1. Jean Gilbert
Jean has been professionally writing for the last four years. Jean’s talents cross a multitude of writing medias, from short stories, to novels, to promotional and television scripts. Jean’s dedication and drive make her a strong force in the writing community, lending her time and energy to help inspire and motivate others in the genres of writing that she loves.
Jean is actively involved in mentoring our up and coming young writers through specifically designed writing competitions for students of New Zealand. (Write Off Line, Beyond…) Through the competitions, one-on-one practical advice is passed on to this next generation in hopes of creating New Zealand’s future great writers.
Jean first cut her teeth in the publishing industry with her short story “Blonde Obsession,” published in Baby Teeth (2013), and soon after went onto release her first science fiction novel.
Jean’s novels in the nomination period include:
Shifters ( Rogue House Publishing, 2014)
Ardus (Rogue House Publishing, 2015)
Jean’s short stories include:
“Blonde Obsession” Baby Teeth – Bite-Sized Tales of Terror, (Paper Road Press, 2013)
“Pride” Contact Light (Silence in the Library, 2015)
Jean is co-editor, along with Chad Dick for the anthology: Write Off Line 2015: The Earth We Knew.
With so many skills under her belt, and many more projects in the works, Jean is a great candidate for this year’s Best New Talent.
2. Octavia Cade
The August Birds
Bone Length, Wavelength (in Capricious)
Crow (in Apex Magazine)
Longfin's Daughters (in Strange Horizons)
The Mussel Eater (in The Book Smugglers)
The Mythology of Salt (in Strange Horizons)
The Tree of Life in Lisbon (in Luna Station Quarterly)
Tommy Flowers and the Glass Bells of Bletchley (in The Dark)
Octavia, AKA O.J. Cade, has been producing high quality literary science fiction for the past 2-3 years. Her short stories have appeared in venues such as Apex, Aurealis, Regeneration and Strange Horizons and are forthcoming in Asimovs Science Fiction. Her novella Trading Rosemary featured on Hugo-Award-Winning podcast StarShipSofa, and her study of Ernest Rutherford and his haunted past in the novella The Ghost of Matter (Shortcuts - Track 1, Paper Road Press, 2015) is an outstanding work which speaks volumes to this writer's talent.
Octavia has been hard at work in the last few years, steadily producing a body of high quality work that encompasses short stories, novellas, and poetry.
Her short stories have appeared in such high esteem venues as Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, Cosmos Online, the New Zealand anthology Regeneration, and New Zealand magazine Capricious. Her novella The Ghost of the Matter was released in Paper Road Press’ Shortcuts collection in 2015. She has self-published novellas such as The Life in Papers of Sofie K and Vita Urbis, and Masque Books has released her novellas The Don’t Girls and Trading Rosemary. Her poetry book Chemical Letters was released by Popcorn Press.
Also testament to her talent, Octavia was accepted to the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop in 2014, but was unable to attend.
Hello, I’m Octavia! I’ve had stories in Strange Horizons (here and here), Apex Magazine, and The Dark, amongst others. One of my stories, “The Mussel Eater”, was shortlisted for a BSFA award. Later this year my stories will be in Asimov’s and Liminal Stories, as well as a few other places.
I’ve had two novellas published by Masque Books: Trading Rosemary (which was SJV nominated last year) and The Don’t Girls. I’ve self-published a couple more: The Life in Papers of Sofie K. and Vita Urbis. There’s another, The Convergence of Fairy Tales, due out from The Book Smugglers, for whom I write a regular column on food and horror.
While I write fantasy, lately I’ve tended towards fiction that’s very science-focused. I don’t mean hard sci-fi, but sci-fi that uses the culture of science – its use and history and context – as a metaphor for human lives and relationships. (I’ve got a PhD in science communication, so I figure I’d better use it.)
My novella The Ghost of Matter (which coincidentally is up for best novella/novelette) is an example of this. It tells the story of Ernest Rutherford, and how he deals with death – both as an adolescent, when his two younger brothers drowned in the Marlborough Sounds, and as an old man whose daughter dies in childbirth. Rutherford interprets these events (and the subsequent ghosts) in the context of his work: atom splitting and radar, reaching across long distances and looking into the future of nuclear energy, the threats and consequences of science in war.
Another example of this is a short novel I self-published last year (free on Smashwords). The August Birds tells the story of a dying boy who wants to be a scientist. In the last month of his life, August is visited daily by Muninn and Huginn, ravens from Norse mythology. They take August back in time to visit an event in science that happened on that day: on August 6th, the bombing of Hiroshima. On August 20th, the launch of Voyager 2. On the 22nd, the discovery of Turkana Boy, Homo ergaster... August is taken to see Darwin and Einstein and Meitner, to Jane Goodall, to Caroline Herschel. And all these little trips into science are given to him to help him come to terms with his mortality... and to give him the chance to change it.
