Bram Stoker Nominee and Shirley Jackson Award winner Kaaron Warren has sold many short stories, three novels (the multi-award-winning Slights, Walking the Tree and Mistification) and four short story collections. Last year she was a winner in the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards — read on to see what she did with her prize!
In December last year, I was delighted to be awarded the ACT Writing and Publishing Award for my short story collection Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press) from a shortlist including Nigel Featherstone’s I’m Ready Now (Blemish Books) and Donald McMaster’s Provocation (Arcadia).
My prize was something truly delightful. A $100 voucher from Paperchain Bookstore, in Manuka. It’s harder than you think to spend money like this! Do I buy one amazing special edition of a favourite book? A gorgeous coffee table book for guests to read and quip about? Or a pile of new fiction?
In the end it took three visits to make up my mind. Here’s my booty. An eclectic pile!
A Brief History of Poisons. From Hemlock to Botox and the Killer Bean Calabar by Peter Macinnes (Arcade Publishing). I have a long fascination with poison (especially the calabar bean, used as a truth-diviner) so this one had me at the title.
An Anatamy of Addiction. Sigmund Freud, William Halted and the Miracle Drug Cocaine by Howard Markel (Pantheon Books). There’s a lot to be interested in here. How increased knowledge changes understanding, and how human nature seems to want to take things to the extremes.
Bought, Borrowed and Stolen. Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef by Allegra McEvedy (Octopus Books). This is a stunning book to leaf through, and the recipes look delicious. Amor de Pera (custardy pear tart) might be the first one I try.
Illustrated History of Furniture by Frederick Litchfield (Arcturus Press). The first edition of this book was published in 1922, so this is as much interest in the way the book is presented as the items themselves. There is a wealth of material for a fiction writer here, from the ‘chair with captives as supports’ to ‘design for a sofa ‘confidante’.
10,000 Years of Art (Phaidon Press). This makes me chuckle, because it’s a tiny book, half the size of an ordinary paperback, 500 pages thick, and yet it represents 10,000 years of art! Each page carries a story. “Young Man Among Roses”, by Nicholas Hilliard, the royal limner, or “Ecstasy of St Teresa”, by Gian Lorezo Bernini, to name just two.
Brother Jimmy’s BBQ by Josh Lebowitz (Stewart Tabori & Chang). Brother Jimmy’s is a restaurant in the States. I’ve never heard of it, but my family and I have a recent ‘rib’ addiction, so this was an easy choice. Lots of rib recipes, and one for a Cuban Sandwich, which looks delicious, and one for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.
The last book I bought is Skulls. An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection by Simon Winchester (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers). Dozens of skulls, classified and photographed, a curious collection indeed, with notes from Alan Dudley. Of the pike, he says, “…the ranger neglected to mention that he’d kept it in water for more than a week before phoning me. It was a massive piece of slime and it smelled to high heaven.”
What a haul! Inspiration for the next book, (fuel for thought) and delicious food (fuel to keep me going). Thanks to Paperchain for the voucher, and for having a shop full of treasures.
Entries to the ACT Publishing Awards are open now, closing September 19.