The winners of the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for 2021, recognising works from the 2020 year have been presented at a ceremony held on August 7th. Congratulations to our winners, who are highlighted in the table below.

Congratulations to all our winners and our thanks again to all the finalists for allowing their work to stand in this year’s awards.

The long list of nominees is on our 2021 Long List.


Professional Categories

Best NovelThe Stone WētāOctavia Cade(Paper Road Press)
Best NovelGad’s ArmyDrew Bryenton(Sci Fi Cafe)
Oxford Books
Barnes and Noble
Best NovelTransferenceB.T. Keaton(Ingleside Avenue Press)
Best NovelThe Court of MortalsA.J. Lancaster(Camberion Press)
Best NovelBlood of the SunDan Rabarts and Lee Murray(Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Best Youth NovelThese Violent DelightsChloe Gong

(Hachette NZ)
Mighty Ape

Best Youth NovelEarthcore Book 4: High TideGrace Bridges

(Splashdown Books)

Best Youth NovelGolden CityS.R. Manssen(Manssen Publishing House)
Best Youth NovelFollow Me InTerri SinclairKindle
Best Youth NovelBrasswitch and BotGareth Ward

(Walker Books Australia)

Best Novella/NoveletteNo Man’s LandA.J. Fitzwater

(Paper Road Press)

Best Novella/NoveletteHexes and VexesNova Blake(Witchy Fiction NZ)
Best Novella/NoveletteHow to Get a Girlfriend (When you’re a Terrifying Monster)Marie CardnoPurchase
Best Novella/NoveletteMarblesSean Monaghan(Asimov’s Science Fiction, July/August 2020)
Best Novella/NoveletteRiverwitchRem WigmoreWitchy Fiction
Best Short StoryFor Want of Human PartsCasey Lucas(Diabolical Plots)
Best Short StorySalt Water, Rose RedE. Celeste(Dually Noted F(r)iction Log)
Best Short StorySynaestheteMelanie Harding-Shaw(Things in the Well)
Best Short StoryThe Good WifeLee Murray(Weird Tales, issue 364)
Best Short StoryArachne’s WebJames Rowland(Aurealis issue #132)
Best Collected WorkThe Voyages of Cinrak the DapperA.J. Fitzwater(Queen of Swords Press)
Best Collected WorkYear's Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy Volume 2 editedMarie Hodgkinson

(Paper Road Press)

Best Collected WorkGhost Bus - Tales from Wellington's Dark SideAnna Kirtlan #colspan#
Best Collected WorkThe Better Sister and Other StoriesPiper Mejia(Breach)
Best Collected WorkGrotesque: Monster StoriesLee Murray(Things in the Well)
Best Professional ArtworkCover art for "No Man’s Land" by A.J. FitzwaterLaya Rose(Paper Road Press)
Best Professional ArtworkCover art for for "Year's Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy Volume 2" , edited by Marie HodgkinsonLaya Rose(Paper Road Press)
Best Professional ArtworkCover art for "The Chaos Curse", by Sayantani DasGuptaVivienne To(Scholastic)
Best Professional ArtworkCover art for "The Stone Wētā" by Octavia CadeEmma Weakley(Paper Road Press)
Best Professional Production/PublicationHow New Zealand’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction Authors got Shafted on a Global StageCasey Lucas(The Spinoff)
Best Professional Production/PublicationThis is Not the End (chapters 1.5-2.10)Deanna GunnWebsite
Best Professional Production/PublicationMasterpiece (Or Artful Dodgers)Michelle Kan #colspan#
Best Professional Production/PublicationFantastical Worlds and Futures at the World's Edge: A History of New Zealand Science Fiction and FantasySimon Litten and Sean McMullenAurealis Issue 132
Best Professional Production/PublicationWonderland Nights: White Rabbit’s DiarySky Bear Games


Best Professional Production/PublicationAotearoa is Not Middle EarthAlexander Stronach(The Spinoff)

