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Hi Tansy, Alex and Alisa

Congratulations to Galactica Suburbia on your 75th podcast and to everyone shortlisted for the second annual Galactic Suburbia Award.

What a lovely surprise to be nominated - and to win! - this year's award for "activism and/or communication that advances the feminist conversation in the field of speculative fiction in 2012". I'm thrilled that Australian Women Writers 2012 Challenge has been recognised in this way.

As Tansy points out in the latest Galactic Suburbia podcast, the AWW challenge isn't just for Speculative Fiction: it's for all genres. Nevertheless, the wide range of reviews linked to the 2012 challenge has drawn attention to many talented Australian Fantasy and Science Fiction writers, and helped to create a community of readers who have been willing to read outside their comfort zones - and that includes me!

I'm usually a crime/psychological suspense reader but, through last year's challenge, I discovered lots of fantastic, new-to-me SpecFic and Fantasy authors, including Tansy, Margo Lanagan, Meg Mundell, Kim Westwood and Claire Corbett. Others have moved higher on my "to be read" pile, including Fiona McIntosh, Kate Forsyth, Kim Falconer and especially Andrea K Höst.

For the challenge this year I also intend to make a special effort to read some Australian horror - does that count as speculative fiction? - as horror doesn't appear to have had attracted as much attention as the other sub-genres. I've been compiling a list of authors who might fit into this category, including Angela Slatter, Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren, Kylie Chan, Ambelin Kwaymullina and - an author shortlisted for this year's Galactic Suburbia Award - Kirstyn McDermott. If you know any more, I'd love to hear about them.

Apart from discovering new authors, other wonderful aspects of the AWW challenge have been to become acquainted with the output of small publishers, like Twelfth Planet Press, and to discover so many Australian book bloggers who specialise in Spec Fic. These include Tsana from Tsana's Reads, Sean from Adventures of a Bookonaut, and Shaheen from Speculating on SpecFic, all of whom have joined the AWW team to help promote the challenge this year.

So far 370+ people have signed up for the 2013 challenge, and I hope we'll get many more - especially male readers. (This year participants don't have to pledge to write reviews, though it's great if they do.) Maybe some of your listeners will sign up to read and review books by Australian women? There are plenty to choose from on the AWW SpecFic Review Listings site.

Finally, I just want to say - yes, this is sounding like an acceptance speech! - the success of the 2012 challenge wouldn't have been possible without all the 350+ people, mostly women, who read and reviewed last year. Of special note is Shelleyrae of Book'd Out blog, who not only managed to read and review a staggering 100+ books for the challenge, but who also interviewed authors, hosted give-aways, created the AWW badge and curated the AWW GoodReads group. If anyone deserves to share this accolade, it's Shelleyrae. I'm thrilled that she is also a member of the AWW team for 2013.

Postscript: Wouldn't it be wonderful if a SpecFic novel won the inaugural Australian women-only Stella Prize this year? My personal tip would be Margo Lanagan's Sea Hearts. What would yours be?

Thanks Elizabeth

URLs for links:

Speculating on SpecFic: http://speconspecfic.com/

Adventures of  Bookonaut: http://bookonaut.blogspot.com.au/
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