Christchurch Word Festival – Events of Note

The Christchurch Word Festival is on August 25-29 this year.

Our attention has been drawn to two specfic items on the programme:

Speed Date a Speculative Fiction Author“, featuring Graci Kim, Cassie Hart, Sascha Stronach, and Karen Healey

The Stardust Cabaret“, including Sascha Stronach and AJ Fitzwater, with “star-stuff infused performances”

A huge shout-out to AJ Fitzwater for passing the information on to us. Not to mention being a guest curator for the event.

Book Launch Event – Cassie Hart

In the last post we asked for more events, and look what turned up from Cassie Hart (thanks Cassie!)

Something sinister lurks in the Benedict homestead. Jena’s life changed almost twenty years ago. The night her family burned. The night the birds came. Jena is about to learn there are some family secrets that come back to haunt you.

Join author Cassie Hart (Kāi Tahu) for the launch of Butcherbird, a supernatural thriller set on a farm in Taranaki.

Launch: 5:30 pm, Friday 13 August
Level 2, 18 Brougham Street, New Plymouth

The event is free (hosted by Cassie & Huia Publishers)- you can RSVP on Facebook.

Library Interview with Lee Murray

Wellington City Libraries have written about their interview with award-winning NZ author Lee Murray. The online interview will debut on the 25th of July at 7.30 pm. You can read about the interview and other stuff about Lee on their Library Blog article. There is lots of good stuff there including info about other awards Lee is up for that we haven’t featured in our Awardwatch segment.

We feature Lee a lot on this blog. There is a simple reason for that- Lee has been doing so much great work. However we are sure she would be the first to agree with us that we want to celebrate all New Zealand’s talented voices and their own great work. So if you have anything to share with us, please drop us a line at sffanz.news@gmail.com. We don’t post about product (book) releases but anything else like launch events, readings, press articles etc are all good as long as there is a local connection and it is somehow sf/f/h related.

Buy a plate made by Neil Gaiman

The following came in from the Gallery Manager of The Quarry Arts Centre in Whangarei. Some of you might be interested…

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Fantasy fans! You have the opportunity to own an artwork by Neil Gaiman AND supporting an amazing art centre in Northland!

Neil has created two beautiful pieces of artwork for The Great Plate ’21 – a fundraiser for The Quarry Arts Centre in Whangarei. What an amazing quality of author to help us out.

Each year artists decorate ceramic plates which are auctioned through TradeMe, and this year we asked Neil, as he is living in NZ. The results were two plates – one ‘The Moon’, by Neil, and ‘Upside Down Gingerbread Man’ by 5 year old son Ash with Neil’s help.

Both pieces are genuine, with Neil’s signature on the back. You can bid on this plate via TradeMe from Thursday 29th July – Search “Great Plate – Neil”.

All proceeds go back into running the Quarry Arts Centre, in particular, funding our children’s art programs so they are accessible to more people.

Read more here: https://quarryarts.org/great-plate/

Awardwatch – 2021 Ngaio Marsh Awards

The Ngaio Marsh Awards are the New Zealand crime fiction award. Under normal circumstances we wouldn’t post their awards info, but have a look at the 2021 long list. Look at that first entry – The Stone Weta, by Octavia Cade (Paper Road Press). That very same work is on the Sir Julius Vogel Awards ballot.

Congratulations – Way to cross genres Octavia.

Awardwatch : Aurealis Awards

The 2020 Aurealis Awards were announced July 8 by the Continuum Foundation. The award recognizes the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.

Every time the Aurealis and Ditmar award winners are announced we trawl through the winners looking for expat Kiwis making good over the Tasman. Sometimes we don’t see any as is the case in this year’s Aurealis awards (awarded this year for work published last year). But then looking through the writer bios we see this phrase “I am a New Zealand-based writer…”. So yes, Nikky Lee was born is Western Australia but we can claim her – right? Especially as her name appears on the winners list twice!

Congratulations to Nikky and all the winners.

2021 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement

CreativeNZ sent info about these awards to SFFANZ…

The annual Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement recognise New Zealand writers who have made a notable contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. New Zealanders are invited to submit a nomination.

We have been a little skeptical in the past when it comes to literary awards and how they treat our sf/f/h genre. Its hard to say exactly why, but this award feels a little different. Perhaps its worth nominating one of our high profile genre writers. It helps that it is free and you don’t have to join any group to nominate.

If you are interested in nominating somebody, there isn’t much time. All the dates, forms and email addresses are on the CreativeNZ site.

A quiz from galaxies far away

The Battle of the Galaxies quiz is part of the Wellington on a Plate festival. Its being held at the Foxglove Bar & Kitchen 33 Queens Wharf, Te Aro, Wellington on 3 & 4 August.

Here is the blurb…
It’s time for a showdown of galactic proportions…
In which universe does your loyalty lie, are you Team Spock or is Darth your daddy? Foxglove and Gee Quiz are proud to strike back in 2021 bringing you a quiz from galaxies far away, a showdown between Star Wars and Star Trek superfans.

