Thursday, October 6, 2022

Cartoon of the Day: The Director's Cut


Congratulations, Annie Ernaux, winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature.

From Seven Stories Press:

Annie Ernaux, author of almost two dozen works of memoir and the occasional book of fiction, is the winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature

We are thrilled that Annie Ernaux has been recognized by the Nobel committee for the "clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory." Seven Stories Press has been publishing Ernaux's work in the United States since releasing the first English translation of her masterpiece A Woman's Storyin 1991, up to the most recent, Getting Lost, published just two days ago (!!!). Her newest book in French, Le jeune homme, will be published by Seven Stories Press in Fall 2023. Her books are published in 42 languages.

“Congratulations first of all to Annie Ernaux, who has stood up for herself as a woman, as someone who came from the French working class, unbowed, for decade after decade,” Dan Simon, Seven Stories publisher and Annie’s editor for 31 years, said in a statement to Publishers Weekly. “Also congratulations to the Nobel Prize for Literature Committee, which here makes a brave choice by choosing someone who writes unabashedly about her sexual life, about women's rights and her experience and sensibility as a woman—and for whom writing is life itself.”


ANNIE ERNAUX (b. 1940) is considered by many to be France’s most important literary voice. Aside from her 2022 Nobel Prize win, she has also won the Prix Renaudot for A Man's Place and the Marguerite Yourcenar Prize for her body of work. More recently she received the International Strega Prize, the Prix Formentor, the French-American Translation Prize, and the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation for The Years, which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. Her other works include Getting Lost, Exteriors, A Girl's Story, A Woman's Story, The Possession, Simple Passion, Happening, I Remain in Darkness, Shame, A Frozen Woman, and A Man's Place

Wednesday, October 5, 2022


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 nominees for the 2021 Shirley Jackson Awards are:


All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter (Titan Books)

Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer (MCD)

My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (Saga Press)

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull (Blackstone Publishing)

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw (Nightfire)


Comfort Me with Apples by Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom)

Dirty Heads: A novella of cosmic coming-of-age horror by Aaron Dries (Black T-Shirt Books)

Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn (Tordotcom)

A Rose / Arose by Michael Bailey (Written Backwards)

The Route of Ice and Salt by José Luis Zárate, translated by David Bowles (Innsmouth Free Press)


House of Crows by Lisa Unger (Amazon Original Stories)

“The Nag Bride” by A.C. Wise (The Ghost Sequences, Undertow Publications)

The Night Belongs to Us by Jess Landry (Independent Legions Publishing)

“We, the Girls Who Did Not Make It” by E. A. Petricone (Nightmare Magazine, February 2021)

The Women by Margaret Jameson (F(r)iction)


“Dizzy in the Weeds” by L.D. Lewis (Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness)

“Forward, Victoria” by Carlie St. George (The Dark Magazine, April 2021)

“Gordon B. White is Creating Haunting Weird Horror” by Gordon B. White (Nightmare Magazine, July 2021)

“Human Reason” by Nicasio Andres Reed (Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness)

“You’ll Understand When You’re a Mom Someday” by Isabel J. Kim (khōréō magazine, August 2021)


Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons: Stories by Keith Rosson (Meerkat Press)

People from My Neighborhood by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Ted Goossen (Soft Skull Press)

Sometimes We’re Cruel by J.A.W. McCarthy (Cemetery Gates Media)

We are Happy, We are Doomed by Kurt Fawver (Grimscribe Press)

Where All is Night, and Starless by John Linwood Grant (Trepidatio Publishing)


Giving The Devil His Due: A Charity Anthology, edited by Rebecca Brewer (Running Wild Press)

Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World, edited by Eric J. Guignard (Dark Moon Books)

Stitched Lips: An Anthology of Horror from Silenced Voices, edited by Ken MacGregor (Dragon’s Roost Press)

There Is No Death, There Are No Dead, edited by Jess Landry & Aaron J. French (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness, edited by dave ring (Neon Hemlock)


The Shirley Jackson Awards, Inc., also is committed to promoting the legacy of Shirley Jackson and, as part of this mission, will present a Special Award to Ms. Datlow in recognition of the anthology When Things Get Dark: Stories inspired by Shirley Jackson (Titan Books, 2021).

Ms. Datlow was a nominee for the Shirley Jackson Award for Edited Anthology for the years 2011, 2013 (with Terri Windling), 2015, 2017, and 2019, and won the award in this category for the years 2007, 2009, and 2014.


The 2021 Shirley Jackson Awards will be presented in-person on October 29, 2022, as part of the Boston Book Festival, in partnership with Readercon, Conference on Imaginative Literature. The awards ceremony will be hosted by Elizabeth Hand and Paul Tremblay. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

MEMORIES OF MY FATHER'S BOOKSHELF: Guest Post by Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

The following article will appear in 2023: Mystery Readers Journal: African Mysteries (39:2), but since Believers and Hustlers is available now, I had to post Sylva Nze Ifedigbo's article early. It's a wonderful novel you'll want to add to your TBR now.