Fan Categories

Best Fan ArtworkBlue and Red (This is How You Lose the Time War)Laya Rose #colspan#
Best Fan ArtworkMinistry for Public Art fan artShaun Garea(Estrata Productions)
Best Fan ArtworkOriental Bay PiranhasShaun Garea(Estrata Productions)
Best Fan ArtworkDestiny & dead people teaMichelle Kan #colspan#
Best Fan ArtworkFaerie Ring (critical role)Michelle Kan #colspan#
Best Fan ArtworkGyre from The Luminous DeadLaya Rose #colspan#
Best Fan Production/PublicationFIYAHCON Guest of Honour SpeechCassie Hart #colspan#
Best Fan Production/PublicationCodexStephen Brough(Lost Arcana)
Best Fan Production/PublicationMollymauk Tealeaf - Court of Jesters (showcase)Michelle Kan #colspan#
Best Fan Production/PublicationPhoenixineEdited by John and Jo Toon #colspan#
Best Fan Production/PublicationDramatic Chairing of the 2020 WSFS Business meetingDarusha Wehm #colspan#
Best Fan Production/PublicationCoNZealand Souvenir bookDarusha Wehm and Amber Carter #colspan#
Best Fan WritingAlone Together at the Edge of the WorldAndi C. Buchanan(CoNZealand Souvenir Book)
Best Fan WritingQueer Speculative Aotearoa New ZealandA.J. Fitzwater(LGBTQ Reads)
Best Fan WritingReview of Hello StrangeDylan Howell(My Opinion on Various Books)
Best Fan WritingSITREPAlex Lindsay(Phoenixine)
Best Fan WritingWhat IfKyra Saywell(Poetry Box)
Best Fan WritingAn exploration of menstruation in horror and dark fictionTabatha Wood(

Special Awards

New TalentA.J. Lancaster

AJ Lancaster has been killing it with three of her four book series out. Amazing sales records. An audiobook contract. Stunning covers, even more stunning and complex beautiful plots. She’s been quietly working away and achieving amazing things. She also volunteers for the community, including in the publications team for CoNZealand last year producing the ConBook.

New TalentChloe Gong
Chloe Gong is nominated for this award as she has had a startlingly incredible debut internationally. She debuted her first novel, These Violent Delights, as number 3 on the New York Times Bestsellers List at the age of 21. She is a talent not only for her quality writing and charming retelling of the Shakespearean classic, but also her ingenuity in her marketing and demographic appeal, as well as her skill in writing and publishing her first novel while also balancing a full load at University. Her success is a clear result of her hard work and talent, and should be recognised for this.

Chloe's writing is so beautiful and her character's are a personal source of comfort for me! For a debut novel, These Violent Delights was a splendid work of art that rightfully deserves all the love it receives. I think there is a lot more from her that we need to keep an eye out for because TVD could not have impressed me more!
New TalentDeanna Gunn

This Is Not The End; is an ongoing sci-fi/fantasy webcomic following a young woman learning to navigate a new, foreign world and how to find her place in it. She is encountered by strangers who help her step into her second-chance at life, and by doing so, these strangers begin to untangle their traumas and issues that are stopping them from fully enjoying their own second-chances. All while fighting an oppressive government, learning how to adjust to an immortal way of life, and uncovering lost civilisations along the way.
This webcomic is something I have been dreaming up for 9 years. Throughout high-school I worked on the concept, throughout my degree I worked on the character designs and plot, and then finally for my last assignment there, I decided it was time to start making it into a webcomic form. Since then, I've been consistently working on my comic whenever I can, and am currently posting updates fortnightly. It's literally been a dream come true to see this project become real, and especially to see others enjoy and relate to the characters in it. My goal is to make an inspiring story that people can enjoy and feel immersed in, featuring a unique setting, engaging plot, and a diverse range of characters. As a story that still has a long way to go before its completion, I hope this webcomic is one that lasts for many years to come as I gain the opportunities needed to dedicate more time to creating it in the future.
"A city split into two: Palacious is the physical reminder to its' citizens of who is superior. Those above live in sunlight, luxury, and comfort. Those below are suffocated by polluted and overcrowded cityscapes, barely surviving. Those less fortunate are found dead – but some of them come back. Now equipped with supernatural powers, the Undead want their city back, and will do anything to achieve it.
When Vera, a sheltered girl from the Upper Tier, visits the underside of her city for the first time, she falls victim to the brutality of the city she once sought comfort in. Adopted by a team of Undead rebels, Vera must now work to find a way home."
New TalentKate Haley

Kate Haley is a fresh new voice writing witty and entertaining fantasy that tackles big themes with wry humour. Her debut series, The War of the North Saga, follows eight university students trying to save the world, and learning some important lessons along the way. 

The seven-book series took almost 10 years to write, and was published between May and November in 2020, despite all the challenges of Covid-19. The novels address issues like love and loss; family and forgiveness; learning to love yourself and be happy for others; and the trauma and tragedy of war. Of particular note is the deft way in which Kate deals with LGBTQ elements within her story. All these themes are treated with respect and authenticity.

Kate's writing is strongly character-driven, with a good balance of fast-paced action, and more nuanced character development. One of the highlights of the series is just how far the characters have come by the end. It's a story that only gets stronger with re-reading, and for all their flaws the characters quickly become friends.

