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Class starts today!

The Horror, The Horror!  Writing Horror Fiction with Substance. 

This class is jointly taught by leading authors who currently are members of the Shirley Jackson Awards Board of Trustees: F. Brett Cox, John Langan, Sarah Langan, and Paul Tremblay. The authors are donating their proceeds to benefit the Shirley Jackson Awards.

This class begins with the assumption that there’s more to horror fiction than brute affect (i.e. shock or revulsion).  In fact, it’s based in the view that horror is as capable of art as any other kind of fiction, which is to say, of addressing a wide-range of concerns to a wide range of results.  Over the space of four weeks, a quartet of today’s leading new writers of horror will take you through the elements that go into constructing a better horror story. 

Central to the class is the idea that a good horror story needs good characters, vividly-drawn individuals in whose fates the reader can invest herself.  Building on that foundation, the class will consider the particular narrative conventions available to the horror writer, the uses to which examples drawn from the horror tradition may be put, the potential for and benefits of narrative experimentation, and drawing on the resources of place and history.  By the end of it, you’ll have a better appreciation of the tremendous possibilities horror fiction continues to offer the ambitious writer.

Go sign up now!

ignore the SPAM

I don't post much on LJ, but am compelled to notify as many of you as I can.  My yahoo account was hacked -- you might receive an email from me that "I am crying as I write this" and am stuck in London.  Not so.  I am fine, and not in London.  That account was hacked and all contacts, emails, etc. are gone.  I am working to resolve the issue now, and will be closing said account if possible.  For now, you can reach me via private message on LJ, and I can give you a new email address.

I am so sorry if you got the spam!
Lots of truly lovely posts on LJ and elsewhere about the 2010 Shirley Jackson Awards. This one, I had to share:


2010 Shirley Jackson Awards winners

A video of the ceremony is available on youtube, here.

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:


Mr. Shivers, Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit)


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


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


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


Occultation, Laird Barron (Night Shade)


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.

2010 Shirley Jackson Awards ceremony

The 2010 Shirley Jackson Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, July 17th at 11am at Readercon.  Victor LaValle, winner of the 2009 Shirley Jackson Award for Novel for Big Machine, will act as host.  Plus, The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc. will recognize Joyce Carol Oates for her work on the Library of America edition of Shirley Jackson's works with their first Board of Directors Special Award. Please join us! 

The nominees can be found here.

And we have wonderful interviews with some of the nominees here.

The value of college

The New Yorker has a "book review" on two publications debtaing the value of college.  I found this a very interesting article, and I hope my friends in academia, especially those who teach at the college level, will find it interesting, too.

Black Death

Going out to the movies is not such an easy task these days, so we ordered in Black Death.  It will be in theaters on Friday.  To say anything about the movie beyond that it is set in 1348 during the Bubonic Plague may telegraph the substance and reason for watching the movie.  (If you are interested in seeing the movie, you may do well to stay clear of reviews.)  Be warned:  some gore.  Overall, I enjoyed the movie, and found the characters interesting and defined, as was the subject matter.  It might have been a function of watching it on "the small screen" but there were occasions where the shaky camera disturbed the viewing experience for me.  I will be seeking out other Christopher Smith movies...


Women in Horror

Maura McHugh wrote about Women in Horror month at Bad Reputation and posted some recommended reads.  Lots of fine writers to check out, including Sarah Langan, who is on the Board of Directors for The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc., and Gemma Files, who is serving a juror.  Sarah Pinborough is a former nominee.  A number of the other writers listed have also been nominees for a Shirley Jackson Award.


Boston Book Festival

Need another reason to visit Boston in the fall?  The Boston Book Festival will take place on October 15, 2011.


Boskone this weekend

I am very much looking forward to this weekend -- Boskone starts Friday!  You should be able to find me behind the Program ops desk when I am not attending one of the many fun and interesting panels planned.  For some of the weekend, I will have Kid-in-Tow.  Check out the "What's New" page to get a run down of all of the latest updates.

(If you'd like to volunteer, come by the clubhouse on Wednesday night, or by the hotel on Thursday late afternoon-evening.)

See you soon!