Some of you may know that last week was a reason to celebrate: Elizabeth Hand won the The Shirley Jackson Award last week for her novella ‘Near Zennor’, from A Book of Horrors, edited by Stephen Jones. If you don’t know, now you do, and just as an extra treat, we have a few words from the author herself:
‘The Shirley Jackson Awards ceremony last Sunday at Readercon was an incredible thrill. Jackson’s daughter, Sarah (Sadie) Hyman DeWitt was in attendance all weekend; I got to hear her marvellous presentation about her mother on Saturday, and she was at the SJA Sunday as well. So it was a genuine once-in-a-lifetime experience for ‘Near Zennor’ to receive the award for Best Novella. Among other things, Sadie spoke about her mother’s belief in the supernatural – she didn’t elaborate on this, but the thought made me long for a time machine, so that I might ask Jackson’s opinion as to the strange events that inspired ‘Near Zennor’ back in 1971 when I was a young teenager. I was never able to make sense of them, nor could my lifelong friend Janine, who was with me at the time (along with another friend who we’ve lost touch with). In the story, I was able to come up with a narrative: would that real life worked that way. I love West Penwith, the remote part of Cornwall where ‘Near Zennor’ is set – it both captivates and unnerves me. I’m an American who’s spent a great deal of time in the UK over the last seventeen years, but I’m always aware that I’m an outsider in an ancient country, and never more so than when in Penwith.