2019 Award

The 2019 Norma K Hemming Award for excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class or disability in speculative fiction published in 2018, was presented on Saturday 8 June, 2019 at a ceremony at the Continuum convention in Melbourne.

It is with great pleasure we announce there was a tie in the Long Work category, with Sam Hawke’s City of Lies and Mother of Invention edited by Rivqa Rafael and Tansy Rayner Roberts sharing the top honour. The Short Fiction category was won by Stephanie Gunn for “Pinion”, from the anthology Aurum.

Congratulations to the winners, finalists and all the entrants for creating such a strong field. Thank you to the Australian Science Fiction Foundation for their role in overseeing the Award, and to the jurors for their hard work, commitment and professionalism in delivering this year’s finalists and winners.


Eugen Bacon
Jack Bridges
Gene Melzack
Nicole Murphy


Jake Corvus
Russell Kirkpatrick
Lyss Wickramasinghe
Alexandra Pierce

The judges have provided citations on all the shortlisted works.

Long Form Award

Icefall, Stephanie Gunn (Twelfth Planet Press)
A harrowing, heart-breaking tale of two women, their love for one and other as one of them travels alone up a deadly, alien mountain which has claimed the lives of all who have attempted to climb it before. An exploration of love, identity and sacrifice.

City of Lies, Sam Hawke (Tor Books / Transworld)
Spies, mystery and intrigue. A brother and sister team work together to solve a deadly crime, as their city is besieged by the enemy. Deep consideration of disability and familial bonds in a lush and luxurious fantasy setting.

Catching Teller Crow, Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina (Allen & Unwin)
A young adult crime thriller exploring themes of race, identity and invisibility. A deceased aboriginal girl assists her father as he tries to solve a crime. Together they uncover a horrible tale of suffering, grief and loss that cuts deeper the more the truth is unravelled.

The Second Cure, Margaret Morgan (Penguin Random House)
Can faith be cured by a disease? Can one person ethically make a choice of faith for billions of others? Three women fight to survive a pandemic that reshapes humanity in this medical and psychological thriller.

Mother of Invention, Rivqa Rafael & Tansy Rayner Roberts (Twelfth Planet Press)
Thought provoking, inclusive and sometimes heart-breaking, this collection of short stories showcases women in science, exploring both what it means to be a woman and the roles they can play both in the creation, expansion and understanding of robotics. Included stories examine a multitude of Norma issues including gender and sexuality and disability

Short Fiction Award

“Pinion”, Stephanie Gunn (Aurum, Ticonderoga Publications)
‘Pinion’ has excellent storytelling with powerful themes of class, gender and race, and the place of belief in oppression. Gunn’s story stands out in its proficiency of characterisation, writing talent and world-building that carries an intelligent plot. It is a wonderful tale of how disability can be a salvation, in an extremely well written piece.

“Triquetra”, Kirstyn McDermott (Tor.com)
“Triquetra” is a well-written novella, a postmodern adaptation of Snow White and the Queen. The female protagonists in McDermott’s tale give it a strong female-focused theme in a very dark and vividly written narrative of solidarity and loyalty, structured wonderfully with the narrations of death foreshadowing relationship changes.

“The Sea-Maker of Darmid Bay”, Shauna O’Meara (Interzone, TTA Press)
“The Sea-Maker of Darmid Bay” is a clever story with strong writing and a very poignant ending. In O’Meara’s moving and powerful tale of hope in a desperate time, of blood sacrifice and family, vivid immersive writing connects the reader to the young protagonists and their experience of the ocean and well captures environmental themes.

“With this Needle I Thee Thread”, Angela Rega (Aurum, Ticonderoga Publications)
“With this Needle I thee Thread” is unique in the concept of giving love unstitched from women. Rega offers the reader a touching tale of romantic and family love, a modern day fable with a fairy tale rationale for why people bleed. A beautiful story that speaks to what it means to be a woman and the sacrifice of self.

“Shatterglass”, Susan Wardle (Aurum, Ticonderoga Publications)
“Shatterglass” is a beautiful story with themes of gender and the misfortune of women in a male dominated society. It is a satisfying tale of class, power, love and morphic change. Wardle’s strong storytelling was imaginative and original, and spoke to societal rules in ways that stayed with the reader.

“Knitting Day “, Jen White (Mother of Invention, Twelfth Planet Press)
“Knitting Day” served well the Norma K Hemming Award themes with an excellent beginning and good characterisation. The gendered nature of the resistance movement in White’s story was an interesting touch in a well-written, well-developed tale of classism and people who can’t see you are more than your circumstance, and people who can.