The Australian Shadows Award, or why I will soon have a new skull on the mantlepiece …

Australian Shadows Award 2013Wow. Perfections just won the Australian Shadows Award for Best Novel. I have no words . . . well, almost none. Hey, I’m a writer. If I had absolutely no words, it would mean I was dead or something, right? As you can see, though, they are not good words I am having right now. 🙂

The trophy is marvellously macabre this year: a replica of a human skull, emblazoned with the AHWA logo, mounted on a wooden stand and engraved with the name of the winner — all hand made by a Melbourne company by the name of Nightshade FX whose other wares I might have to investigate in the none too distant future. It’s going to look amazing next to my cat skeleton!

It comes as a genuine surprise as well. The announcements were made on Facebook a short time ago — welcome to the future — and I tuned in fully expecting the see either Lee Battersby or Jason  Nahrung announced the winner. (Hoping for Jason, naturally. With all conceivable digits crossed. Sorry, Lee, but I’m sure you understand.) So it’s all quite delightful, really. That’s all I have. Delightful. Gah. I’m sure the all wicked words will come back tomorrow.

The full list of very worthy winners are as follows:

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NOVEL
:

  • Kirstyn McDermott, Perfections (Xoum)

LONG FICTION:

  • Kaaron Warren, “Sky” (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)*

SHORT FICTION:

  • Martin Livings, “Birthday Suit” (Living with the Dead, Dark Prints Press)

COLLECTION:

  • Kaaron Warren, Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press)*

EDITED PUBLICATION:

  • Surviving the End, ed Craig Bezant (Dark Prints Press)

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* Pro Tip: If you haven’t yet read Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren then you are totally missing out on some of the best — and I mean best — Australian gothic fiction being written today. Get thee to Twelfth Planet Press and procure thyself a copy forthwith. And if you won’t take my word for it, look: the damn book won TWO awards tonight! Go! Procure! Read! You’ll never want to go near candied almonds again, and that’s all I’m saying.

 

Australian Shadows Award 2012 Finalists

AHWASo I go off to Melbourne for a weekend of D&D and podcasting and while I’m away the finalists for the Australian Shadows Award are announced. Most wonderfully, Perfections managed to land a berth in the Novel category — up against Lee Battersby and some guy name Nahrung. Yep, me and Jason, together again on an awards short list. This could get interesting …

Congratulations to one and all, but especially to the remarkable Kaaron Warren who managed an impressive five finalist spots — one for her Twelve Planets collection, Through Splintered Walls, and one for each of the four stories contained within it. Very well deserved!

The Australian Shadows Award will be announced on 12 April and the full short list is as follows:

NOVEL:

  • Lee Battersby, The Corpse Rat King (Angry Robot)
  • Kirstyn McDermott, Perfections (Xoum)
  • Jason Nahrung, Blood and Dust (Xoum)

LONG FICTION:

  • Daniel I Russell, “Critique” (Dark Continents)
  • Robert Hood, “Escena de un Asesinato” (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)
  • Kaaron Warren, “Sky” (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)

SHORT FICTION:

  • Felicity Dowker, “To Wish on a Clockwork Heart” (Bread and Circuses, Ticonderoga Publications)Jason Fischer, Pigroot Flat (Midnight Echo 8, AHWA)
  • Martin Livings, “Birthday Suit” (Living with the Dead, Dark Prints Press)
  • Andrew J McKiernan, “They Don’t Know that We Know What They Know” (Midnight Echo 8, AHWA)
  • Kaaron Warren, “Creek” (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Kaaron Warren, “Mountain” (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Kaaron Warren, “Road” (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Marty Young, “A Monstrous Touch” (Dangers Untold, Alliteration Ink)

COLLECTION:

  • Felicity Dowker, Bread and Circuses (Ticonderoga)
  • Martin Livings, Living With the Dead (Dark Prints Press)
  • Kaaron Warren, Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press)

EDITED PUBLICATION:

  • Cthulu Unbound 3, eds David Conyers and Brian M Sammons (Permuted Press)
  • Surviving the End, ed Craig Bezant (Dark Prints Press)
  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2011, eds. Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)

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Australian Shadows Award winners announced!

AHWA

I awoke this morning to the wonderful news that my short story, “She Said” (from Scenes from the Second Storey), has won an Australian Shadows Award! I think this is one of the best stories I’ve written and I’m so very, very pleased to see it recognised.

