Strange Wonders - Shirley Jackson Awards nomination

I'm just going to come right out and say it: I'm absolutely thrilled that my anthology This Dreaming Isle been shortlisted for this year's Shirley Jackson Awards. (I considered phrasing this as some kind of humble brag, but for once my natural British modesty is taking the night off.) It's easy to shrug off awards nominations as little more than a lottery (bonus points for anyone who gets the Shirley Jackson reference there), but for those of us on the receiving end of nominations they mean more than that. For most of us, we spend hours... days... months slaving away on a project, often with little or no feedback, following little more than a trail of breadcrumbs through our own imagination. More often than not, that trail leads us to dead-ends and disappointments - so when it doesn't, it feels like a miracle.

Some people read my book. They enjoyed it. I'm going to celebrate that.

Of course, this isn't just my book. More than almost any other writing project, anthologies are a group effort, everyone pulling together (hopefully, when it works) to create something more than we might have on our own. I truly believe that's the case with This Dreaming Isle - we have a wonderful bunch of authors, and the stories they've produced work perfectly side by side. Congratulations to all of you for getting us onto this shortlist.

It's also great to be on the list alongside such wonderful writers, and so many friends. Catriona Ward and Gary Budden both wrote a story for This Dreaming Isle, but they're here again in the Best Novel and Best Novella categories. Priya Sharma is here too, alongside two other nominations for Michael Kelly's wonderful Undertow Publications. If these are our peers, then we're in fine company.

In case you missed the announcement, here are those nominations in full:


Everything Under, Daisy Johnson (Jonathan Cape)
In the Night Wood, Dale Bailey (John Joseph Adams Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Little Eve, Catriona Ward (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, an imprint of The Orion Publishing Group)
Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton (Double Day/Raven Books)
We Sold Our Souls, Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books)


Judderman, DA Northwood (Gary Budden) (Dead Ink Books/Cinder House Publishing)
The Atrocities, Jeremy C. Shipp (
The Only Harmless Great Thing, Brooke Bolander (
The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky, John Hornor Jacobs (HarperCollins Publishers)
The Taiga Syndrome, Cristina Rivera Garza (Dorothy, a Publishing Project)


“Adriftica,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Robots vs. Fairies)
“Blood and Smoke, Vinegar and Ashes,” D.P. Watt (The Silent Garden)
Ghostographs: An Album, Maria Romasco Moore (Rose Metal Press)
“Help the Witch,” Tom Cox (Help the Witch)
“The Black Sea,” Chris Mason (Beneath the Waves – Tales from the Deep, April 2018)


“Back Seat,” Bracken MacLeod (Lost Highways)
“Hell,” David Hansen (The Charcoal Issue of Fairy Tale Review, March 2018)
“How to be a Horror Writer,” Tim Waggoner (Vastarien: A Literary Journal vol 1., issue 2 – Summer / Grimscribe Press)
“The Astronaut,” Christina Wood Martinez (Granta 142: Animalia)
“The Woman Dies,” Aoko Matsuda, translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton (online edition of Granta 144: genericlovestory)


All the Fabulous Beasts, Priya Sharma (Undertow Publications)
From Deep Places, Gemma Files (Trepidatio Publishing)
Garden of Eldritch Delights, Lucy A. Snyder (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Quartier Perdu, Sean O’Brien (Comma Press)
The Human Alchemy, Michael Griffin (Word Horde)


Chiral Mad 4: An Anthology of Collaborations, edited by Michael Bailey and Lucy A. Snyder (Written Backwards)
Robots vs Fairies, edited by Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien (Saga Press)
The Silent Garden: A Journal of Esoteric Fabulism, edited by The Silent Garden Collective (Undertow Publications)
This Dreaming Isle, edited by Dan Coxon (Unsung Stories)
Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto (Black Balloon)

Finally, a footnote to the awards nomination. By coincidence, I also had a short article published today on the Ginger Nuts of Horror website about the challenges facing publishers of weird fiction. Michael Kelly from Undertow shares his thoughts with me, alongside Nicholas Royle (Nightjar) and Charles Dunphey (Gehenna & Hinnom). If you have any interest in the weird and the strange, from unsettling literary fiction to the great god Cthulhu himself, then please take a look. You can find it here.