Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Friday, 10 June 2016

Things Of The Week: 10th June 2016

Bits and pieces of stuff this week. Work on Devil's Highway grinds steadily on, gathering momentum. Fingers crossed, I might just pull this one off.

In other news, the shortlist for the British Fantasy Awards was announced on Monday. Some of you may remember that I posted a few recommendations for the shortlist back in February - and a very gratifying number of them have made the shortlists! Either I'm a major trendsetter, have developed powers of mind control without realising. Or, more likely, I just felt the same way as a majority of voters. The most boring explanations are usually the likeliest.

I'm on one of the juries - for Best Collection, alongside Carole Johnstone and Emma Cosh. The nominations in that category are:

Ghost Summer: Stories, Tananarive Due (Prime Books)
Monsters, Paul Kane (The Alchemy Press)
Probably Monsters, Ray Cluley (ChiZine Publications)
Scar City, Joel Lane (Eibonvale Press)
Skein and Bone, V.H. Leslie (Undertow Publications)
The Stars Seem So Far Away, Margr├ęt Helgad├│ttir (Fox Spirit Books)

We're going to have our work cut out, to say the least. I've read some of the collections, but not others - but there's no doubt it's going to be a close-run thing.

I didn't make the shortlist this year - I hadn't expected to, given the quality of work out there - unless you count The Second Spectral Book Of Horror Stories, which has nominated for Best Anthology and which includes my story 'Horn Of The Hunter.' Despite my (and others') well-documented issues with Spectral Press and issues raised in respect of its TOC, I think it's an excellent anthology and a fine achievement by Mark Morris.

However, someone else did make the shortlist, and this for me was the best news of the whole thing.

Among my recommendations back in February were a short story and a novella, 'When The Moon Man Knocks' and The Bureau Of Them, which in my admittedly biased view were two of the best things published last year. Both of them have been shortlisted, alongside (among others) Nnedi Okorafor, Mark Morris, Priya Sharma, V.H. Leslie, Adam Nevill and Usman Tanveer Malik.

Both pieces are, of course, by Cate Gardner, now also known as Mrs Bestwick. (It's still great to write that!) 'When The Moon Man Knocks,' in particular, is one of the best things Cate's ever written, a heartbreaking and unsettling meditation on grief and loss. It's also packed with oddness and invention, in a world that's half the one we know and half a surreal fairyland - somewhere between Lewis Carroll and early Tim Burton. Cate wrote it shortly after her mum passed away; today would have been Pauline's 71st birthday.

Anyway, I'm hugely proud of and happy for Cate today. Fingers crossed for the awards in September!

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