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Norma K. Hemming Award
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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The Norma K. Hemming Award is given to a work produced either in Australia or by an Australian citizen, and which 'marks excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability'.

From 2017, the award was switched to biannual (with 2018's award being for works published in both 2016 and 2017), and the website was relaunched.


Norma K. Hemming Award page at the Australian Science Fiction Foundation website ( (Sighted: 7/5/2014)

Official Norma K. Hemming Award website ( (Sighted: 25/1/2018)


2020 joint winner (Long Form) y separately published work icon Ghost Bird Lisa Fuller , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2019 16861510 2019 single work novel young adult

'Remember daughter, the world is a lot bigger than anyone knows. There are things that science may never explain. Maybe some things that shouldn’t be explained.

Stacey and Laney are twins – mirror images of each other – and yet they’re as different as the sun and the moon. Stacey works hard at school, determined to get out of their small town. Laney skips school and sneaks out of the house to meet her boyfriend. But when Laney disappears one night, Stacey can’t believe she’s just run off without telling her.

As the days pass and Laney doesn’t return, Stacey starts dreaming of her twin. The dreams are dark and terrifying, difficult to understand and hard to shake, but at least they tell Stacey one key thing – Laney is alive. It’s hard for Stacey to know what’s real and what’s imagined and even harder to know who to trust. All she knows for sure is that Laney needs her help.

Stacey is the only one who can find her sister. Will she find her in time?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2020 joint winner (Long Form) y separately published work icon From Here On, Monsters Elizabeth Bryer , Sydney : Picador , 2019 16432719 2019 single work novel fantasy

'In a city locked in a kind of perpetual twilight, an antiquarian bookseller accepts a very strange commission - the valuation of a rare codex. Within its fragile pages is the story of another book, another codex, but unravelling the mystery may mean unravelling the nature of reality itself...

'A noirish mystery. A speculative fiction with a social conscience. An unbridled imagination, and a scholar's bibliomanic preoccupations. From Here On, Monsters stretches the boundaries of what we consider fiction in weird and totally wonderful ways...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2020 winner (Short Form) y separately published work icon Winter's Tale Nike Sulway , Yokine : Titania , 2019 17342545 2019 single work children's fiction children's

'Winter's Tale is an illustrated book about a child called Winter, who has never had a proper home. A child who is looking for parents and a family, and a sense of belonging. A child who sees magic in graffiti and a blue hare in the moon. Who meets a girl with a skateboard and learns to fly; who finds a home, with the most curious of families. Winter's Tale is a story about finding your true self and your true home; about family and belonging; about art, magic and freedom.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 joint winner (Long Work) y separately published work icon Mother of Invention Tansy Rayner Roberts (editor), Rivqa Rafael (editor), Australia : Twelfth Planet Press , 2018 12913318 2018 anthology short story essay

'An ambitious anthology from award-winning Australian publishing house Twelfth Planet Press, Mother of Invention will feature diverse, challenging stories about gender as it relates to the creation of artificial intelligence and robotics.

'From Pygmalion and Galatea to Frankenstein, Ex Machina and Person of Interest, the fictional landscape so often frames cisgender men as the creators of artificial life, leading to the same kinds of stories being told over and over. We want to bring some genuine revolution to the way that artificial intelligence stories are told, and how they intersect with gender identity, parenthood, sexuality, war, and the future of our species. How can we interrogate the gendered assumptions around the making of robots compared with the making of babies? Can computers learn to speak in a code beyond the (gender) binary?

'If necessity is the mother of invention, what exciting AI might come to exist in the hands of a more diverse range of innovators?'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 joint winner (Long Work) y separately published work icon City of Lies Sam Hawke , Sydney : Bantam Press , 2018 14050679 2018 single work novel fantasy

'I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me...

'Jovan wears two faces. Outwardly, he is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible heir. He’s quiet. Forgettable even. But in truth he is a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family. Then there is his sister, Kalina. She hides her frustrations behind a mask of serenity. While other women of the city holds positions of power and responsibility, her path is full of secrets and lies - some hidden even from her own brother.

'It's when the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city that the siblings' world begins to truly unravel. Trapped and desperate, they soon discover that the society into which they were born and grew up also possesses two faces - for behind the sophistication and the beauty lies an ugly truth - this is a world built on oppression and treachery ...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2019 winner (Short Fiction) Pinion Stephanie Gunn , 2018 single work novella fantasy
— Appears in: Aurum : A Golden Anthology of Australian Fantasy 2018; (p. 65-104)
2018 winner (Long Work) y separately published work icon Terra Nullius Claire G. Coleman , Sydney : Hachette Australia , 2017 11354750 2017 single work novel science fiction

'In the near future Australia is about to experience colonisation once more. What have we learned from our past? A daring debut novel from the winner of the 2016 black&write! writing fellowship.

''Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was running from. Jacky was running.'

'The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace, and to bring the savages into line. Families are torn apart, reeducation is enforced. This rich land will provide for all.

