Tag Archives: Thoraiya Dyer

Free John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer Roundup eBook

I love the idea of the “John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer” for two reasons. One, because I am sure it is of great encouragement to the nominees, but also because it give you a an idea of writers to watch out for when looking for something new to read. For those of you unaware of the award, this is from Wikipedia:

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is an award given annually to the best new writer whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the two previous calendar years.[1] The prize is named in honor of science fiction editor and writer John W. Campbell, whose science fiction writing and role as editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact made him one of the most influential editors in the early history of science fiction.[2] The award is sponsored by Dell Magazines, which publishes Analog.[1] The nomination and selection process is administered by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) represented by the current Worldcon committee, and the award is presented at the Hugo Award ceremony at the Worldcon, although it is not itself a Hugo Award.[3]

Of course, sometimes it is hard to keep up with what’s happening in the spec fic world. That’s why it is great that Rampant Loon Press have put together an anthology of stories by eligible authors so you can get an idea of who you might want to nominate. And, even better, it is FREE here!

There are a number of Aussies who are eligible for the world, and two are featured in the anthology – Thoraiya Dyer and Nick Tchan. I also have a feeling that Jo Anderton and Patty Jansen are eligible, as well! It would be wonderful to see an Aussie walk away with this, we have so many deserving writers.

Thanks to Alex Kane for the heads up about this – and he is also eligible and would be a very deserving nominee.

Have I missed any Aussies? Feel free to make suggestions in the comments.




Wednesday Writers: Thoraiya Dyer

While I was wandering the floor of the dealer’s area at Worldcon (and it was massive – I could have spent more money on books and paraphernalia than I spent on alcohol and that is saying something) I was handed a brochure for what looked like any writer’s dream – a cruise of the Bahamas that doubled as an ongoing writer’s workshop with some of the big names in the field. Anyone who knows me has probably realised I am big fan of anything to do with boats so I was immediately in love with the idea. It didn’t hurt that the brochure was filled with short stories by the instructors and demonstrated their eligibility to be teaching writing in the most definitive of manners.

Sadly, it was not to be, but the concept is amazing! So, I was extremely intrigued – and jealous – to hear that Thoraiya had gone on the cruise and immediately asked her if she wanted to write about it for the Wednesday Writers segment. I was hoping that I might get it sometime next year, but by the next day I had something in my inbox! But, that is Thoraiya – she does not muck around. I first met her at my first con as a writer – the Natcon in Perth where she won the Ditmar for Best New Talent. I haven’t been around long enough to know if the Ditmars are like the various sporting clubs I have been involved in, where winning Best New Talent usually dooms you to either fading into obscurity or under achieving in the following year. If so, Thoraiya has certainly bucked that trend, as she has continued to establish herself as one of Australia’s best with increasing international recognition of her incredible talent.

Despite her achievements, Thoraiya remains one of the kindest and most humble people you can imagine. Her first thought when invited to the Aussie Snapshot, for example,  was to ensure that others she felt were deserving of notice were being included. So, it’s hard to hate her too much for getting to go on this amazing cruise! This is the last Wednesday Writer for the year, so as the segment sails off into the sunset of 2012 please enjoy (and envy) Thoraiya’s account of her adventure!

Cruisers of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Colombian Emeralds

Workshops for SFF writers come in all shapes and sizes, from two-hour sessions at a local convention to the formidable six-week boot camp of Clarion. As the author of ‘The Company Articles of Edward Teach,’ though, how could I resist Arc Manor’s inaugural Sail to Success  workshop, an intense week of writing and publishing knowledge-bombardment aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean?

Earlier in the year, fellow Aussie writer Cat Sparks went to Key West to get critiqued by her idol, The Atwood, and chow down on Key Lime Pie. I got very excited at the thought of going to the Bahamas to get critiqued by one of my idols, Nancy Kress, and then washing away the potential pain of my ineptitude with conch fritters and rum cake, long before it became a financial possibility (thank you, amazing, supportive husband!)

And there was no pain, but I dragged my new friends across Freeport and Nassau in search of conch, anyway (thank you Eva, Jeff, Gama and Francesca!)