Whet your whistle in Mos Eisely Cantina while the food replicator whips you up dishes from culinary worlds like Endor, Naboo, Vulcan and Remus. Have you ever tried Petrokian Sausage? All teams answer questions from both universes, including specialty bonus food and beverage rounds to test your knowledge of culinary delights that are out of this world. Every ticket includes 2 drinks, canape and shared table banquet dishes from all corners of the universe!

Book your six person team ($450) or book a single ticket ($75) and declare your loyalty and we’ll match you up with like-minded quizzers.

A couple of notes – we have delayed posting until Welly was out of level 2. Events like this would be cancelled at Level 2 Covid alert level or higher.

This item is part of the Wellington on a Plate festival. We couldn’t spot any other fan-specific items, but there is a lot of culinary activities likely to be of interest – keep an eye out for Chocolate and Beer related items.

Updated Link for SFFANZ One-Day Event

If you were planning to attend the SJV Awards and AGM One-Day Event, please note that the registration link on the web site and in other communications was incorrect. This is the correct link.

If you have registered using the link before now, we suggest you re-register with the new link (even if you got a confirmation email).

SJV Awards and AGM One-Day Event

SFFANZ is pleased to announce it will hold a one-day event on August 7, 2021 at the West Plaza Hotel, Wellington.

While planning is still preliminary, it’s expected the day will start with meet and greet, followed by panels. The SFFANZ AGM will be held at 2pm, followed by a discussion on the future of conventions and fandom in New Zealand. The Sir Julius Vogel Awards for 2021 will be presented in the evening.

Registration for the day is free and open to all fans, but only members of SFFANZ may vote at the AGM.

Awardwatch : Australian Shadows Awards

A few weeks back we highlighted how many Kiwis there were on the shortlist for the Australian Shadows Awards. Well now, the Australasian Horror Writers Association have announced the winners and I’m sure none of you will be surprised to see that New Zealanders feature there as well. So, huge congratulations to Tabatha and Lee (and of course all the other winners as well).

NZSA New Zealand Heritage Literary Awards

The New Zealand Society of Authors (Canterbury) have sent us a press release to say that the NZSA New Zealand Heritage Literary Awards will open for entries on the 1st June 2021.

Now this has caused a bit of discussion at the SFFANZ virtual office. On one hand, this news blog has a rule about only posting material that has a specific sf/f/h connection. This press release does not mention our genre (or any genre) at all. On the other hand, they did specifically send it to us and we do know that a lot of writers read this blog.

Here is the key text from the press release.


Books published between 1 June 2020 and 1 August 2021 and linked to New Zealand’s heritage, can be submitted for fiction book, non-fiction book, children’s book, and a book written in Te Reo Maori. Books that have only been published digitally will not be accepted. There are two online entry categories for short prose and poetry.


The competition opens on 1 June and closes on 1 August 2021. All entries should have some relationship with the theme of the Christchurch I Heritage Festival 2021: People and Place – our stories revealed. Full submission details along with the entry form, fees and terms and conditions can be found at: www.nzsacanterburv.wordpress.com

Are you interested? Some more information of interest…

We had a look at some of the previous winners and the judges for this competition. There aren’t any genre names that we recognise. The names we do recognise seem to come from a set with a very narrow idea of what constitutes literature. Perhaps its time to change that and expose them to some of our considerable local talent.

The link provided takes you to a password protected page. Another one of our rules is that we don’t promote “member-only” items. But the press release says nothing about it being restricted in any way. Another puzzle. There is an email address (info@nzauthors.org.nz) however.

The press release came through as an image file. We had to OCR it to give you the above text. It makes you wonder why they made it so hard for us to transcribe to here.

So you can see why it caused discussion. Feel free to contribute – use our facebook feed if you want to comment. Remember that if you get this by email or RSS etc that there is a lag of a few hours before it shows up on fb.

Final Reminder – Sir Julius Vogel Awards Voting

Voting in the Sir Julius Vogel Awards closes at 8pm* Monday 31st May. If you haven’t already sent your vote in, now is the time. Do that last minute check to ensure you have voted in all the categories you want to (you don’t have to vote in all of them. Make sure you have filled in the identity fields on the form – ballots that don’t clearly have these verification fields will not be counted. And yes, they are checked.

Your ballot has to reach the organisers by the time above, so if you are posting your ballot, you probably should have sent it by now. It you get it in before the fist mail collection on Friday you might make it – but then again maybe not. Perhaps best to email.

*Well yes, obviously that is 8pm New Zealand Standard Time (UMT+12)

Awardwatch : 2020 Bram Stoker Awards Winners

Back in February we posted about the Bram Stoker Awards ballot. We highlighted Lee Murray appearing twice on that ballot.

Well guess what?! The final results are out and Lee has won in both categories she was nominated (Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection and Superior Achievement in an Anthology). Congratulation Lee.

One Humanity Writing Collective

The following came into SFFANZ. It appears to be some sort of international collaborative writing project which includes New Zealand. A bit of quick checking seems to show that it is not a phishing scam. So if it is the sort of thing that may interest you, then go ahead and look at the web site. However, if you are interested we do strongly urge you to do your due diligence. Please make sure you clearly understand the underlying motivations of the organisation and be very clear who owns the rights to anything you contribute.

