Every author has a bucket list, whether written down or superstitiously locked in the back of their mind. The past two years have seen me cross more items off that list than I would have thought possible at this point in my career, and this week brought my metaphorical pen (yes, I’m superstitious) across one at the very top of my own list: Get Nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. Greener Pastures is on this year’s ballot in the Single-Author Collection category, and though I’ve rubbed my eyes a few dozen times now, it’s still there as I write this.
Greener Pastures was published in the year of Shirley Jackson’ 100th birthday, so there’s a sense of cosmic rightness. I share a deep love for her work with many, many other authors. And these are my favorite awards. This is the ballot I pore over, adding those books that have escaped my eye to my must-read list. That this has happened to my first book fills me with a sense of awed gratefulness. The wonderful reception the book has received, being on the shortlist for the IAFA’s Crawford Award (presented for a first book of fantasy and covering novels, story collections, novellas, and poetry collections across all of fantasy, science fiction, and horror), and now the Shirley Jackson nomination have all combined to turn me into a puddle of goo that has stayed liquid for over 13 months now.
No matter what happens at the award ceremony at Readercon in July, no matter how much I squirm in my chair as they read off the nominees at the front of the room and announce the winner, I will soon hold my very own nomination rock. That rock will have heft in my hand. The entire ballot is full of amazing, humbling works by some of the absolute best in the field, and I’ll be rooting for them all. Another almost wouldn’t break my heart (almost). I’m a very fortunate author. And I rub my eyes again, and it’s still there.