Last week, hot on the heels of my return from Continuum X in Melbourne, the winners of the Australian Shadows Awards were announced.
I hadn’t even had time to blog about Baby Teeth making the shortlist for Best Edited Work, or about how Debbie Cowens’s contribution to the anthology, Caterpillars, and JC Hart’s The Dead Way had both made it into the Best Short Story category, busy as I was.
The Australian Shadows Awards are run by the Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) and are open to all residents of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, so it’s a big pool with a lot of very talented creators in the mix. Just to make the shortlist, not once but three times, was an exciting milestone for Baby Teeth, but given the quality of the competition, I was already in the “I’m happy our book and these stories just made the shortlist” mindset. Because seriously, it was tough competition.
Baby Teeth was up against Midnight Echo Issue 9, edited by former AHWA president and now publisher at Cohesion Press, Geoff Brown; StarQuake 1, the Best Of offering from Gerry Huntman’s SQ Mag and edited by Sophie Yorkston; and A Killer Among Demons, edited by Craig Bezant and featuring some of the real heavyweights of Australian dark fiction. So as you can see, I thought that a nod towards our humble little book was really nice.
I was not, by any stretch, expecting to win.
So when Lee Murray text me somewhere past 11pm on Thursday night to say, basically, OMG We WON!!! I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or not.
And then to see that Debbie had won Best Short Story, up against JC, John Paul Fitch, CS McMullen and Joanne Anderton, I was equally stunned. And kinda euphoric. Because, winning is good.
I fumbled out some half-sleeping half-dreaming acceptance speech on the Facebook forum, Lee followed this up with a far more coherent one, and the buzz continued for most of the next day on the social media forums.
Congratulations to all the finalists. The quality of the competition is a testament to the excellent state of the horror and dark fiction market in this part of the world right now, and long may it last.To have won these two categories says something more about the state of dark fiction and small press in New Zealand, and that’s something that we can all be proud of.
Congratulations to the winners in all categories:
Best Novel: 809 Jacob St, by Marty Young
Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction: The Unwanted Women of Surrey, by Kaaron Warren
Best Collected Work: The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, by Joanne Anderton
Best Short Story: Caterpillars, by Debbie Cowens, in Baby Teeth – Bite-sized Tales of Terror
Best Collected Work: Baby Teeth, Bite-sized Tales of Terror, edited by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray
Also, huge thanks to the organisers and judges who run the awards. It’s a massive task, with stacks of reading (there were 116 pieces in the Short Story category alone), and they have carried out their role superbly. Round of applause, please.
I’d also like to thank everyone who has had a part in Baby Teeth: the many contributors who gave us such excellent stories; the proofing and editorial team, and everyone who gave us advice on things from contracts to cover design to promotion and marketing; our fantastic publisher, Marie Hodgkinson at Paper Road Press, who took a chance on this book; Lee Murray, for stepping in as my co-editor and making the whole thing infinitely more manageable and more professional that it might’ve been if I’d been juggling all the balls on my own; and most especially, thanks to my lovely wife Chrissy, who must be so sick of hearing about Baby Teeth by now, and is dreading the day I say, “So, I saw this thing on Facebook, and we thought we might do another little book…”
Baby Teeth is available in paperback and ebook formats from all major online outlets, and the audiobook will be available soon. Proceeds from sales of the book go to children’s literacy charity Duffy Books in Homes.