This annual literary award is presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association and is judged on the overall effect – the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance – of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian.

From the Judge’s report:

The story that resonated the most with me, and which came back to me at odd hours of the day for a week after reading, was Kirstyn McDermott’s “She Said.” McDermott’s story embodies all the qualities of the others: sadness, cruelty, bizarreness, and originality. Her imagery is deeply disturbing because it seems so right in the story. She has created a man so evil, so foul, and yet so attractive and lovable that I was conflicted as I read as to whether he was really evil or simply misunderstood. This trick, I think, is what makes McDermott’s story a brilliant one.

If you’d like to read the story for yourself, Morrigan Books has made it available as a free download from their website. The link will only be valid for a limited time in the run up to the Ditmar Awards, for which the story has been nominated. (Also available at that same link is “The Blind Man” by Felicity Dowker, a fellow Ditmar nominee.)

Congratulations to all the Australian Shadows winners and nominees:

LONG FICTION: Under Stones by Bob Franklin (Affirm Press)

Also Nominated:

  • Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott (Picador Australia)
  • The Girl With No Hands by Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healy (Allen & Unwin)
  • Bleed by Peter M. Ball (Twelfth Planet Press)

EDITED PUBLICATION: Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears, edited by Angela Challis & Marty Young (Brimstone Press)

Also Nominated:

  • Scenes From The Second Storey, edited by Amanda Pillar & Pete Kempshall (Morrigan Books)
  • Dark Pages 1, edited by Brenton Tomlinson (Blade Red Press)
  • Scary Kisses, edited by Liz Gryzb (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Midnight Echo #4, edited by Lee Battersby (AHWA)

SHORT FICTION: “She Said” by Kirstyn McDermott (Scenes from the Second Storey)

Also Nominated:

  • “Bread and Circuses” by Felicity Dowker (Scary Kisses)
  • “Brisneyland by Night” by Angela Slatter (Sprawl)
  • “All The Clowns In Clowntown” by Andrew J. McKiernan (Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears)
  • “Dream Machine” by David Conyers (Scenes from the Second Storey)

As an added sweetener for me, the judge’s report for the Long Fiction category includes a lovely write-up of my novel, Madigan Mine:

Madigan Mine (Kirstyn McDermott) is a truly frightening novel of obsession and the paranormal, related in a recognisably Australian tone. With a gripping plot revolving around destructive relationships, addictive personalities, and genuinely Evil machinations, this novel is absolutely ‘unputdownable’, and may well come to be considered a genre classic against which future Australian dark fiction is judged.

Ah … I’ll be able to bask in the Australian Shadows glow for weeks!

Australian Shadows Awards Finalists Announced

AHWA

Here’s some very shiny news indeed! The finalists for the 2010 Australian Shadows Awards have just been announced and I’ve managed to get myself shortlisted twice!

This annual literary award is presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association and is judged on the overall effect – the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance – of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian.

I’m incredibly pleased to have both a novel (Madigan Mine) and a short story (“She Said” from Scenes from the Second Storey) make the final cut in such a strong field. Seriously, just take a look at the other names included on the list of finalists:

LONG FICTION

  • Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott (Picador Australia)
  • The Girl With No Hands by Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healy (Allen & Unwin)
  • Under Stones by Bob Franklin (Affirm Press)
  • Bleed by Peter M. Ball (Twelfth Planet Press)

EDITED PUBLICATION

  • Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears, edited by Angela Challis & Marty Young (Brimstone Press)
  • Scenes From The Second Storey, edited by Amanda Pillar & Pete Kempshall (Morrigan Books)
  • Dark Pages 1, edited by Brenton Tomlinson (Blade Red Press)
  • Scary Kisses, edited by Liz Gryzb (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Midnight Echo #4, edited by Lee Battersby (AHWA)

SHORT FICTION

  • “Bread and Circuses” by Felicity Dowker (Scary Kisses)
  • “Brisneyland by Night” by Angela Slatter (Sprawl)
  • “She Said” by Kirstyn McDermott (Scenes from the Second Storey)
  • “All The Clowns In Clowntown” by Andrew J. McKiernan (Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears)
  • “Dream Machine” by David Conyers (Scenes from the Second Storey)

The winners of the Australian Shadows Award will be announced on 15 April 2011.

A hearty congratulations to all the finalists!

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.