We boarded the ship in Miami on a Monday afternoon, and classes started that evening with the retreating city lights still glittering on the western horizon. Norwegian Sky was scheduled to visit three of the Bahamas’ seven hundred islands, but our timetables had us in the Hawaiian-themed conference rooms every morning at 8am, and not finishing until 11pm. The sea-caves of New Providence, the Garden of the Groves in Freeport and the white, palm-speckled sands of Great Stirrup Cay as seen from parasailing altitude, I experienced only in my imagination, so on the one hand I approve of the fact that Arc Manor is considering a longer cruise for next year’s workshop.


On the other hand, I’m glad *not* to have skipped any classes. In 2008 at the Brisvegas Writer’s Festival, Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta advised a crowd of eager hopefuls to always consider the source; that is, only take writing advice from people you actually want to be like.

I considered the sources aboard the Norwegian Sky to be exemplary. Do I want to write like Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress? Have Rebecca’s business smarts and Kevin’s productivity? Hone a sharp editing mind like Toni Weisskopf’s? Be able to perfectly match fiction with markets like Eleanor Wood? Maintain Jack Skillingstead’s humility and common sense, pay homage like Paul Cook to the writers that came before me, and bubble up with creativity and enthusiasm like Francesca Myman and Shahid Mahmud?

Yes, yes, yes. And if you answered yes, too, then next year’s cruise may be for you.

Now I’m back in Australia with not just one professionally dissected piece of writing, but two – the opening of my *other* novel-in-progress having been slapped into shape by Toni. I also return with a new critique circle of fellow students, our unbreakable bonds forged by the shared pain of Norwegian Sky’s PA system, with the loathed and feared Game Master extolling, day and night, the virtues of bingo, limbo and the detection of fake Colombian emeralds.

Although our time in the Bahamas was limited, there were snatches of it I’ll never forget. Brown pelicans and blue-within-blue Caribbean water. Children holding hands to walk home from school, traffic jams, decrepit, fenced buildings and a lone, wandering dog. Bleachers set up by the side of the road, all ready for Junkanoo. The best grilled snapper I’ve ever tasted, with plantains on the side. Sea-grapes growing in coral grit and the gleam of a gold doubloon on the sea-bed, yellow fish-schools spiralled around it.


I’m sure a Bahamian story idea is waiting to pounce on me when I least expect it. In the meantime, I have a story in December’s Clarkesworld and my Twelfth Planet is coming out early next year. Life is good! Now excuse me while I go eat my rum cake (I had to throw out two pairs of dirty socks and all my toiletries to fit souvenirs in my luggage, bwahaha) and if you want to find out which member of our party ended up eating a conch penis, you’ll just have to keep an eye on Locus 🙂

Thoraiya Dyer’s work has appeared in Apex magazine, Cosmos, Nature and Redstone SF. Her fantasy story, “Fruit of the Pipal Tree,” was the winner of the 2011 Aurealis Award in its category. An original collection of her short fiction, “Asymmetry,” will be published in 2013 as part of Twelfth Planet Press’ Twelve Planets Series. You can find her website here.


2012 Aussie Snapshot: Thoraiya Dyer

Thoraiya Dyer’s work has appeared in Apex magazine, Cosmos, Nature and Redstone SF. Her fantasy story, “Fruit of the Pipal Tree,” was the winner of the 2011 Aurealis Award in its category. An original collection of her short fiction, “Asymmetry,” will be published in 2012 as part of Twelfth Planet Press’ Twelve Planets Series. You can find her website here.

It’s been a pretty exciting year for you so far, with both local recognition in the form of Aurealis and Ditmar nods, and internationally with your name appearing on the Locus Recommended Reading List and some
overseas professional sales. How difficult is it for an Australian to get noticed on the international stage?

Erm. Thank you for that tough first question! I think it’s difficult. Winning an Aurealis Award does not get you snapped up by an agent the same way that winning a Nebula does. But I don’t have an alternate reality me (perhaps me from a reality where Dad didn’t get kicked out of the USA for working on a student visa, and got his degree from the Northrop Aeronautical Institute instead of going to Sydney University? OMG, alternate reality me would have a Californian accent and hate vegemite!) to compare with, so I can’t be sure that’s it. What if I’m just writing the wrong things?

