Wednesday, 29 June 2011

It's always a delight to make the short-lists

I’m completely delighted to be able to announce that three of my recent books have been short-listed for the British Fantasy Award for 2011.

In terms of workload, this is proving to be one of the toughest years I’ve had since becoming a full-time author in 1998. Quite frankly, I‘ve never had as many urgent projects to work on all at the same time.

On one hand that’s a good thing (it certainly beats being unemployed), but on the other – working all day and every evening, weekends included, can be an immense drag. I feel as if I’ve been slogging through some of these particular jobs forever. However, I'm under no illusions that there are many tougher occupations in the world (I used to work in one), and in my chosen field now the rewards can be great. To be recognised by your peers as having achieved something worthwhile within the genre, which is basically what the British Fantasy Awards boil down to, is one such - and a massive privilege.

So here’s the deal with the BFS shortlists.

There are various categories. You can heck them out in full, all finalist nominees included, HERE.

You'll see that SPARROWHAWK has been nominated in the ‘Best Novella’ group, and that both WALKERS IN THE DARK and ONE MONSTER IS NOT ENOUGH have been short-listed side by side for ‘Best Collection By A Single Author’.

Believe it or not, this is a slightly difficult situation – for various reasons. To start with, in both categories I’m competing against close friends and colleagues. Secondly, though it’s wonderful to have two nominations in a single category, there is the inevitable possibility that it may ‘split my vote’ so to speak.

But what the Hell … these things happen. And it could be a lot worse. I could have no nominations at all. It’s just very gratifying to see three of what I consider to be my best books to date getting a little bit of positive attention.

SPARROWHAWK probably needs no introduction to anyone, not least because I focussed on it on this blog only last week, when a very decent review of it appeared in the superb BLACK STATIC magazine. It tells the story, for those who haven’t read it, of an Afghan War veteran in the 1840s, who is released from the debtor’s prison and allotted a mysterious task by a beautiful and enigmatic woman. Almost inevitably, this leads him into gave danger as the coldest winter in living memory descends on London, and an evil, supernatural presence makes itself known which will soon turn the entire notion of Christmas on its head.

WALKERS IN THE DARK and ONE MONSTER IS NOT ENOUGH contain five and eight stories respectively. If that doesn’t seem like a lot, remember that most of these tales are novellas, so these are still hefty collections. Rather than go through them story-by-story in a belated attempt to whet the appetite of those who haven’t yet read them, I’ll list the tables of contents and include the blurb from the back of each book.


In this dynamic new collection, Paul Finch draws on fact, legend and myth to create five terrifying tales spanning the length and breadth of Great Britain, from the mountains of Snowdonia to industrial Lancashire, and from northern Scotland to a run-down district of Liverpool. Readers will encounter the shape-shifting Baobhan Sith and the horrifying ‘Red Clogs’; search for the monstrous afanc of Wales; be haunted by the spectres of a war long past but not forgotten, and, in the spectacular title story, take part in a treasure hunt that goes terrifyingly wrong …


The Formless
Season Of Mist
Fathoms Green And Noisome
Golgotha Way
Walkers In The Dark


Eight tales of nightmares made flesh ...

From the icy wastes of the Russian steppe to the grimy backstreets of industrial north England, from the depths of the ocean abyss to a forgotten corner of inner London, Paul Finch brings you eight stories about monsters that will guarantee you never dismiss the notion of ‘mystery beasts’ again.


The Old North Road
The Tatterfoal
Hag Fold
The Retreat
Red In Beak And Claw

A few words now about the great time I had at the ALT.FICTION Literature Festival in Derby last weekend. It’s always a joy to hook up with fellow writers, editors and friends from within the industry. Their names are almost too numerous to mention. In fact, I’m bound to forget someone, but here we go.

What a pleasure it was to crack a few beers and spin a few yarns with Mark Morris, Simon Clark, Paul Cornell, Simon Bestwick, Gary McMahon, Ian Whates, Steve Volk, Rob Shearman, Adam Neville, Derek Fox, David Moore, Graham Joyce, Peter Crowther, Conrad Williams, Paul Kane, Marie O’Regan, Chris Teague, Martin Roberts, Helen Hopley, Sandy Auden, Mark Chadbourn, Paul Cornell … and of course the inimitable Sarah Pinborough (for direct links to many of these esteemed colleagues and the amazing work they’ve all done within the horror and fantasy genres, check the lists of links in the panel alongside).

Again, please forgive me if I’ve missed anyone off here. Of course it wasn’t just a social whirl. Full plaudits must also go to Alex Davis and his crew for planning, organising and staffing this great event. The QUAD is a marvellous facility in the heart of Derby City Centre, very accessible and very well equipped to provide this kind of unusual event. Once we were installed, everything ran like clockwork.

On a personal note, thanks very much for the organisers for inviting me and having me participate in so many activities. And thanks indeed to Chris Cooke and the other guys from the Mayhem Horror Movie Festival, who requested that I present screenings of the two Val Lewton classics from the 1940s, CAT PEOPLE and RETURN OF THE CAT PEOPLE.

I was honoured to be asked, and very much hope to hook up with the Mayhem boys again some time in the future.

ALT.FICTION is an excellent event, and, for anyone who is half-contemplating going next year, either as guest or punter, you have my assurance that you won’t be disappointed.

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