Australian Shadows AwardsThe Australian Shadows are annual literary awards presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) and judged on the overall effect – the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance – of published horror fiction written or edited by an Australian.

The Australian Horror Writers Association is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Australian Shadows Awards. Congratulations to the winners, selected by an international panel of judges, each an authority on the Horror genre.

Read below for the judge’s comments for each of the winners.

Winner – Edited Publication – Russell B. Farr Dead Red Heart

But Russell B. Farr and a plethora of writers I had barely even heard of changed my mind [about more Vampire stories] and did it so well in the case of Joanne Anderton that I have put her on my list of writers I need to keep up with pretty much forever. “The Sea At Night” would have made that anthology worth the cost alone, but none of the stories in there fell short for me. Once again, with feeling, the judges might have haggled a bit here and there, but at the end of the day there was simply no contest. The honourable mentions are damned fine works, but Dead Red Heart is just plain an amazing collection of stories.

Winner – Short Fiction – Amanda J. Spedding – “Shovel Man Joe”

Not only is “Shovel Man Joe” a truly amazing story, not only is it the perfect length, the perfect level of detail and the perfect synchronization of character, pacing and horror, it’s also an ideal example of cross-genrefication (Yes, I know that’s not really a word, but I don’t have a proper single word for “a perfect fusion of multiple genres and an example of why writers should feel obligated to stretch the boundaries of what they can achieve within their chosen fields”). Not only is it one of the best horror stories I’ve ever read, it’s also one of the best steampunk tales I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

If you have not taken the time to read Ms. Spedding’s simply incredible tale, you should immediately set out to rectify that problem.

Winner – Collected Works – Brett McBean – Tales of Sin and Madness

It isn’t just a damned fine collection of stories. The stories themselves are universally powerful works. McBean had some mighty fine competition, but he beat them out in winning the admiration of the judges. It’s exactly that simple. The stories collectively rose above their competition and that competition was damned stiff. No one who made it to honourable mention did so without earning the right to be there.

Winner – Long Fiction – Paul Haines – “The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt”

Paul Haines’ ‘The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt’ rose higher than the rest. Here was a tale that mixed fiction with reality in Paul’s unique way, merging the line between what’s real and what isn’t until you felt uncomfortable. It was at once horrifying and highly emotional.

The 2012 Australian Shadows Awards are open for submissions. The awards are open to submission of any horror fiction published (or anthologies edited) by an Australian/New Zealand/Oceania resident or citizen in the 2012 calendar year — submissions until February 28th 2013.

The Shadows are awarded to the stories and collections that best typify the horror genre, delivering a sense of ‘creeping dread,’ leaving the reader with chills and a reluctance to turn out the light.

Details can be found on the AHWA website.

All enquiries to Robert Datson ([email protected])

The Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) is a non-profit organisation that formed unofficially in 2003 as a way of providing a unified voice and a sense of community for Australian writers of dark fiction, while helping the development and evolution of this genre within Australia.

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