I know I often talk about using awards lists as a RA and Collection Development Tool, but no award is more useful as a pure readalike list [except the Mary Higgins Clark Awards, which is equivalent] than the Shirley Jackson Awards.
Why? Because these awards are given out to people whose work, like the late, great Shirley Jackson, cannot be defined. They touch on psychological suspense, horror, and dark fantasy. And for me, they are the epitome of a great read.
The 2017 nominees were just announced and you can also see them below. All of these are excellent choices for readers who like lyrical, creepy, weird stories.
I have added links to the titles I have reviewed to help you out a bit more.
Here’s the thing about this list though-- these types of stories are very popular right now. Slightly askew, lyrical, dark tales that bring intense unease but are not outright horror. These are the books on the edges of dark speculative fiction where it brushes with literary fiction. These are titles many of your patrons who would love them, probably won’t know about without your help.
However, you make a “Shirley Jackson Awards” display using this list of nominees and all the lists from the years before [back to 2007], then "presto chango” you have happy patrons. You can also easily take the titles here and from previous years, and make a Shirley Jackson readalike list. And guess what? You don’t have to worry if it is inclusive because it already is. In fact, it always has been [I checked] because these are stories on the fringes, a place where the non-normative authors already lurk. It makes sense. Outsiders lurk on the outside, but that position makes the stories they tell fascinating. There is no need to conform to the genre standards because people ignored them, and we readers get to reap the benefits.
For me personally, those fringes have always been the most beautiful space to find great reads. I often went to this “weird” space with my readers who wanted something different. The Shirley Jackson Awards list was a got to of mine to find them titles, always.
Boston, MA (May 2018) — 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. 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 nominees for the 2017 Shirley Jackson Awards are:
- Ill Will, Dan Chaon (Ballantine Books)
- The Bone Mother, David Demchuk (ChiZine Publications)
- The Changeling, Victor Lavalle (Spiegel & Grau)
- The Hole, Hye-young Pyun (Arcade Publishing)
- The Night Ocean, Paul La Farge (Penguin Press)
- Fever Dream, Samantha Schweblin (Riverhead Books) [Recently read, review pending]
- Mapping the Interior, Stephen Graham Jones (Tor.com)
- The Asylum of Dr. Caligari, James Morrow (Tachyon Publications LLC)
- The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, Margaret Killjoy (Tor.com)
- The Lost Daughter Collective, Lindsey Drager (Dzanc Books)
- The Murders of Molly Southbourne, Tade Thompson (Tor.com)
- “Take the Way Home That Leads Back to Sullivan Street,” Chavisa Woods (Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country)
- “The Resident,” Carmen Maria Machado (Her Body and Other Parties)
- “Sun Dogs,” Laura Mauro (Shadows and Tall Trees Volume 7)
- “The West Topeka Triangle,” Jeremiah Tolbert (Lightspeed Magazine)
- “You Will Always Have Family: A Triptych,” Kathleen Kayembe (Nightmare Magazine)
- “Blur,” Carmen Maria Machado (Tin House, issue 72, Summer 2017)
- “Live Through This,” Nadia Bulkin (Looming Low)
- “The Convexity of Our Youth,” Kurt Fawver (Looming Low)
- “The Mouse Queen,” Camilla Grudova (The Doll’s Alphabet)
- “The Second Door,” Brian Evenson (Looming Low)
- Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press)
- She Said Destroy, Nadia Bulkin (Word Horde)
- The Dark Dark, Samantha Hunt (FSG Originals)
- The Doll’s Alphabet, Camilla Grudova (Coffee House Press)
- Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country, Chavisa Woods (Seven Stories Press)
- Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales, edited by Ellen Datlow (Pegasus Books)
- The Djinn Falls in Love, edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin (Rebellion Publishing / Solaris Books)
- Looming Low, edited by Justin Steele and Sam Cowan (Dim Shores)
- Shadows and Tall Trees Volume 7, edited by Michael Kelly (Undertow Publications)
- Tales From a Talking Board, edited by Ross E. Lockhart (Word Horde)