Jurors announced for The 2011 Shirley Jackson Awards

Boston, MA (September 2011) — In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

The Shirley Jackson Awards are voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors. The awards are given for the best work published in the preceding calendar year in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology.

The jurors for the 2011 Shirley Jackson Awards are, alphabetically:

Laird Barron is the author of two collections: The Imago Sequence, and Occultation, both of which won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Collection. His work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. An expatriate Alaskan, he currently resides in the mountains of Montana. His LiveJournal, Domination of Black, is http://imago1.livejournal.com

Matthew Cheney has published fiction and nonfiction with a wide variety of venues, including One Story, Weird Tales, Locus, Rain Taxi, Las Vegas Weekly, Web Conjunctions, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and elsewhere. He is a regular columnist for the online magazines Strange Horizons and Boomtron, the former series editor forBest American Fantasy, and a past juror for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Fountain Award. He currently lives in New Hampshire, where he teaches at Plymouth State University and The New Hampton School. His blog,The Mumpsimus, was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in 2005.

Maura McHugh’s short stories have appeared in markets such as Black Static, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and Shroud Magazine. She is the writer of two comic book series: Róisín Dubh and Jennifer Wilde, and her story “The Nail” will appears in theWomanthology comic book anthology. One of her screenplays was made into a short film, and she has served on the jury of the Octocon Golden Blaster Awards and the Galway Junior Film Fleadh Pitching Awards. She co-organized the Campaign for Real Fear short horror fiction competition with author Christopher Fowler. She lives in Ireland. Her website is http://splinister.com.

Kaaron Warren has three novels in print: The critically-acclaimed and award-winningSlights, Walking the Tree and Mistification. She has two short story collections, The Grinding House and Dead Sea Fruit. Her short fiction has appeared in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and she was one of the winners of Maura McHugh’s ‘Campaign for Real Fear’. She lives in Canberra, Australia, with her family. Her website is http://kaaronwarren.wordpress.com/

Gary K. Wolfe is contributing editor and reviewer for Locus magazine, and is a board member of the Locus Science Fiction Foundation. He has written considerable academic criticism of science fiction and fantasy, including the Eaton Award-winning The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction. Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996 received the British Science Fiction Association Award for best nonfiction, and both it and Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001 were Hugo Award finalists. Wolfe has also received the SFRA Pilgrim Award, the IAFA Distinguished Scholarship Award, and a World Fantasy Award for criticism and reviews. Evaporating Genres: Essays on Fantastic Literature, appeared in 2011. Wolfe is Professor of Humanities and English at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work. National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novelist Jonathan Lethem has called Jackson “one of this century’s most luminous and strange American writers,” and multiple generations of authors would agree.

Website: ShirleyJacksonAwards.org

Media representatives who are seeking further information or interviews should contact JoAnn F. Cox.

Winners Announced for the 2010 Shirley Jackson Awards

Winners Announced for the 2010 Shirley Jackson Awards

Boston, MA (July 2011)— In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc. has been established for outstanding achievement  in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

The Shirley Jackson Awards are voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors. The awards are given for the best work published in the preceding calendar year in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology.

The 2010 Shirley Jackson Awards were presented on Sunday, July 17th, 2011, at Readercon 22, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Burlington, Massachusetts. Victor LaValle, winner of the 2009 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, acted as host.

The winners for the 2010 Shirley Jackson Awards are:

NOVEL
Mr. Shivers, Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit)

NOVELLA
“Mysterium Tremendum,” Laird Barron (Occultation, Night Shade)

NOVELETTE
“The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains,” Neil Gaiman (Stories: All-New Tales, William Morrow)

SHORT STORY
“The Things,” Peter Watts (Clarkesworld, Issue 40)

SINGLE-AUTHOR COLLECTION
Occultation, Laird Barron (Night Shade)

EDITED ANTHOLOGY
Stories: All-New Tales, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio (William Morrow)

The first Board of Directors Special Award was presented to Joyce Carol Oates for her work on the Library of America edition of Shirley Jackson’s works.

Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work.

Websites:
ShirleyJacksonAwards.org
Readercon.org
Media representative who are seeking further information or interviews should contact JoAnn F. Cox.
Charles Tan Interviews Tim Lebbon

Tim Lebbon

Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. How did you come up with the concept for The Thief of Broken Toys?

This was one of those strange ones where I had a title first.  That might sound glib, but it’s worked for me several times now, and each time I’ve come up with a story of which I’m very proud to actually attach the title to (The Reach of Children, Mannequin Man and the Plastic Bitch, and The Thief of Broken Toys).  So, the title was there, and then Brett Savory asked me to write something for ChiZine Publications.  I thought around this title a bit, and knew that I wanted this to be something heartfelt, unusual, and also a little experimental.    The story took root with the thief, and everything else flowed very nicely from there.  It became a very challenging story to write––it’s about the terrible pain of grief––but it was also quite cathartic as well.  Since my mother died five years ago, I’ve written a lot about grief, what it can do to a person, and how it is a different experience for everyone.

Early in the story, you shift perspective from second person to first person to third person. What made you decide to utilize this technique and what were the challenges in doing so?

As I said above, with this novella I felt a real desire to stretch my writery wings a little.  It was refreshing coming straight off a novel to write a novella for CZP, because it could have been anything I wanted it to be.  There were no boundaries and no restrictions, and I wanted to try something difficult, and unusual.  I love the second person passages in this story.  Some people insist that it’s almost impossible to pull off successfully, but I think it suits the story perfectly––no one really knows who or what my thief is, so who’s to say he can’t view all the story’s characters from a distance, all the time?  I think it also gives the reader a sense of omnipotence, while the guts of the story is still a very intense, emotional dialogue in Ray’s mind.  In short … I just wanted to try something different.

