• Shirley Jackson Awards
    News,  Writing

    2011 Shirley Jackson Awards Short-list

    For the past six months I’ve been serving on the jury of the Shirley Jackson Awards. It’s been time-consuming and far more work than I anticipated, but it’s also been richly rewarding. I’ve enjoyed reading extensively across the fields of dark fantasy and horror, I’ve discovered new authors, and developed a deeper appreciation for firm favourites. At last, the 2011 Shirley Jackson Awards Nominees has been announced: NOVEL The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock (Doubleday) The Dracula Papers, Reggie Oliver (Chômu Press) The Great Lover, Michael Cisco (Chômu Press) Knock Knock, S. P. Miskowski (Omnium Gatherum Media) The Last Werewolf, Glen Duncan (Canongate Books, Ltd.) Witches on the Road…

  • News

    BFS Awards juror

    It’s been officially announced: I’m a member of the inaugural jury for the 2012 British Fantasy Awards. My fellow jurors are: James Barclay Hal Duncan Esther Sherman Damien G. Walter So I’m in excellent company. I’m currently in the last throes of reading for the Shirley Jackson Awards, so I’ll be keeping the momentum going into the BFS Awards. I will enjoy being given a short-list of material to read, and not every title/story that’s eligible. If you’re a member of the BFS please nominate your peers for this year’s Awards, and give the jury grounds for a lively debate. I may not want to read anything else for a…

  • Fiction

    marvellous mirren

    Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren has just been given the Sherry Lansing leadership award at a breakfast ceremony, organised by The Hollywood Reporter magazine, to honour the Women in Entertainment Power 100. I’d highly recommend you watch the video of her acceptance speech, which is just marvellous. Not only does she recognise how much women have achieved in recent years, she also points out the continuing disparities in the industry and takes particular issue that Hollywood “continues to worship at the altar of the 18 to 25-year-old male and his penis.” She stresses how affirming it was to her ambitions that her parents believed a woman could do anything, notes the…

  • Conventions

    the snow convention

    We had more snow in the early hours of the morning, but it made getting around Wexford somehow easier today. Last night the short walk back to our guest house was a little tricky due to all the ice. Today a few brave souls dared the snow to join our coterie of sf/fantasy fans, although most had to head back in the afternoon before it froze again. The picture above is from the official opening of the new sf/fantasy/horror book store Alien8 in Wexford by the town’s native son, novelist Eoin Colfer. Over 200 people turned up on the day despite the snow (I couldn’t even squeeze in!). Alien8 also…

  • Writing

    three secrets of writing

    The picture on the right is Sir Terry Pratchett twenty years ago when he attended the first Octocon convention in Ireland as Guest of Honour. It was early in his career, and I remember him as affable, friendly and willing to socialise with the fans (not always the case with authors). The convention introduced me to his work, and I’ve been an admirer of his Discworld novels ever since. Today, Pratchett has sold over 70 million books worldwide and his hair is much whiter. He’s also coping with early-onset Alzheimer’s with rare honesty, as evidenced in last year’s two-part BBC documentary. Pratchett is currently in Trinity College Dublin for a…

  • News,  Writing

    NaNoWriMo Go

    November 1st has rolled around in Ireland and weather-wise it’s right on season: wet, windy and grey. Some of the trees are already stripped of leaves, while others are hanging on to their cover. On my drive to the woods there is a section on the last elbow of road that has a complete avenue of native, mature deciduous trees. Their branches create a canopy over my car as I pass under them. During the summer it’s a glowing green roof, and during the autumn it’s a russet net that shakes shining, wet gold leaves upon the path. It’s like goldfish drifting down to swim in the road flooded with their brethren.…

  • Fiction,  Reviews,  Screenwriting

    d day

    On this day in 1897 a book called Dracula was published for the first time. In a strange bout of synchronicity my screenwriting group is looking at three screen adaptations of Dracula: Dracula (1931), the BBC mini-series Count Dracula (1977), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). Afterwards, we’re going to a screening of the marvellous Swedish vampire film, Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In – 2008). I’d been tipped off about the 1970s BBC version while doing research for the public interview with Kim Newman last month. Everyone who’d seen it heaped the adaptation with high praise, so I was interested in watching it. The series was…

  • Conventions,  Fiction,  Ireland,  News

    children's book conference

    The children and young adult fiction markets are awash in speculative fiction writers, which is wonderful. Adults often read this fiction, sometimes because they come to it via their children, and often because young adult fiction is damn good. Irish fans should therefore be interested in the Children’s Books Ireland conference, which takes place from 16-17 May in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. The theme this year is Challenge and Change in Children’s Books, and there is a big range of Irish and international writers at this year’s event. On the home front, Ireland is well represented by the talents of Celine Kiernan (The Poison Throne), Andrew Whitson and…

  • Fiction,  Ireland

    vote for your favourite Irish book

    Irish readers should be interested to know that voting is now open in the Irish Book Awards. Select your favourite book in each of the ten categories, and you’re added to a draw where three winners will receive €250 of National Book Tokens. That’s a prize I would love to win! Voting closes on May 1st 2009. Not that I’m trying to influence your vote or anything, but I’ll note that Dublin-based writer, Michael Scott, is nominated in the Dublin Airport Authority Irish Children’s Book of the Year – Senior Category, for his young adult urban fantasy novel, The Magician. It’s part of an on-going series called The Secrets of…