'This is not Australia as we know it. This is not the Australia of our history. This TERRA NULLIUS is something new, but all too familiar.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2018 winner (Short Fiction) y separately published work icon Coral Bones Foz Meadows , United Kingdom (UK) : Abaddon Books , 2016 9529681 2016 single work novella fantasy

'Miranda, daughter to Prospero, the feared sorcerer-Duke of Milan, stifles in her new marriage. Oppressed by her father, unloved by Ferdinand, she seeks freedom; and is granted it, when her childhood friend, the fairy spirit Ariel, returns. Miranda sets out to reach Queen Titania’s court in Illyria, to make a new future...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2016 winner y separately published work icon The Orchid Nursery Louise Katz , Westgate : Lacuna Publishing , 2015 8919485 2015 single work novel science fiction

'The Fifteens of Stone House have reached Attainment: the day ‘girlies’ may Beseech for the privilege of being Perfected and serving as womanidols in the Orchid Nursery. Among the Stone House girlies are Mica, a pious believer, and Pearl, vivacious and dangerously irreverent.

'When Pearl goes missing, Mica hopes fervently that her friend has been chosen for Perfection. But Mica finds stronger indications that Pearl has absconded, including a map that shows a path out of Perfect State towards the boundary where Civilisation meets Unrule. Mica feels bound by love and duty to seek Pearl — to save her from punishment if she is caught by the Ecumen or, worse, if she has left Civilisation.

Mica's search first takes her to Hagovel, the crossroads where the cursed Hag is suffered to exist in miserable solitude — an object lesson for the disobedient. Beyond Hagovel is a frightening physical and moral terrain where insurgents and outcasts are still fighting a strategic war against the clerical dictatorship.

'But first Mica must bring herself to violate the secret-sacred space that is the Orchid Nursery.' (Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon The Wonders Paddy O'Reilly , Mulgrave : Affirm Press , 2014 7617609 2014 single work novel

'What sets them apart is the radical, experimental and sometimes faulty medical treatments they've all undergone. Leon has a hole punched through his chest and a small mechanical heart visible to all; Kathryn has been cured of a rare genetic disorder but the treatment left her covered in curly black wool; and performance artist Christos has metal wings implanted into his back.

'When 'The Wonders' are brought together by a canny entrepreneur, their glamorous, genre-defying, twenty first-century freak show becomes a global sensation. But what makes them objects of fascination also places them in danger. A wonderfully inventive novel that challenges our ideas about celebrity, disability and the value of life from one of Australia's finest authors at the peak of her powers.' (Publication summary)

2013 y separately published work icon Bitter Greens Kate Forsyth , North Sydney : Vintage Australia , 2012 Z1849340 2012 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 1 units)

'Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from court by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. She is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of Bitter Greens ...

'After Margherita's father steals a handful of greens - parsley, wintercress and rapunzel - from the walled garden of the courtesan, Selena Leonelli, they give up their daughter to save him from having both hands cut off. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1513 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-one years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

'Locked away in a tower, growing to womanhood, Margherita sings in the hope someone will hear her. One day, a young man does ...

'Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic, and the redemptive power of love.' (From the publisher's website.)

Honourable mention
2013 winner y separately published work icon Sea Hearts Margo Lanagan , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012 Z1836289 2012 single work novel fantasy young adult (taught in 4 units)

'On remote Rollrock Island, the sea-witch Misskaella discovers she can draw a girl from the heart of a seal. So, for a price, any man might buy himself a bride; an irresistibly enchanting sea-wife. But what cost will be borne by the people of Rollrock - the men, the women, the children - once Misskaella sets her heart on doing such a thing?'

Source: Publisher's website.

2011 winner y separately published work icon Diamond Eyes Anita Bell , Pymble : Voyager , 2010 Z1754770 2010 single work novel fantasy mystery

Orphaned as a child after the bizarre deaths of her parents, Mira is a carrier of the Fragile-X gene. Institutionalised in the Serenity Centre, a sanctuary for adults with disabilities, she can see the past but cannot see her real surroundings. When two medical specialists arrive to do a survey, there is a murder and Mira is the only witness.

2010 inaugural winner y separately published work icon The Gene Thieves Maria Quinn , Pymble : Voyager , 2009 Z1550447 2009 single work novel thriller

'Lonely genetic scientist Piggy Brown is desperate for a child, but he's in a tricky situation: he needs a lawyer to help him. Dancer is used to contracts which push the envelope of the law, and he has his own reasons for wanting to find a way to grant this brilliant man's wish.

'The Conjugal-Contract lawyer visits The Nest, the official centre for surrogates, and inveigles them into recommending someone they have used before, someone who won't ask too many questions about the baby she carries. But choosing a surrogate can be risky, and this one, Angela, comes with baggage: her own child, Molly ... a six-year-old who has already seen too much of her mother's world.

'When a grotesque kidnapping happens, everyone's life is thrown into chaos and Jack Lee, Chief Investigator for UN Ethical Science Council, decides it's time to take charge, for the sake of the future.' (Publisher's blurb)