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)
- 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)
- 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)
- “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!