New TalentB.T. Keaton

The opening line of Transference is ‘you may have heard of me.’ Following this swaggering proclamation from author Brandon Keaton, the reader is then dropped into the center of a plot that unravels like the knots in a once-broken heart now repairing itself in full view for everyone to see. The writer’s voice resonates and reverberates, inciting blissful riots with pinpoint accuracy into our own veiled future via the protagonist’s forlorn search both for answers and his lost loved ones. If penning a diatribe against blind conformity and gross intolerance wasn’t enough either, Keaton’s debut novel manages to simultaneously bend a knee to hope itself and morphs beautifully into (among other things) a love letter to his own departed family.

Brandon currently resides in Auckland on a crime-addled street, which hurts his heart but at times forces him to make believe he were a certain comic-book character who dresses like a bat, which is okay really because fiction can be fun. He previously lived in Wellington for many years and although he does not (and never did) own a bookstore, he often imagines that he did, and he can even smell the pages on a good day. It is his privilege to support the SPCA—and various other compassionate New Zealand organizations—in an attempt to cover a multitude of mortal misdeeds.

New TalentDeborah Makarios

Deborah Makarios trained as a scriptwriter, and promptly started writing fantasy novels instead. Her debut, Restoration Day, was a finalist for the 2019 SJV Award for Best Novel.
The review site Fantasy Book Critic chose her second novel The Wound of Words as one of their semifinalists for Mark Lawrence's Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2020 - describing it as "completely original and undeniably entertaining."
She has also published a blog collection entitled The Ambition of a Potato, which covers a wide range of topics, from how to make a severed Jabberwock head of your very own, to ten reasons why cuttlefish are amazing.
She is currently working on her third standalone fantasy novel
Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and HorrorCassie Hart

Cassie worked tirelessly to support inclusion of local and international SFFH writers at CoNZealand, including programming and fearlessly advocating for opportunities for Māori authors and being instrumental to driving the inclusion scholarship initiatives. She personally mentored several local writers at the convention and co-developed the internationally award-nominated CoNZealand Fringe event that opened with a showcase panel she chaired titled “What is Modern Aotearoa New Zealand Speculative Fiction”. Every time she spoke, she used the opportunity to lift up NZ genre writers, and in particular Māori genre writers. This culminated in her invitation to speak as Guest of Honour at the prestigious international FIYAHCon convention. For many in the international SFFH community, Cassie was the face and voice of the NZ SFFH genre writers in 2020 and she used that opportunity with grace and strength to lift up local and indigenous SFFH writers. Her work in 2020 built off the foundation of years of such generosity and dedication.

In 2020 Cassie Hart worked tirelessly to champion inclusion. The most notable examples of this were in CoNZealand and extending into the CoNZealandFringe event, in which she took part in the CoNZealand Fringe initiative providing extra content to the convention, in recognition of how traditional Worldcon times (and locations) make participation from less-represented parts of the world impossible. This is helpful to fans all over the world, including Aotearoa specifically. It may even set a positive precedent for future Worldcons. Cassie is a strong voice for Māori speculative fiction writers and creatives, a staunch cheerleader for diversity of all kinds, and a credit to the community.

Cassie has put huge energy to promote New Zealand - and particularly Māori - SFF and its creators on a global stage. This includes her work on the ConZealand programme to ensure diverse representation, on the related diversity initiative to broaden attendance, on the ConZealand Fringe (both in organisation and in chairing a panel of NZ SFF writers which has received ~800 views to date), and as a GoH at the inaugural - and hugely popular FIYAHcon. Both publicly and behind the scenes Cassie has supported local writers in building connections that will likely serve all parties for years to come, and increased the visibility of local SFF around the world.

Cassie's work behind the scenes at CoNZealand and in front of the scenes at FIYAH con has been a tremendous leap forward for tangata whenua on the international stage as well as at home. Cassie worked hard to ensure there was outreach to Māori authors and inclusion of ta ao Māori in the programming at both cons and her Guest of Honour speech at FIYAH con is the first time I can ever remember seeing an indigenous author give a keynote speech at an event like that which wasn't purely for indigenous speakers. Beyond simply her work to ensure Māori are included in the speculative scene in NZ, she is also a source of mentorship and encouragement to all new authors working in the speculative field in this country. She is approachable, free with advice, and boundless with her goodwill. I am honoured to have worked alongside her at events and have benefited immensely from the know-how she gives to others. She is a gem in the crown of our spec fic scene. 

Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and HorrorLee Murray

Since her previous award in 2017, Lee Murray has undertaken a raft of new and innovative projects to increase awareness, develop talent, and provide support for our science fiction and fantasy community. Representing more than two thousand hours of volunteer time, this exceptional service deserves recognition once more.

