Happy Halloween, everybody! We hope you're having a great day, regardless of whether you're doing anything special.

And, here is one thing to make this day even better. The results of the 2009 QSQ awards are in and I am pleased to be able to announce them now. We had another strong batch of nominations this year and the committees worked hard to read and evaluate the stories, before coming to some tough decisions. You will notice that we have provided feedback on the winners this year, so you can get an idea of the types of things the judges were saying about the stories. Where there no comments at the moment - don't worry - they'll come!

And so, without further babble from me, the list of winners for the 2009 QSQ Awards is:

Best General Story
One-Shot Winner: The Love of Family by Seren
"The Love of Family is emotional and engaging. This story flows beautifully and is one of those fictions that you have to read over and over again to get everything out of it. This is truly a great piece of writing."
Chaptered Winner: The Letter by Cassandra Cross
"The Letter is one of those stories that starts off interesting, and ends the same way. The plot is engaging, and the characterizations are spot-on. The OCs of the story actually add to it, and the villain is both reasonable and entertaining."

Best Dark/Angsty Story
Winner: Poppy Seeds by fg_weasley
-This story was incredible. I adored Nikki’s description and her insight into the minds of both Lily and Sirius. The emotion was raw and painful and I felt like I was really in the minds of the characters. Their pain was your pain. This piece was simply beautifully written.
Runner-up: A Certain Slant of Light by Hatusu
--I read every single letter, took note of every single punctuation mark. It’s heartbreaking and believable. --The story flows effortlessly and I was completely drawn into the world the author created.

Best Humor Story
Winner: Bare Bottomed Longbottom by leesmiley
A story written with the Weasley twins and no mention of the Golden Trio? That fact alone peaked my interest. Neville is given the chance to prove himself in a way most readers have not had the opportunity to see and the end result was a fun ‘romp’ through the castle during afterhours. Brief run-ins with McGonagall, Filch and even Dumbledore keep the reader on their toes until this special competition is over. Everyone is kept canon and that contributed to the giggles.

Best Romance - Canon Story

One-shot Winner: It Must Be Love by jenny b
-It's the type of story that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside...I really just loved this sweet and fluffy collage of various pairings; each was well-characterised, each was unique and each was well-written...It's a perfect represenation of the canon romance category.
One-shot Runner-up: A Good Shag by DragonDi
-The romance was subtle but there all throughout the fic, and realistic too...The characterisation was particularly strong, including for the more minor characters in the plot such as Sirius and Kingsley...I just loved the humour, the originality and the characterisation.

Chaptered Winner: Someone to Watch Over Me by MagEd
- I really enjoyed the read and found it attention-grabbing...the plot line is very strong and original...The romance was well-done and the story also had a really interesting plot that kept the reader gripped. It was good however, that the relationship remained prominent throughout.
Chaptered Runner-up: A Different View On Love by helz_belz
The main feature of the plot is not something I have seen used before in fanfiction, and it was a really interesting idea...The romance was strong and the relationship developed naturally and in a believable manner.

Best Romance - Non-canon Story
Winner: Dearest Friends by aethershine

Best Romance - Other Character Story
Winner: My Troubled Tyrant by Belledeg for Tom Riddle/Keedie Dante
Runner-up: Things Aren't Always Black and White by padfootsgirl1981 for Sirius Black / Kirsty White

Best Alternate Universe Story
Winner: Astra Inclinant, Non Necessitant by Hermione_Rocks {chaptered}
---It's really interesting to see what remains true to canon and what changes when Harry is a Squib. That, of course, is the entire point of AU, and I think it's well played out in this story. -- I do like the idea of Harry being a Squib and thought the author explained his very different life very successfully. I particularly liked the way she portrayed the Dursleys as loosening up on Harry once he'd got past the age of eleven. He didn't have as much of a hard life.

Best Poetry
Winner: I Am Alive by the opaleye
----I keep imagining a speech choir, one half sussurating the first-person lines, the other half thundering the third-person lines. The halves reverse in the last lines, emphasizing Harry's imminent victory and the defeat of Voldy. The lines are so resonant in your mind and feelings that you know just how it should be read. -The repetition feels like a beating heart..
Runner-up: Hero by Just Tink
--I love the contrast between the first and last lines: "scrabbling" and "hero". That is so Pettigrew. -It feels just like thoughts - chaotic, half-complete - but more importantly it feels like Peter's thoughts, who is a character I have such a hard time understanding. The interpretation of his 'heroism' is a solid and novel one.