In your opinion, what are the strengths of the novella format, and how is it a good fit for The Thief of Broken Toys?

I absolutely love writing novellas.  For me, they rarely present me with the same scope problems that a novel might––worries about the middle part, concerns at illogical plot twists.  And they also flow easier for me than short stories, probably because I can stretch my wings a little and get into things a little deeper.  I think the novella suits genre fiction, and especially horror or dark fantasy stories, perfectly.

I’ve become pretty good at working out stories to suit a length if I have to––if I’m writing a novel, I’m OK at coming up with a novel-length idea.  And with novellas, it’s not just a case of snatching a short story idea and expanding it.  The most successful novellas feel novella length at very early planning and note-taking stages.  The Thief of Broken Toys always was going to be this length, because it has a depth and breadth that a short story would not serve.

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Charles Tan Interviews Peter Dube

Peter Dube

Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. How did you settle on Rene Crevel and what is it about him that initially interested you?

My interest in Crevel grew out of an interest in surrealism more generally, which I discovered way back in my adolescence and which grew to become an obsession of mine in no time. I loved its investment in the play of language, in dreams, desire and liberation, as well as its exploration of the unconscious and the way in which different spaces of life overlap with, and influence, each other.

Crevel became a special case of these interests for me; in some ways he tested their limits – by the particularly radical positions he held, by being a writer focused on prose in a movement primarily composed of poets, by his tragic suicide and the ambiguity surrounding it, by his ability to move in and out of many different parts of society, by his not-particularly-hidden homosexuality and the fact that it managed to get past Breton without censure. Crevel was a both a committed and independent surrealist. I thought that was very, very interesting.

So, I thought I would take a few of the bare facts of his life as a starting point for speculation and fantasy, for extrapolation and a game of “what if?” and see what happened.

What kind of research did you have to do?

Actually, because of my long-standing interest in surrealism I didn’t need to do all that much research really. I’d already read many of the movement’s key texts and a whole lot of scholarly and critical writing about it. I did read through Crevel’s work again, and a standard biography. I tracked down some stuff online too. But it was less onerous that it might have been if I weren’t already so familiar, and involved, with surrealism.

When you started writing, did you know that it would be a novella? What is it about the novella format that interests you?

Yes, I think I knew from the beginning that Subtle Bodies would take shape as a novella.

I can recall Steven Millhauser saying in an interview something along the lines of “who can resist the novella”… and I’d tend to agree with him. There’s something about the length that combines elements of what is so great in the close-up focus of the short story with a little bit of the range of the novel; this makes it an especially versatile length, intense but not rigid. Short enough to not have to explain everything, but long enough to dream a bit.

And being so wonderfully “in between”, as it were, it felt like a good fit with a piece of writing that’s deliberately hybrid, like Subtle Bodies with its blend of fact and fiction, dream and memory.

Please help support the Shirley Jackson Awards. Click here for details.

Charles Tan Interviews Richard Butner

Richard Butner

What was the inspiration for Holderhaven? (The title, the setting, etc.)

I wanted to write more architectural fiction. A few years ago I wrote a haunted modernist house story (“House of the Future”) and then I started thinking about a secret passage story. Why was that secret passage there? What baggage did the passage carry? The inspiration for the house itself is the Reynolda House in Winston-Salem, my hometown. It was the country house of the tobacco magnate, R.J. Reynolds, even though he only lived there for a short time. Much of the planning of the estate was done by Katharine Reynolds. I want to make it extremely clear that none of the grisly events that I hint at in my story happened in the Reynolda House. (Although Smith Reynolds died there under mysterious circumstances.) Nor, as far as I know, is there a secret passage in the Reynolda House. There is a bowling alley, though, and a fabulous bar, and I was happy to steal those. I was also thinking of even bigger places like Biltmore House. The names of these houses always incorporate the family name in some way, so that’s how I got “Holderhaven.” And now many of these houses are preserved and curated tourist attractions.

I also wanted to see how much about race and gender and class I could talk about in the story, and to explore my own love/hate relationship with the trapped-in-time country houses of Gilded Age magnates. Folks trundle through places like Biltmore now, and everyone imagines what it must’ve been like to be a Vanderbilt, but not everyone ponders what it must’ve been like to be one of the servants.

What were the challenges in writing the piece?

I knew that I wanted to skip around in time, and at first I was unsure how to handle that. I realized a direct approach was the best way–just tell the reader, at the beginning of a section, what year it is. So you get all these little pieces of history related to the house, and you can fit them together however you want. The story crosses generations, and surely there are some other people in this fictional town who actually know the whole score, but I didn’t concern myself with them much because they weren’t likely to talk. They were exactly the type who would want to erase anything with a whiff of scandal. But the funny thing about the extremely rich is, at some point they think they’re immune to scandal. They think they can’t be touched by it, even if they’re trying to hide it in plain sight.

It’s also a detective story, so I wanted to give Rudy some actual detecting to do, even though anyone who has ever read Raymond Chandler knows that the mystery is never really solved, ever, and the detective is always looking for himself. But I wanted to use details to imply the story. I don’t want to write stories that can’t breathe, where every detail is explained to death.

What’s the appeal of the novelette format for you?

Honestly, I had no idea that this was a novelette until the award nomination, when I ran a word count. Certainly, not as many short fiction markets want a novelette-length piece. I am usually a pretty terse kind of guy, as this interview reveals. The appeal is that I have room to touch on the things I mentioned earlier: race and gender and class. And I can do it through multiple characters, but I still have to do it very economically. Rudy is the main character but this story is not just about him. The armature of the story is there, but I can hang things off of it that are related in non-obvious ways. I don’t have to observe Aristotelian unities as much. Not that I observe them much anyway.

Please help support the Shirley Jackson Awards. Click here for details.