Arguably speculative fiction’s most active mentor, Lee works with writers through organisations such as AHWA, HWA, SpecFicNZ, NZSA, Tauranga Writers, Young NZ Writers, and the Whitireia and IML graduate programmes, and in 2020 was awarded HWA international Mentor of the Year, evidence of her commitment to developing speculative fiction creatives.

A co-founder and facilitator of Young New Zealand Writers, Lee has spent over a decade developing youth writers and readers of speculative fiction through competitions, anthologies, and annual workshops. In 2018, she instigated and implemented the Young New Zealand Writers Youth Laureate Award programme, a national competition to develop our youngest novelists, which resulted in the 2019 release of novels by New Zealand secondary students, Xiaole Zhan and Emma Uren, both of whom Lee mentored throughout the editing and publication process. Other initiatives co-created under the Young New Zealand Writer umbrella (with Piper Mejia and Jean Gilbert) include a virtual convention for youth, offered during 2020 COVID-19 restrictions.

Since 2017, as well as four anthologies by New Zealand youth, Lee donated her time and expertise to edit and promote anthologies and magazines which offer publication opportunities for New Zealand and other genre writers, including charity anthology Tricksters Treats #3, and professional publications Breach 11 & 12, Te Korero Ahi Ka, and Midnight Echo #15.


Despite saying ‘never again’ she was programme director of yet another national convention, GeyserCon, in 2019, and she is a current committee member of upcoming OZHorrorCoNZ.

Lee has promoted New Zealand speculative writers and their works as a speaker-presenter at national (12) and international (10) conferences, via dozens of podcasts and interviews, and regularly recommends her colleagues for festivals and other opportunities. She advocated for New Zealand science fiction, fantasy, and horror creatives, serving on the working groups for the Coalition for New Zealand Books, an industry-wide coalition created in 2019 to promote New Zealand books and authors. She has served on literary juries for five international and national awards, and for the past two years, Lee has facilitated Tauranga Writers’ professional development programme of monthly presentations for readers and writers, another way in which she develops our creative community.

In 2018, Lee contacted the HWA StokerCon convention committee offering a panel discussion on writing from anxiety and depression. This panel, convened and moderated by Lee, opened a wider conversation, both nationally and internationally, about creativity, well-being, and genre, promoted through essays, articles, online initiatives, and panel presentations.

In 2019, recognising the lack of national support for New Zealand science fiction and fantasy writers, Lee joined with the Wright Family Foundation to offer the Wright-Murray Residency for Speculative Fiction Writers to allow a writer freedom to write. The residency, which opened in 2019-2020 and is now in its second year, is administered by SpecFicNZ and includes mentorship support for the winning writer. The first residency offered solely for speculative writers, this initiative has been embraced by the New Zealand science fiction and fantasy community.

Finally, as one of the country’s most recognised writers (a three-time Bram Stoker Award®-nominee and two-time Australian Shadows Award-winner), Lee’s recent work has raised the visibility of New Zealand speculative writers and their writing abroad. An Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand Society of Authors and the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellow for 2021, her fiction has appeared alongside work by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, and Seanan McGuire, among others, and she is the first New Zealander to appear in the iconic magazine, Weird Tales, making her a wonderful representative for her country and our genre.

Services to FandomCoNZealand Crew

Putting on an event virtually is exhausting. There is so much infrastructure in place here in post-pandemic 2021 that the CoNZealand crew did not have. They were the first to host a virtual WorldCon, the first to host any kind of WorldCon in NZ, and they worked tirelessly to ensure that things went off with as minimal technological disruption as possible. From the volunteers that assisted with programming, closed-captioning, live streaming, and people-wrangling to the con committee who made the difficult decisions, everyone involved put blood, sweat, tears, time, and effort into this event and the fact that they were able to accomplish so much with so little and with the world in such a state is quite an accomplishment.

Services to FandomNigel Rowe et al
With this nomination, I want to recognise Nigel Rowe's tremendous contribution to the presence of NZ fandom at CoNZealand through his virtual displays on past NZ natcons and fanzines, his 'Guiding Stars' In Memoriam gallery and his tribute to the late Mervyn Barrett; and the contributions of Jan Bass, Jenny Hammond, Monique Lubberink, Louise McCully, Alan Parker and Maree Pavletich who also provided virtual displays on Sir Julius Vogel, SF&F in NZ libraries, NZ SF&F stamps, fannish memorabilia and yarnbombing. These fans worked hard to present a rich and vibrant history of NZ fandom to our online visitors from around the world.