Guardian of the Dead wins Aurealis Award

I thought today was going well when I triumphantly finished my powerpoint for Reading Matters – I promise, internets, I AM going to tell you about what I’m doing for Reading Matters, not to mention recounting the wonders that were the Auckland Writers Festival – and then made delicious steak sandwiches and feijoa-apple martinis for appreciative eaters.

Half an hour later, when I had made trenchant commentary on a beautiful story the fabulous Belinda was working on in my spare room and was feeling very satisfied with myself, I got a text from Editor S.

No Rapture, instead an Aurealis Award for Guardian of the Dead!! Oh rapturous news!!! Congratulations!

I went into the good kind of shock. Clutching my phone, I wandered into the spare room. “I got an award,” I squeaked at the fabulous Belinda. “I got an Aurealis Award.”

When she hugged me, the news began to sink in. I levitated down the stairs. “[Housemate], [Housemate]!” I cried. “Guardian of the Dead just won the Aurealis Award for best Young Adult novel! Can you drive me to the wine shop so I can buy champagne? Oh gosh, I have to call my mum!”

It was 8.17pm on Saturday night – wine shop still open, and not too late for my New Zealand-based mother, who is living two hours into the future, and who I called from the car as my obliging housemate drove.

Predictably, I had to explain what an Aurealis award was, “like the Australian Hugos, kind of” not being of much help when talking to Mum. Dad was asleep, but my youngest brother was home and willing to chat – about Seussical the Musical, but no matter. I hung up and wafted into the wine shop.

“How are you?” the nice balding counter guy asked.

“I’m great!” I declared. “I’m a writer, and my first book just won its first award!” I pondered my champagne choices, and then recklessly reached for the Moet & Chandon. Out of my budget range, but when I lived in Japan there were half-bottles of this in my local supermarket, at not too outrageous a price. I bought it at every conceivable excuse, in the process regrettably developing a taste for good champagne that cannot be met by Yellowglen or Lindauer in times of great joy.

“That’s $61.10,” the nice counter guy said, grinning at me.

That was not what the price tag had said; it was substantially less. I beamed at him, delighted with the benevolence of a charming universe, and carried my booty back to the car, and home.

The fabulous Belinda and I clinked glasses, the twitter congratulations began to come in, and I have spent the rest of the evening in a pleasant fog. I really did not think this was going to happen. When prompted to nominate someone to pick up the award on my behalf, in the event that Guardian of the Dead were successful, I asked lovely Sean Williams to do it in a kind of desultory manner.

“If you win, do you want me to say anything, or should I just do a kind of happy dance?” he asked.

“Oh, thank the judges for the honour and acknowledge the awesomeness of the other nominees,” I told him, never dreaming that I was throwing away a perfect opportunity to make Sean do a happy dance in front of his peers.

I’d be sad about this missed chance for mischief, internets, but that’s impossible. I am just too happy. Too, too happy.

  • Vanessa

    Congratulations, Karen! Obviously that’s a million kinds of wonderful, and I’m glad you have all of them. Cheers!

  • Soleilsummer11

    Congratulations!
    Guardian of the Dead is one of my favorite books!

  • Pseudoname.Girl

    Awesome! The book (and you, unbelievably talented writer) absolutely deserve some awards.
    I can’t tell you how blown away I am by the amazingness that is Guardian of the Dead. I. Am blown. AWAY. Please never stop writing (and it was your first novel too, holy crap.) CONGRATS!!