If you only read one thing of mine, consider reading this. And, you know, it’s free.
Also free (or at least pay-what-you-want, which can be free if you’re short on cash) is my recent poetry collection, Chemical Letters, from Popcorn Press. It’s a collection of speculative poetry about the periodic table – little puzzle poems about the elements, as a scientist wakes up in an apartment block very much like the table, with a different element behind each door and Mendeleev in the basement as superintendant. It’s currently nominated for an Elgin Award.
My website’s here, and you can find me on Twitter at @OJCade.
3. Y. K. Willemse
Born in 1993 in Christchurch, Y. K. Willemse wanted to be an author ever since she was six years of age. At ten, she started writing her first book. This manuscript went through numerous rewrites until Tina Shaw assessed it when Willemse was seventeen. Pontas International Literary and Film Agency (current agency of Alan Duff and Susan Abulhawa) signed Yvette for a period of two years when she was just eighteen, making her their youngest ever client. Two weeks before her twenty-first birthday, Permuted Press (a Simon and Schuster imprint) bought the rights to the first four books of The Fledgling Account series, a young adult epic fantasy fiction saga. 2015 marked the release of her first four novels, all 70,000 words or over in length: Rafen, The Sianian Wolf, Servant of the King, and The Fourth Runi.
Willemse has appeared in The New Zealand Herald, Hamilton News, The Cambridge Edition, and in the NZ School for Young Writers magazine Write On. Additionally, she was interviewed by the American radio show The Dr and by New Zealand’s Radio Rhema. As a mark of how much time she wastes on the internet, she has even been featured in a Buzzfeed article. Willemse was a finalist in the Innovation category of the Waikato Recognyz Youth Awards, 2013 and also became top student in Massey University's distance component of Editing and Publishing, 2012. In 2009, she was a finalist in New Zealand’s Re-Draft competition for teenagers.
Tina Shaw has described Y. K. Willemse's debut novel Rafen as "an exciting fantasy story for older children and young adults. It contains elements which I think this age group will enjoy reading about - the dismal coal mines worked by children, from which Rafen escapes; a spunky princess; an evil enemy; sorcery and magic... really well written, with excellent descriptive passages and strong characters." Willemse’s Fledgling Account series follows the story of the young protagonist Rafen, as he escapes from a life of slavery only to discover the role that he must play in the salvation of the world of the Mio Pilamùr and the destruction of its two deadliest enemies: the sorcerer the Lashki Mirah and the mind-bending and heart-poisoning force of Nazt. This series is suitable for a readership of intermediate and high school aged children. Willemse has hoped to introduce the genre of realism fantasy to her audience, as she has deliberately avoided the idealism of such fantasy successes as Harry Potter by portraying a darker world with real evil, real responsibilities and consequences. It’s her prayer that her work – with its dark edge but fierce fighting spirit – will give hope to children and teenagers who have struggled and grown old before their time.
Currently residing in the Waikato, Willemse is a devout Christian. She also works as a singing and piano teacher at two different schools and two different studios.
4. Eileen Mueller
Eileen is a talented writer with stories selected for horror, science fiction and fantasy, as well as children's anthologies. She was first published in Baby Teeth (2013) with her short story “Dad's Wisdom”, and since then has gone from strength to strength. Her first book Dragon's Realm was published (2015).
Winner of SpecFicNZ’s Going Global contest (2013), and first equal in New Zealand Society of Authors NorthWrite Collaboration contest with the short story “Ahi Kaa”. (2013)
Over recent years, Eileen Mueller has become a significant member of New Zealand's science fiction and fantasy community, both as a writer and editor. In 2013 she won first place in SpecFicNZ’s Going Global contest for her sweeping dragon epic Ezara, and later placed first equal in New Zealand Society of Authors NorthWrite Collaboration contest. Her debut novel Dragons Realm was published in the Fairytale Factory’s You Say Which Way interactive fiction series in 2015. Co-editor of The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales, she was also the sub-editor of Lost in the Museum, a Phoenix Writers' title which won the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collected Work.
A talented emerging writer with a passion for fantasy, Eileen Mueller is an excellent candidate for Best New Talent.
Eileen’s website: http://www.eileenmuellerauthor.com/
Co-edited The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales
Sub-editor on Lost in The Museum (Phoenix Writers, 2014)
Dragons Realm: You Say Which Way interactive adventure ( Fairytale Factory, 2015)
Anthologies including Eileen’s work are:
Baby Teeth – Bite-Sized Tales of Terror, (Paper Road Press, 2013)
The Original Twisty Christmas Tales (Phantom Feather Press, 2014)
Disquiet, (Creativa, 2014)
The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales (Phantom Feather Press, 2014)
Lost in The Museum (Phoenix Writers, 2014) Winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award - Best Collection.
Dragon Tales, (Phantom Feather Press, 2015)