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Peter McNamara Convenors' Award (2001-)
Convenors' Award for Excellence (1998-2000)
Subcategory of Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction
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Part of the Aurealis Awards, the Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award for Excellence is awarded at the discretion of the convenors for a particular achievement in speculative fiction or related areas in that year. This award may take into account a body of work or achievements over a number of years; it can also be for a work of non-fiction, artwork, electronic or multimedia work, or that which brings credit or attention to the speculative fiction genres.

The award was originally known as The Convenors' Award for Excellence and was renamed in 2002 after Peter McNamara (1947-2004), publisher, editor and the original Aurealis Awards convenor, shortly after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Source: Sighted: 29/11/2013.


  • 'The Peter McNamara Convenors' Award for Excellence may be given at the discretion of the Convenors. This is for a particular achievement in speculative fiction or related areas in the relevant year, but may also take into account achievements over a number of years. This may also be for a non-fiction work, a collection or anthology, an art work, or for a body of work that brings credit and/or attention to the speculative fiction genre in that year. While the Convenors' Award will be strictly at the discretion of the Convenors, judges may be asked for specific recommendations.' (Sighted 25/01/05)

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

joint winner Andrew Nette for 'Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950-1985'.
joint winner Iain McIntyre for 'Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950-1985'.

Year: 2020

joint winner y separately published work icon Never Afters : Female Friendship and Collaboration in Contemporary Re-visioned Fairy Tales by women Kirstyn McDermott , Ballarat : 2019 23793100 2019 single work thesis

'Antagonism among girls and women in fairy tales has been the subject of much critical and popular discussion over recent decades. Significantly less attention, however, has been paid to the frequent absence of collaborative female relationships in traditional fairy tales and their contemporary retellings. Holding re-visioned fairy tales to be a type of feminist creative praxis, this thesis investigates how mutually beneficial relationships between female characters may be constructed within such narratives. "Never Afters" is a collection of six re-visions, written as sequels to well-known fairy tales from the Western European corpus. Situated within a genre that commonly isolates female characters or foregrounds female antagonism, each re-vision employs one (or more) of five key strategies that are used by contemporary authors to imagine collaborative female relationships within retold fairy tales: inversion, insertion/deletion, expansion, fusion, and extrapolation. The exegesis contextualises my creative work and assesses the strengths and limitations of each strategy by critically examining how they are used in contemporary fairy tales by authors including Emma Donoghue, Theodora Goss, Angela Slatter, Aimee Bender, and Kelly Link. I demonstrate that expansion, fusion, and extrapolation best allow authors to introduce new female characters and fresh feminist perspectives that move away from female exceptionalism and instead foreground female collaboration and friendship as potent sources of narrative power. The exegesis further argues that the cognitive sciences, and schema theories in particular, may offer insights as to why collaborative female relationships have received such scant representation. Using case studies of my own creative praxis, I explore the ways in which female isolation and acrimony are re-inscribed in contemporary work and recommend the adoption of new frameworks through which creative writers may critically and reflexively interrogate their tacit storytelling knowledge.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2018

joint winner y separately published work icon Capitalocene Dreams : Dark Tales of Near Futures & The 21st Century Catastrophe : Hyper-capitalism and Severe Climate Change in Science Fiction Cat Sparks , Perth : 2018 16429751 2018 single work thesis

'This thesis investigates the research question: What is the role of speculative fiction in a climate changed world? The short story collection: Capitalocene Dreams: Dark Tales of Near Futures explores life on the fringes of disintegrating Australian enclaves during the dying days of neoliberal excess. The exegesis: The 21st Century Catastrophe: Hyper-capitalism and Severe Climate Change in Science Fiction, contrasts ecocatastrophe science fiction of the sixties and seventies with contemporary climate or Anthropocene fiction.'

Source: Curtin University.

joint winner y separately published work icon Genre Worlds : Australian Popular Fiction in the Twenty-First Century Kim Wilkins , David Carter , Beth Driscoll , Lisa Fletcher , 2016 16429960 2016 website criticism

‘Genre Worlds: Australian Popular Fiction in the Twenty-First Century’ is a research project funded by an ARC Discovery Project Grant between 2016 and 2018 (DP160101308). 

The research project aims to systematically examine 21st-century Australian popular fiction, the most significant growth area in Australian trade publishing since the turn of the century. Its three areas of investigation are: the publishing of Australian popular fiction; the interrelationships between Australian popular fiction and Australian genre communities; and the textual distinctiveness of Australian popular novels in relation to genre. Research will centre on thirty novels across three genres (fantasy, romance and crime), building a comprehensive picture of the practices and processes of Australian popular fiction through detailed examination of trade data, close reading of texts, and interviews with industry figures.'

Source: Project website.

Year: 2017

joint winner y separately published work icon The Rebirth of Rapunzel : A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower Kate Forsyth , Mawson : FableCroft Publishing , 2016 9476898 2016 selected work criticism essay

'A unique collection presenting Kate Forsyth’s extensive academic research into the ‘Rapunzel’ fairy tale, alongside several other pieces related to fairy tales and folklore.

'This book is not your usual reference work, but a complex and engaging exploration of the subject matter, written with Forsyth’s distinctive flair.' (Publication summary)

joint winner Tansy Rayner Roberts for 'The Fictional Mother'.

Year: 2016

winner Rowena Cory Daniells For lifetime achievement.

Works About this Award

SF Files Jason Nahrung , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 4 - 5 March 2006; (p. 4)