Western Australian author Lee Battersby has won Australia’s top horror fiction award, the Australian Shadows Award, for his novelette “The Claws of Native Ghosts” (published in the anthology The Beast Within, edited by Matt Hults, Graveside Tales, USA).

Lee Battersby is one of Australia’s leading speculative fiction short story writers. He has had more than 70 stories published in Australia, USA, and Europe, with many of them collected in Through Soft Air (Prime Books, USA). This is Lee’s second Australian Shadows win. He won the inaugural award in 2005.

His award-winning novelette tells the story of a young colonial soldier in Western Australia’s Swan River Colony, his obsession over a young woman of noble birth, and the malicious Indigenous spirit that allows him to express his love in a brutal and bloody fashion.

The Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) is the peak professional body for Australian authors of dark fiction (horror, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction) and has more than 200 members. The AHWA was founded in 2003, and since its incorporation in 2005, the Association has implemented an annual short story competition, a mentorship programme, online writers forums, a news and article archive, an online bookshop, the fiction magazine Midnight Echo, and The Australian Shadows Award.

The Australian Shadows is an annual literary award presented by the AHWA and judged on the overall effect – the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance – of a work of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian and published either in Australia or overseas. The award was established by Altair Australia, who donated a collection of hand-painted awards created by acclaimed dark fantasy artist Brom and supplied by The Franklin Mint.

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