The Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) has selected thirteen of the best and scariest works of horror fiction from 2009 as the finalists in the annual Australian Shadows Award, the highest honor for horror, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction in Australia and New Zealand.

This is a landmark year for the award as it has expanded from a single category to three categories: Long Fiction (novels, novellas, and short story collections), Edited Publication (anthologies and magazines), and Short Fiction.

The Australian Shadows finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Long Fiction

  • A Book of Endings by Deborah Biancotti (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Red Queen by H. M. Brown (Penguin Australia)
  • “Wives” by Paul Haines (X6, Coeur de Lion Publishing)
  • The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin (Hachette Australia)
  • Slights by Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot)

Edited Publication

  • Grants Pass, edited by Jennifer Brozek & Amanda Pillar (Morrigan Books)
  • Festive Fear, edited by Stephen Clark (Tasmaniac Publications)
  • Aurealis #42, edited by Stuart Mayne (Chimaera Publications)

Short Fiction

  • “Six Suicides” by Deborah Biancotti (A Book of Endings)
  • “The Emancipated Dance” by Felicity Dowker (Midnight Echo #2)
  • “Busking” by Jason Fischer (Midnight Echo #3)
  • “The Message” by Andrew J. McKiernan (Midnight Echo #2)
  • “The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfalls” by Kaaron Warren (Exotic Gothic 3)

The winners will be determined by guest judges Bill Congreve (editor of the Year’s Best Australian SF & Fantasy series), James Doig (editor of Australian Gothic), and Martin Livings (author of Carnies) will be announced on April 5. The judges for this year’s awards were Craig Bezant, Stephanie Gunn, and Chuck McKenzie.

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 250 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, news and article archives, the fiction magazine Midnight Echo, and The Australian Shadows Award.

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