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!

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Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot

Horror Writers Association

It’s only a first step, but I’ve just found out that Madigan Mine has been included in the First Novel category on the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards. This long list will be voted on by the membership of the HWA in order to winnow down the candidates to just four in each category for the final ballot from which the award is chosen. Still, it’s very exciting to see my book included even at this stage — especially as I appear to be the sole non-North American in the First Novel category (Gemma Files is Canadian; everyone else, I believe hails from the USA).

I also note with no small amount of pride and joy that Scenes from the Second Storey (edited by Amanda Pillar and Peter Kempshall) has been listed on the prelim ballot in the Anthology category. It’s a brilliant book and I’m not just saying so because I have a story in it. 😉  I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t turn up on other Awards lists as the year progresses.

Twelve Planets (and two reviews)

Twelfth Planet Press

This is something I’ve necessarily been keeping under my hat for a while, but now I am very proud to report the following update regarding the Twelve Planets series forthcoming from Twelve Planets Press:

Who Are the Twelve Planets?

Margo Lanagan, Lucy Sussex, Rosaleen Love, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren, Cat Sparks, Sue Isle, Kirstyn McDermott, Narrelle M Harris, Thoraiya Dyer, Stephanie Campisi.

What Are the Twelve Planets?

The Twelve Planets are twelve boutique collections by some of Australia’s finest short story writers. Varied across genre and style, each collection will offer four short stories and a unique glimpse into worlds fashioned by some of our favourite storytellers. Each author has taken the brief of 4 stories and up to 40 000 words in their own direction. Some are quartet suites of linked stories. Others are tasters of the range and style of the writer. Each release will bring something unexpected to our subscriber’s mailboxes.

When Are the Twelve Planets

The Twelve Planets will spread over 2011 and 2012, with six books released between February and November each year. The first three titles will be Nightsiders by Sue Isle (March), Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts (May) and the third collection will be by Lucy Sussex (July).

How to Receive the Twelve Planets

The Twelve Planets will be available for purchase in several ways:

  • Single collections will be priced at $20/$23 International each including postage.
  • A season’s pass will offer the three collections of the season for $50/$65 International including postage and each sent out on release.
  • Full subscriptions to the series are $180/$215 International including postage and each sent out on release.

More information relating to upgrades, ebooks and distribution will be made available in due course. Please visit the Twelfth Planet Press website for more details.

In other news, two short stories of mine have garnered brief but satisfying mentions in reviews this month.

Scenes from the Second Storey (edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall) received a lengthy and very positive write-up on HorrorScope in which Shane Jiraiya Cummings notes:

She Said” by Kirstyn McDermott is another standout, an almost painfully personal sketch of an artist, Josh, and his girlfriend, Mallory. There are strong surrealistic touches in this story, but unlike other, more bizarre tales, “She Said” is held together with well-realised characters and an internally consistent world. As McDermott says in her afterword, this story is about “masochistic muses”. There is a thread of need pervading this story, and that neediness feels dirty, both for the characters and the reader. Darkness doesn’t get much more personal than this.

Also in Horrorscope, the anthology Macabre (edited By Angela Challis and Marty Young) is highly recommended by Tony Owens who says of my piece:

Kirstyn McDermott’s story of Melbourne goths and a nasty little secret, “Monsters Among Us”, has the virtue of sounding like the author had eavesdropped on a real group of people. The dialogue has an exciting verisimiltude that is sometimes lacking in dark fiction.

And that’s probably more than enough preening for one day! Back to the bunker, McDermott.

Scenes from the Second Storey

Scenes from the Second Storey

Scenes from the Second Storey

Somehow I forgot to officially note here that I will have a story in a forthcoming anthology from Morrigan Books, Scenes from the Second Storey. It was a strange piece to write. It’s a concept anthology, based on the debut album from 1990’s alterno-rock band The God Machine. Each writer was allocated a song from the album and asked to write a story in some way inspired by or related to it. The song titles became the titles of the stories. I’m really looking forward to seeing what some of the other writers have come up with.

My song (“She Said”) fitted very well with a vague idea I’d been carrying around for a while, and helped to solidify it and fill in some much needed gaps. It’s a story I still really love — it was easy to write on some ways, and very difficult in others. It’s also the most autobiographical story I’ve ever written, though probably not in any of the ways you’ll think.

Scenes will be out in September 2010, presumably in time for WorldCon. Here’s the full ToC for your droolworthy pleasure:

Dream Machine – David Conyers
She Said – Kirstyn McDermott
The Blind Man – Felicity Dowker
I’ve Seen The Man – Paul Haines
The Desert Song – Andrew McKiernan
Home – Martin Livings
It’s All Over – L.J. Hayward
Temptation – Trent Jamieson
Out – Stephen Dedman
Ego – Robert Hood
Seven – Stephanie Campisi
Purity – Kaaron Warren
The Piano Song – Cat Sparks