Madigan Mine Cover!

I’ve spent the last week proofing the final pages of Madigan Mine, with help from my wonderful Jason who picked up a couple significant errors as well as a handful of minor typos.  The corrected copy has been sent to my editor this morning, which means that my work here is pretty much done. Until publication, at least.

So I thought I’d celebrate by posting this beautiful cover that the wonderful people at PanMacmillan came up with. Hmm. Typeset pages. Pretty cover art. Looks like I’m actually going to have a book published in August!

Madigan Mine Cover

Cover for Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott


Shirley Jackson Awards – Nominations

This year’s nominations for the Shirley Jackson Awards have been announced and I’m delighted to see that Margo Lanagan has been included for her excellent novella, “Sea Hearts”. The novella was published in X6, the same collection that harbours the dark, disturbing and utterly brilliant “Wives” by Paul Haines. If you haven’t got a copy yet, what are you waiting for?

I’ll post the full list of nominees below, but I thought I’d take a moment to quote from the beginning of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson herself. It’s a wonderful novel, one of my favourites, and the opening is sublime:

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.

How can you not want to keep reading after that?


In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

The Shirley Jackson Awards are voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors. The awards are given for the best work published in the preceding calendar year in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology.

Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work.

The Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented at Readercon 21, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Burlington, Massachusetts. Nalo Hopkinson, Readercon Guest of Honor, will act as host.


* Big Machine, Victor LaValle (Speigel & Grau)
* Last Days, Brian Evenson (Underland Press)
* The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters (Riverhead)
* The Owl Killers, Karen Maitland (Delacorte Press)
* The Red Tree, Caitlin R. Kiernan (Roc)
* White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi (Nan A. Talese)


* The Language of Dying, Sarah Pinborough, (PS Publishing)
* Midnight Picnic, Nick Antosca (Word Riot Press)
* “Sea-Hearts,” Margo Lanagan (X6, coeur de lion)
* Shrike, Quentin Crisp (PS Publishing)
* Vardøger, Stephen Volk (Gray Friar Press)
* The Witnesses are Gone, Joel Lane (PS Publishing)


* “Catch Hell,” Laird Barron (Lovecraft Unbound, Dark Horse)
* “Each Thing I Show You Is a Piece of My Death,” Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer, (Clockwork Phoenix 2, Norilana Books)
* “Lonegan’s Luck,” Stephen Graham Jones (New Genre 6)
* “Morality,” Stephen King (Esquire)
* The Night Cache, Andy Duncan (PS Publishing)


* “The Crevasse,” by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud (Lovecraft Unbound, Dark Horse)
* “Faces,” Aimee Bender (The Paris Review, Issue 191, Winter 2009)
* “The Jacaranda Smile,” Gemma Files (Apparitions, Undertow Publications)
* “The Pelican Bar,” Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse 3, Night Shade)
* “Procedure in Plain Air,” Jonathan Lethem (The New Yorker, April 5, 2010)
* “Strappado,” Laird Barron (Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, Solaris)


* Everland and Other Stories, Paul Witcover (PS Publishing)
* Fugue State, Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press)
* Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, Robert Shearman (Big Finish Productions)
* There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (Penguin)
* Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, Kevin Wilson (Harper Perennial)
* Zoo, Otsuichi (Haikasoru/VIZ Media)


* Apparitions, edited by Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)
* British Invasion, edited by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon, and James A. Moore (Cemetery Dance)
* Exotic Gothic 3: Strange Visitations, edited by Danel Olson (Ash Tree Press)
* Lovecraft Unbound, edited by Ellen Datlow (Dark Horse)
* Poe: 19 New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow (Solaris)

Australian Shadows Award

The Australian Shadows Award is presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association and is the highest honour for horror, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction in Australia and New Zealand. As I convened the Award for a couple of years not so long ago, it holds a special place in my dark little heart. And I’m absolutely delighted to see that two of my favourite writers — Kaaron Warren and Deb Biancotti — are in the winners’ circle this year. Really, you can’t go wrong in reading anything either of these amazing women put to paper.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Long Fiction:
Slights by Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot)

Edited Publication:
Grants Pass, edited by Jennifer Brozek & Amanda Pillar (Morrigan Books)

Short Fiction:
“Six Suicides” by Deborah Biancotti (
A Book of Endings)

Judges reports from the guest judges and preliminary judging panel can be read here.

Well done to all of the winners and to everyone who made the shortlist. It was a very competitive field this year which bodes well for the future of dark fiction in this country.

Google Books

An excellent dissection and summary of the Google Book Settlement by Annalee Newitz at io9 lives here. Newitz discusses many of the pros and cons of the GBS and offers some insightful speculation about the future of publishing, selling and reading books. Definitely worth a look for anyone wanting a succinct guide to this  convoluted and often hotly-debated topic.

I’m a big fan of Google. For the most part. But sometimes I do worry about what will happen if and/or when the company gets taken over by people who don’t really subscribe to the company’s much-vaunted “Don’t Be Evil” mantra . . .