Rob Shearman, Shirley Jackson and a distinct lack of cynicism

Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical

The winners of the Shirley Jackson Awards were announced over the weekend at ReaderCon 21 and I’m absolutely delighted to see that Rob Shearman was a joint-winner in the Single Author Collection category for his book, Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical. Rob’s been on a roll recently, with the same collection recently winning the Reader’s Prize category of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize as well as garnering several British Fantasy Award nominations (winners to be announced in September). His debut collection, Tiny Deaths, also won a World Fantasy Award in 2008.

If you haven’t yet come across Rob’s work, you’re missing out on something quite extraordinary.  Written with intelligence, wit and warmth, his stories weave fluidly between sorrow and humour, darkness and light, pessimism and hope. They are often disturbing, usually quite strange, and always, always surprising. Rob is among the best writers of short fiction that I’ve come across, possessing an enviable economy of style and absolute mastery of the form. His stories inspire an implicit trust in the reader, right from the very first sentence. You know that you’re in safe hands and you know that the journey — while it might be sometimes joyful and sometimes painful — will undoubtedly be a rewarding one.

You can grab either or both collections via the links on Rob website, and I highly recommend them. There is also a new story, “Cold Snap”, currently online at The Lifted Brow — available for a limited time only, so don’t be tardy.

Awards, Awards, Awards

Because I am not going to allow that last piece of self-indulgence to sit at the top this blog for any longer than necessary, here is the first of my Closing Tabs posts.

Earlier this month, the nominees for the 2010 British Fantasy Awards were announced and I was extremely pleased to see that Rob Shearman has received no less than three well-deserved nods. “Roadkill” and “George Clooney’s Moustache” have been nominated in the Best Novella and Best Short Story categories respectively, and the book in which you can find them both, Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, is also in the running for Best Collection. (It’s also worth noting that “Roadkill” was first published by Twelfth Planet Press, an Australian small press which is producing some truly stunning and significant books.) Love Songs is a brilliant collection, witty and poignant and dark and uplifting all at the same time. I cannot recommend it more highly.

In news closer to home, the somewhat-still-prestigious Miles Franklin Award was won by crime writer Peter Temple for his novel Truth. I haven’t read any of Temple’s work, but it’s great to see genre fiction being recognised in what has been very much the province of capital-L-literary fiction. Could this open the way to more speculative fiction?

Lastly, this year’s Ditmar Award nominations (for works published in the 2009 calendar year) are now open and you can nominate your favourite works on the online nomination form. To help refresh your memory, Tehani Wessely of FableCroft has created a work-in-progress spreadsheet of eligible works over all categories. Feel free to contact her to fill an gaps you might spot.

And that’s half a dozen tabs closed right there!