My name is Fabrice Guerrier, I am the founder of Syllble, a speculative fiction house for writers and creatives. Syllble is collaborating with The Innovation Station: Creative Industry Lab at the U.S Department of State on a program called the One Humanity Writing Collective. The program will convene fiction writers from Alaska, Hawai’i, and Puerto Rico with fiction writers from Australia and New Zealand to write stories together inspired by their shared experiences and ideas. The one-year program will ask these writers to jointly create stories based on monthly prompts related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and global challenges.

Syllble is accepting applicants to this program (in the locations listed above) on Syllble’s website here: https://syllble.com/onehumanity/. The website also contains information regarding the goals and timeline of the program that will be important for applicants. The deadline to apply is June 3, 2021, and successful applicants will be notified by mid-June prior to the collective’s first virtual meeting in July.

Anime Candlelit Concert in Auckland

Listen to iconic anime tracks under the glimmer of candlelight.

Another opportunity to hear film & TV soundtracks performed live. This time the genre is Anime and the music comes from a string quartet. The following is what the web site blurb says…

Experience the magic of a Candlelight concert in Auckland, featuring the most popular anime songs. From Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon, to Naruto and Studio Ghibli, you´ll fall into a realm of tranquility in almost complete darkness. And tickets are live now!

The show blends the world of anime with the gorgeous sounds of exemplary string quartet, all in a spectacular setting. On July 10, prepare to unwind for 65 minutes surrounded by the spellbinding atmosphere of candles.

It promises to be an unbeatable experience presenting the most enchanting sounds from Japanese animation. Talented string quartet artists will be performing some incredible soundtracks, using violins, a viola and a cello. Songs include Pokémon, Demon Slayer, Tokyo Ghoul and many more favourites.

Awardwatch : 2020 Australian Shadows Awards finalists

The finalists for the 2020 Australian Shadows Awards have been announced. You can see the full list of finalists on their blog.

The thing is, as we have pointed out before, these awards are labelled “Australian” but they are awarded by the “Australasian” Horror Writers Association (the AHWA). And they are quite clear that this means New Zealand authors and works are eligible. So there should be lots of Kiwis on the ballot – and there are. You will find names such as Lee Murray, Dan Rabarts,Tabatha Wood and Cassie Hart on the list. And there are others who are Aussie based who qualify as Kiwis.

Congratulations to all the finalists – even the Aussies.

Klingalong: The Sci Fi and Fantasy Singalong

Klingalong: The Sci Fi and Fantasy Singalong may be this galaxy’s first-ever singalong event in fictional languages, and certainly the first one to be accompanied only by an accordion. Sing pop classics by Split Enz, Queen, Dolly Parton, Ginuwine, the Pixies, Lauryn Hill, and more, translated into Klingon (Star Trek), Quenya (Lord of the Rings), and Dothraki (Game of Thrones) by your host, singer / accordionist and Master of Linguistics Emma Wollum.

No previous knowledge of any of the fictional languages is required, but enthusiasm is encouraged! Shows are on 21 & 22 May – booking and pricing information on the NZ Intl Comedy Fest site.

Postscript…Emma says that if a good size group wants to go along together, she can organise a group discount. If that is you, drop us a line at the sffanz news address and we will put you in touch with her.

Walk of Wonders

Our intrepid reporter trawls through event listings looking for events that have some sort of SF/F/H connection that you may enjoy. This time she came across the sentence “This year wanderers will follow an 11 year old girl on her adventure into a parallel time and dimension.” – that sounds like science fiction – right? The sentence came from the listing for Walk of Wonders, Black Barn Vineyards, Havelock North – why don’t you read the full listing. The event is in early August – you can also read its website.

The event is supposedly part of the Hawke’s Bay Light & Fire Festival. An event we cannot find a web site to link for you – just some mentions of a 2020 event. We can only find the Walks of Wonder event in 2021. Note that if this interests you, book quickly – some nights are already booked out.

Voting is open for the SJV awards (plus Voters Pack)

Voting is now open for the 2021 Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Voting closes on 31st May 2021. All the information or links to it can be found on the Sir Julius Vogel Award Finalists announcement. However, we have included some key links for you below…

This is the link to the voting form pdf download. Note that the behaviour of this link will vary according to the way your browser has been set up. For example, if you get a blank page, it may be that the pdf file is already in your download directory.

The voting form pdf contains instructions on how to fill out the form. You can edit it directly on your device or print the form and fill it in manually. You can fill the ballot form in electronically and email it to us at sjv-awards@sffanz.nz, or print it and mail it to: SJV Votes, P.O. Box 13-574, Johnsonville, Wellington.

We know many of you have been waiting for the SJV Voters Packet containing samples of the nominated works. It is now available – read the instructions here.

In previous years, you could vote or get the voters packet if you were a member of the national convention (you will find mention of that in some of the links). However there is no such convention this year, so the only way to partake is to be a member of SFFANZ. Have a read of the joining instructions or read our previous post, but ignore any stuff about paying by cheque – that option is about to cease to exist.

Information about the award ceremony will be available shortly.