Our next two meetings have two compelling debut novelists as guests, namely Vanessa Len and Shelley Parker-Chan. Allen and Unwin recently published Vanessa Len’s first novel Only a Monster and Shelley Parker-Chan’s novel She Who Became the Sun is already known to many due to its being on this year’s Hugo Best Novel ballot. Fingers crossed for the win!
Vanessa Len – Only a Monster
Melbourne writer’s first novel at Nova Mob meeting 1 June 2022
Vanessa Len is an Australian author of Chinese-Malaysian and Maltese heritage. An educational editor, she has worked on everything from language learning programs to STEM resources, to professional learning for teachers. Vanessa is a graduate of the Clarion Workshop in San Diego, and she lives in Melbourne. Only A Monster is published by Allen and Unwin, who describe it as a standout YA contemporary fantasy debut, the first in a planned trilogy.
“It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.
“But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.
“As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . . she is not the hero.”
Contains romance aspects and time travel.
Copies are for sale and signing on the night as part of our encouragement of local writers and booksellers.
Vanessa Len – Only a Monster – Nova Mob 1 June 2022, Kensington Town Hall
You are invited to a Nova Mob gathering at: Wednesday 1 June
8.00pm – 9.30 pm or so, first floor Conference Room, Kensington Town Hall
30 – 34 Bellair St, Kensington Melbourne VIC 3031
Simultaneously with a Zoom meeting. COVID-19 protocols apply. Please don’t attend if you feel unwell, or if you are not fully vaccinated.
By Zoom – as transmitted from the Kensington Town Hall
Wednesday 1 June
8.00pm – 9.30 pm Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney time
7.30pm – 9.00pm Adelaide time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 417 758 3193
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Shelley Parker-Chan – She Who Became the Sun
Hugo Awards shortlisted writer at Nova Mob meeting 6 July 2022
Hugos are announced at Chicon WorldCon 1-5 Sep 2022. Here’s hoping! The shortlist is strong:
- She Who Became the Sun, by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor / Mantle)
- A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine (Tor)
- The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager / Hodder & Stoughton)
- Light From Uncommon Stars, by Ryka Aoki (Tor / St Martin’s Press)
- A Master of Djinn, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom / Orbit UK)
- Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir (Ballantine / Del Rey)
What follows is taken from the novel’s Wikipedia entry which also has many links to interviews, reviews, and so on. Please go there to discover more.
Please also go to the Locus Spotlight: https://locusmag.com/2021/07/spotlight-on-shelley-parker-chan/
“She Who Became the Sun is a 2021 fantasy novel by Shelley Parker-Chan. Parker-Chan’s debut novel, the novels tells a re-imagining of the rise to power of the Hongwu Emperor in the 14th century. “
“The book is a finalist for the 2022 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction and the 2022 Hugo Award for Best Novel.”
“Zhu Chongba, the son of a family in an impoverished village, is foretold in a prophecy to achieve greatness. However, after a bandit attack leaves the village devastated and most of the family dead, he dies of heartbreak. His sister then assumes his identity to go study at a Buddhist monastery, and begins plotting her own survival and her own path to greatness.
“ The novel has been noted to touch on themes of gender, sexuality, and diasporic identity. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Parker-Chan described the novel as “a queer reimagining of the rise to power of the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty. It’s also a fun story about gender,” adding that mainstream white Australian culture had “a particular type of Australian masculinity that is held as the ideal. This excludes every other kind of masculinity, especially queer masculinity and Asian masculinity.”
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Archibald entry from Nick Stathopolous
A Man Who Found Red
Australian artist Nick Stathopoulos is an Archibald Prize 2022 finalist. The Art Gallery of NSW announced that “The Red Scarf,” his portrait of Wayne Tunnicliffe, is one of 52 works up for this year’s award.
“This is the eighth time Stathopoulos has been an Archibald finalist. He won the People’s Choice in 2016 with a portrait of Sudanese refugee and lawyer Deng Adut.
“He told Facebook followers, “I didn’t think I had made the finalist cut this year. I didn’t receive the official email for days after the rest of the finalists.”
“The $100,000 prize is awarded to the best portrait of a person “distinguished in art, letters, science or politics” painted by an Australian resident.
“Tunnicliffe, the painting’s subject, is the head curator of Australian art for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and oversees the Brett Whiteley Studio.
“The winning painting [was] announced on May 13 [here: Blak Douglas for Karla Dickens]. The finalists for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes will be on show at the Art Gallery of NSW beginning May 14.
“It’s great to see Stathopoulos enjoy success in the fine arts because he has also made a mark on fanhistory as a past Hugo and Chesley Award nominee and 10-time Ditmar Award winner.”quoted from from File 770.
[Murray: I firmly believe Nick’s portrait of Deng Adut should have won in 2016. It’s a phenomenal work which does what portraiture ought to do, reveal and illuminate multiple aspects of character. A surprising number of artists in the Archibald fall short of doing that fundamental thing. That year was an odd judging year, seemed to be more about the judges than the art. ]
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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as she is spoke
From the Nova Mob meeting 4 May 2022
Here’s a link to a youtube video as a follow-up to Lucy Sussex’s part of her talk with Terry Frost last month on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. “Chaucer can be understood (mostly) by the modern reader, but the dialect of the writer of the Sir Gawain poem is only fractionally intelligible to modern ears.” Here is a reading of part of the poem, which sounds almost Gaelic to me. In truth it’s Middle English (North West Midlands dialect).