Best Marauders' Era Story
Winner: Lions of Gryffindor by Equinox Chick
--In this story, the characterization of the Marauders is wonderful. Equinox Chick has taken what little we know about the Marauders and created believable characters. --There is humour in this story and it is so realistic that this story could be canon.
Runner-up: Growing Pains by starscribe

Best Post-Hogwarts Story
Winner: A Little More Time by Pallas
-This is a mind-blowing, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride of a story filled with twists, turns, and dozens of dreaded but very exciting cliffhangers...Time travel is always tricky, but Pallas has pulled off Teddy's mission to rescue his parents in a very believable, well-explained, and entertaining way...the characterization is vivid and very in character

Best Same-Sex Pairing Story
Winner: Rebel Stars by Mistletoe
- The writing flows well and the characters are very in character...I like that the story doesn't make an issue of it being a same-sex pairing...it's very well written, and there are several lines that are definite gems

Best History/Mystery Story
One-Shot Winner: The Writer by Sainyn Swiftfoot
"A truly gorgeous piece. The way the story was written drew me in from the very beginning and I could feel myself becoming more and more entwined with the narrative from the get-go. I think one of the main advantages of this story is that it manages to make Beedle’s story itself a fairytale-like one."
Chaptered Winner: Recolitus Optimus by megan_lupin
"--This was by far the most mysterious fic I have read, and Sirius' character was nicely portayed.
--The greatness of Recolitus Optimus lies in the historical data the author made up to give the story its mysterious plot. The many different details that are hidden in this two-shot are just extraordinary, and the prophecy is just mind-blowing."


Best Beta Reader
Winner: Amortentia x/Nitwit Blubber Oddment Tweak x
-After reading the recommendation from her beta'ee and looking at her beta thread, I wanted to request her as a beta reader there on the spot! She seems like an excellent beta to work with, very personable and careful with her work.

Best Artist
Winner: Magik 13
"Magik's portfolio shows a wide range of talent and subjects, all related the Harry Potter world and fandom. There's a little something for everybody in Magik's Dean's Corner thread. While I'm not usually a big fan of anime style, Magik's drawings still manage to seem realistic and are just very endearing. Magik also branches out from the anime style occasionally, proving that she knows her stuff."

Best Male Other Character
Winner: Dieter Heydrich in Für das Größere Wohl by Tim the Enchanter
"For the most part the author is allowing us to discover his character through the actions and dialog, and that is great." "Sometimes, characters can get lost in such big plot ideas, but Dieter shines through the background information and world the author has created."

Best Female Other Character
Winner: Alexandra Quick in Alexandra Quick and the Thorn Circle and Alexandra Quick and the Lands Below by Inverarity
"Alexandra is a very believable character. She has flaws, but also many admirable qualities. Her personality and actions seem real and she can absolutely stand on her own outside of HP fanfic. There are very few references to Voldemort of Harry. The most familiar elements are the spells, Quidditch and house elves. This is her own series and Alexandra is more than able to keep a reader's interest. Her background is believeable and you are able to relate to her. She doesn't have a picture perfect life, but she doesn't have a tragic past either. She is a regular girl who happens to be able to do magic. She's brave and stubborn and loyal. She doesn't think things through and she brings much of her trouble on herself."

Runner up: Marissa in Marissa and the Wizards by JCCollier

Best Reviewer
Winner: kumydabookworm
"Wow/OMG. That's how I felt reading all of her reviews. They're very direct, super polite, and absolutely solid. She can go into super detail OR give a very succinct review, and no matter the length, they're stellar reviews. She'll pinpoint an aspect, either good or bad, and say exactly why it was so - as a writer, not merely a reader - and it's feedback that should help the writer to either do the same thing again in the future or improve to get there."

Best Bannermaker
Winner: whomovedmyquil
"--Each aspect of the banner is flawlessly chosen and comes together to make a masterpiece. If you looked up the definition of synthesis in the dictionary, this is what you would see next to it.
--The text, no matter if simple or fancy, always fits in location and colour, expressing in mere words what the graphic conveys in pictures."

Runner-up: MissBean
"--The composition draws you in. Each banner that she produces is a unique work of art, designed to entice the viewer into the scene the banner portrays.
--The way Sara combines different colours with each other, but also grey with colours, is awe-inspiring, and the light effects really draw in the eye and leave you staring at the graphics' brilliance."


And one more thing - you may remember that we held a competition to find the banner to award to the winners this year and I can now reveal that the winner was Minnabird who blew us away with her entry! All the award winners will be receiving a personalised version of Minna's banner in the next few days, but if you would like a sneak preview, you can click here to view an example!