When is horror not horror?
When it is a horror writer’s pleasure.
Your nightmares are born from a caffine driven euphoria of fiction where words fall from fingertips to take the many shapes that can haunt readers long after they’ve closed the book. When you write to them and tell them how you couldn’t get to sleep, they smile for a job well done. When you blog about how a particular chapter made your skin crawl, it feeds the newborn creatures that stir in the back of the writer’s mind waiting to take shape. Make no mistake, they love what they do and what it does to you. It begs the question: was it good for you?
Australian Shadows Award Nominations for Short Fictiom
Kaaron Warren lives in Canberra, with her husband and two children. They are recently returned from Fiji where they spent three years in the diplomatic corp. Her short story collection The Grinding House, CSFG Publishing (published as The Glass Woman by Prime Books in the US) won the ACT Writers’ and Publishers’ Fiction Award and was nominated for three Ditmar Awards, winning two. Karron also has the distinction of being nominated in both the Long and Short Fiction caragories.
Kaaron has three novels with Angry Robot Books. The critically acclaimed Slights was nominated for an Aurealis Award and made the long list for the British Fantasy Awards and the preliminary ballot for the Stoker Awards. Her award winning short story A Positive had been made into a short film by Bearcage Productions.
Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall was inspired by a terrifying dog I saw in a market in Lami, Fiji. He was arrogant like a handsome man in a bar full of women he thinks he’s better than. He had massive genitals. And I swear he looked me in the eye. I had to write a story about him.
Andrew McKiernan is an author and illustrator living and working on the Central Coast of New South Wales. He has been writing and drawing since a very young age, mainly due to him being athletically incompetent at just about any sport he attempts but quite adept at twirling a pencil between his fingers (that isn’t a sport, is it?). He has variously been; a retailer, a musician, a storeman, a purchasing/logistic manager, a fast-food delivery driver, a bookseller, a trainee paper salesman, a web developer, an occultist and a graphic designer.
Andrew first short story, Calliope: A Steam Romance, was published in the Shadow Plays anthology in 2007 and included on a number of Australian Years’ Best short-lists. Since then his twisted tales of darkness have appeared in Aurealis Magazine, the Black Box e-anthology, CSFG’s Masques anthology and In Bad Dreams 2: Where Death Stalks.
The Message is a story of broken marriages, lost childhood, and the subtle art of taking phone messages. The inspiration for the tale came from a news report following the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004 about a pay-phone in a small general store that began ringing night and day with messages from those who’d drowned in the tsunami to be passed on to their loved ones. The Message has been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award and now an Australian Shadows Award.
Andrew is currently writing more short stories set in the Clowntown universe first hinted at in Calliope: A Steam Romance and The Dumbshow, with All the Clowns in Clowntown slated to appear in Macabre: A Journey Through Australian Horror in late 2010. He’s also settling down to complete his first novel – a dark satire on the insidious effect the Self Help industry has had on publishing and world religion.
Six Suicides is a six-part mini story suite written with the idea that how we live is how we die. And how we live is through our relationships (or, in the story’s parlance, our connections), which we pretty much almost always screw up. Cheery, aren’t I?
Jason Fischer is based in Adelaide, South Australia. He attended Clarion South in 2007, was shortlisted in the 2009 Ditmar Awards for Best New Talent, and is a recent Winner of the Writers of the Future contest. He has stories in Dreaming Again, Apex, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and Aurealis Magazine. His new zombie-apocalypse novella After the World: Gravesend can now be purchased in Australian newsagents and online. He maintains a blog at Live Journal.
My short-listed story for this year’s Shadows Award (Busking – Midnight Echo #3) was also the winner of the 2009 AHWA Short Story Competition. It is based very loosely on actual buskers who frequent Adelaide’s Rundle Mall, albeit catapulted into an apocalyptic situation, forced to continue performing in the face of certain death…
Following the original AHWA prize, several Adelaide buskers found themselves mysteriously donated to by a grateful local author.
Felicity Dowker is an Australian author of dark fiction. Felicity has won the Ditmar and Chronos Awards for her writing, and been shortlisted for the Aurealis and Australian Shadows awards. In between juggling writing, a full-time job in the finance sector, a husband, and two young children, Felicity also reviews for the Specusphere, works as part of the Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine Publishing Cooperative, and is a committee member of the Australian Horror Writers Association. Felicity is currently working on a number of short story projects as well as her first novel. Felicity is also permanently on the brink of exhaustion and complete nervous breakdown…
The Emancipated Dance is a story I’m especially fond of. It’s quite different to my usual style – if, in fact, I even have a usual style (I feel a bit wanky and presumptuous claiming that I do, at this embarrassingly early stage in my fledgeling writing career). The piece is heavy on the imagery and a little abstract, and it’s proudly and provocatively feminist. It came to me when I was pondering masks in relation to another project I was involved with at the time. I really wanted to draw on my feminism and in so doing create something meaningful that I could be passionate about, so I related the masks theme back to the place of women in contemporary society – in a global sense, because there is patriarchy and oppression of women everywhere – and then I got down and dirty with my bad ol’ horror self and covered the ideas I was playing with in blood. And that wasn’t hard to do. Every struggle for basic human rights and freedom from oppression is already bathed in blood, after all.
Best of luck to all of the nominees as the hours tick down to today’s announcement.