I always feel like I’m writing the wrong things. Like, I’ll get to those things I should be writing after I’m finished writing this less appropriate and yet utterly absorbing thing that’s inside me and I have to get out of the way first.

Wrong things aside, I think no matter where I was from, I would worry about finding that balance between deep personal experience and the universal human experience. If you can nail that, you can get international notice. You can get international critical notice like Margo Lanagan, and/or you can be wildly beloved by hordes of international fans, like Juliet Marillier. Practice makes perfect. I intend to keep practicing!

Last year at Swancon you won the Ditmar for “Best New Talent”. Do you feel that recognition made any difference to your writing, as a spur or encouragement?

Not really. The people who thought I deserved it will continue to believe in me, no matter whether I succeed or fail, and anyone who didn’t, well, I’ve got nothing to prove to them. The best thing about winning BNT was having the Small One come up onto the stage with me to get the award. She remembers that room, full of friendly folk who were all dressed up and very generous with their Easter eggs and glow sticks. She remembers the clapping and the “statue Mum got because she is the best!”

As long as I can keep tricking my daughter into thinking I’m the best, all will be right with the world.

Obviously you have a real talent for the shorter form, but we have also seen an wonderfully received novella from you as well. Do you have a preferred format? Are we likely to see a novel in the near future, or more short stories, or both?

You’re very kind. I have no preference. I get enjoyment from short stories, novellas and novels. Unfortunately I have yet to meet the editor who prefers my novels. But I’m sure he or she is out there. My novel-length soul editor. I wonder what other writer’s novel they are pitching to their corporate masters right now? *romantic sigh* We’ll be together one day.

What Australian works have you loved recently?

“Sea Hearts” by Margo Lanagan and “City of Lies” by Lian Tanner.

Short stories “Possession” by Ben Peek (Steampunk Revolution, Tachyon) and “Stalemate” by Narrelle M Harris (Showtime, Twelfth Planet Press).

Artworks “The Lovers” and “Thinkie, Thinkie” by Marta Tesoro (http://www.rabbittownanimator.com/)

Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?

Another tough one. I wasn’t really “in” it last time; Aussiecon 4 was my first con, and if they hadn’t been selling books in the dealer’s room, I probably would have failed to recognise my own editors. Um, the short story submissions I sent to Ben Payne were so bad that he closed both his magazines in disgust before I could submit again? Aurealis stopped being a print magazine? ASIM went quarterly? Angry Robot came along and took a shine to us Antipodeans? A Paul Haines-shaped hole appeared? I can tell you what’s happened in my little corner, with my post-it notes of potential markets creeping up the wall or scrunched up on the floor. But you should ask Jonathan and Gary at the Coode St Podcast about “the scene”. I need at least 2 hours of interesting waffle for my next session on the treadmill, hahaha.

This interview was conducted as part of the 2012 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 1 June to 8 June and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:











Quick Update

I haven’t had much time for blogging the last week or so due to being feverishly busy with a very exciting and secret project! In a few weeks you will know all about it, but for now a quick update:

  • The Lone Ranger Chronicles have made it into the wild, and features my story Reflections in a Silver Mirror. I am thrilled to see there is a hard back edition, that is a first for me!
  • Congratulations to all the winners at last night’s Aurealis Awards! Judging from the twitter feed, it looks like I missed out on an exciting evening, and that all the people behind the scenes did an amazing job od putting together a spectacular event. The full list of winners is here, but I was especially excited to see Galactic Suburbia get the Peter McNamara Convenor’s Award, Paul Haines’ gut wrenching “The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt” tie for Horror Short Story and Thoraiya Dyer pick up “Fruit of the Pipal Tree” for Fantasy Short Story. The last one makes me feel all the more priviliged to appear in Fablecroft’s upcoming anthology, Epilogue, alongside Thoraiya. Fablecroft keep producing quality work, and that’s what you want to be part of.

Hopefully I will have a more substantial post up soon!