Warren, Cohuna, VIC
A.Eggleton, Castlecrag, NSW
C.Leach, Bendigo, VIC
J.Ruffles, Port Douglas, QLD
B.McCauley, Belconnen, ACT
K.Arnold, Tapping, WA
K.Kaderavek, Greenwich, NSW
P.Lawrie, Melrose, SA
M.Clapton, Miranda, NSW
M.Haywood, Forest Hill, VIC
S. Turnbull, Roma, QLD


All you had to do to go in the draw was order a book from our Oxford Children’s series.

The lucky winner is…

D.Munro, Sippy Downs, QLD

Deck the halls with books this Christmas, check out our massive Christmas Gift Guide,
with something for everyone!


Did you order a book featured in the YA November Buzz? You may have won a copy of Sara Shepard’s new book, The Perfectionists.

Did you know that by subscribing to our newsletters you don’t just get the latest news and reviews on the hottest titles around, but the chance to win sweet sweet prizes?

The YA November Buzz, had a fantastic giveaway, with 1 of 5 free copies of Sara Shepard’s new book, The Perfectionistsup for grabs. All you had to do to enter was buy a book featured in the buzz between October 23rd and October 30th.

And the lucky winners are…

M.Thomson, Boambee East, NSW
S.Glase, Port Macquarie, NSW
F.Sherry, Camberwell, VIC
K.Simpkins, Bilambil Heights, NSW
E.Brakey, Aberfoyle Park, SA

9781471404344The Perfectionists

By  Sara Shepard

In Beacon Heights High, Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by it. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted. Until now, that is.Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Caitlin and Parker seemingly don’t have much in common.

Each has their own friends, dramas and goals. But one thing they do share: they all have a deep hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. And they all think it’s about time he paid for what he’s done. They come up with the perfect murder – a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s all wishful thinking…until they wake up one morning to find that their wish has come true. Nolan has been killed – in exactly the way they planned. The thing is, they didn’t do it. So who did?

About the Author

For as long as she can remember, Sara Shepard has been writing. However, when she was young she also wanted to be a soap opera star, a designer for LEGO, a filmmaker, a claymation artist, a geneticist, and a fashion magazine editor when she grew up. She and her sister have been creating joint artistic and written projects for years, except they’re pretty sure they’re the only ones who find them funny.

She got her MFA at Brooklyn College and now lives outside Philadelphia, PA with her husband and dogs. Her first adult novel is called The Visibles/ All The Things We Didn’t Say.

Sara’s bestselling young adult series, Pretty Little Liars, is loosely based on her experiences growing up on Philadelphia’s Main Line…although luckily she never had any serious stalkers. The series has also inspired the ABC Family television series of the same name.

Not a winner? Don’t sweat it! We have a ton of prizes that you could win in time for Christmas!



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