Sylva Nze Ifedigbo: Memories of my Father’s Bookshelf

It may sound cliché when writers say the very first thing they did after perhaps learning to stand and walk was to write, but really for me, this is mostly true. I have written since I can remember. My earliest memories were writing alternate stories of characters, some of them, animals, I encountered in children story books I read as a child. My parents who were teachers with a thing for documentation ensured they captured my earliest stories in exercise books which I had the pleasure of reading much later in life, and I understand I always harangued their visitors back then, to read my stories. One thing was responsible for this – the books in my father’s bookshelf. 


As a child, I didn’t have the luxury of computer games or cable television. All I had was my father’s overflowing bookshelf. It was a four-row wooden shelf, the length of my arms spread out, which was the center of attraction in our living room, next to the black and white Sharp television which had a table of its own. It towered high and in my child eyes, was the biggest bookshelf there could ever be. Those shelves held a treasure trove of books, mostly titles from the Heinemann African Writer’s Series with their familiar yellow spines and fascinating cover designs. It also had a rich collection of simpler children story books, including titles by Enid Blyton and many by African writer. I fondly remember the like Kola Onadipe’s Sugar Girl, Michael Crowther’s Akin Goes to School and Chinua Achebe’s Chike and the River among others. These books introduced me to the written word, shaped my love for storytelling and inspired me to become a writer. 


With that foundation, it was not surprising that all through my early education I gravitated towards activities that would help me bring my imagination to life, in words. I was always in the press club and literary society in school. I completed my first manuscript for a novel in my second year in secondary school. It was written in long hand, in a forty leaves notebook which my classmates took turns to read. In my senior years, I remember having quite some fun writing short poems for classmates who wanted to impress their adolescent love interests. By this time, I had already feasted on most of the books in my father’s bookshelf and was actively exchanging other titles from the Macmillan Pacesetters series, Hadley Chase series, and even Mills and Booms with friends. I was in love with words. 


I started writing seriously in the university. While pursuing a core science-based degree, I was part of the editorial board of the campus magazine and spent quite a great deal of time in company of students in communication and literary arts. I managed to find time in-between my tasking course work to also complete what would be my first published book, a novella and attended the maiden Creative Writing workshop hosted by celebrated writer Chimamanda Adichie, in my final year as an undergraduate.


That workshop was perhaps the real turning point. It made me to start blogging on WordPress in 2007, serving as a repository of my thoughts. It was about the time Facebook was becoming a global phenomenon and I remember the now rested feature ‘facebook notes’ on which I shared drafts of my writing for feedback. I participated actively in many literary societies and writing groups where we routinely critiqued each other’s works, shared news about new publishing opportunities and gossiped about writers and writing. 

Today, I have four published books including Whispering Aloud, (the novella earlier mentioned) which was published in 2007 by Spectrum Books. It is the story of twin girls separated at birth who would live different lives and reunite in unexpected circumstances. The Funeral Did Not End, a collection of stories was published by DADA Books (a now rested imprint) in 2012. It was a collection of twenty stories described by one reviewer as “fictionalized social commentary”. My debut novel, My Mind Is No Longer Here about those who have made an industry out of helping young people emigrate, feeding off their desperation for a better life elsewhere was published in 2018 by Parresia Publishers. Believers and Hustlers, my new novel explores the quest for power, the fears that trigger it, the hypocrisy that sustains it, and the ways in which religion can be weaponized to shroud it all in a mystery.


In many ways, my work has been influenced by the many African writers I have read over the years starting from those I encountered first in my father’s bookshelf. Achebe sits atop that list. There is also the late Chukwuemeka Ike, easily my favourite African writer of all time. The brilliant Pius Adesanmi who passed in the ill-fated Ethiopian air crash a few years ago is another who’s essays are a cherished collection for me. Among those who are still here, there is Chimamanda Adiche who taught me in her writing workshop, the amazing Yemisi Aribisala, whose essays I admire a lot, and a long list of other writers such as Helon Habila, NoViolet Bulawayo, Obioma Chigozie, Tsitsi Dangarembga, the Ngugi’s and many others. It’s a long list.

My father’s bookshelf still stands today. Most of the books it once held have left and were not returned, replaced by academic texts, biographies, religious books and other odds and ends. It doesn’t hold the same allure as it once did for me, but the memories and impact linger. 


Sylva Nze Ifedigbo is the author of Believers and Hustlers published in the US by Iskanchi Press. He holds that stories matter and being able to tell them beautifully is the most powerful way to impact the world. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria and tweets from @nzesylva.


Monday, October 3, 2022

MAP BACK MONDAY: Delano Ames's She Shall Have Murder

Today is Map Back Monday. Today's Dell Map Back is She Shall Have Murder by Delano Ames  (1948). This is the first in the Dagobert Brown and Jane Hamish series. This one is set in London, so the London map is so appropriate! I love these old Map Backs.  And, in case you're just tuning in to this Monday feature, Dell Map Backs were a series of paperbacks, published in the 1940s and 1950s with a map of the scene of the crime on the back cover.