Aurealis Judges Report 2001

the-wounded-hawk-1steditionNovel-length fantasy overshadowed shorter forms in 2001. Among the novels shortlisted were two sequels to former Award winners: Garth Nix’s Lirael, sequel to 1995 Fantasy & YA winner, Sabriel, and Juliet Marillier’s Child of the Prophecy, sequel to last year’s winner, Son of the Shadows. Both Nix and Marillier consistently produce high quality work. Lirael is rich in language and imagination, full of fancy, but also gifted with movement and ease of access. Child of the Prophecy is grittier at character level, but similarly commanding in its narrative style and vision.

Also noteworthy about this year’s shortlist was the inclusion of three books that could also be eligible in YA — Lirael, Sean Williams’s The Stone Mage and the Sea, a fresh and vibrant mix of the strange and the familiar, and Cameron Rogers’s The Music of Razors, an unrelentingly dark crafting of the disturbed and psychotic within a framework of the surreal.

The winning novel, however, was Sara Douglass’s The Wounded Hawk, a sequel to last year’s shortlisted The Nameless Day. The Wounded Hawk shows Douglass at her best, in full control of her historical setting and wielding her many characters and multi-layered plots with a clarity; purpose and transparency of text that sets her apart. As a writer, Douglass has never been content to rest on her laurels, and “The Wounded Hawk” shows the remarkable distance she has come since she burst on the genre scene with “BattleAxe”.

Judges: Peter McNamara, Helen Patrice, Ben Payne, Robert N Stephenson.