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?
THE SHIRLEY JACKSON AWARD NOMINEES
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)