Ditmar Awards 2010 – Best New Talent

At first, I didn’t think I could come up with a good set of new talent recommendations, primarily because I read less short fiction last year. However, when I put my mind back to some of the great debut novels from last year, everything fell into place.

The ‘new talents’ I’ll put forward are:

  • Stephen M. Irwin (author of The Dead Path, shortlisted for the Australian Shadows Award and Aurealis Award). Irwin is my pick for this category. The Dead Path is an awesome debut horror novel and has been picked up by enthusiastic publishers in the UK and USA, making him a global threat (but in a cool kind of way).
  • H. M. Brown (author of Red Queen, winner of the Aurealis Award for horror novel). Another strong debut novelist with a bright future ahead (and her second book, The Good Daughter is out this month but it appears to have more of a YA/lit slant rather than spec fic).
  • Greig Beck (author of Beneath the Dark Ice and Return of the Prophet). Greg flew under my radar somewhat in 2009, but he’s now released two supernaturalish action thriller (in the Matthew Reilly vein) and is definitely a guy to watch.
  • Deborah Kalin (author of Shadow Queen and Shadow Bound). Deb’s debut fantasy novel in early 2009 was a promising effort, and she has some good credits amongst her handful of published stories (Shadowed Realms, Postscripts). Definitely a rising star!
  • Jason Crowe. Jason caught my attention with a gritty, surreal story in Midnight Echo #2 (“Losing Tahlia”). It’s a rare Australian story set in a beachside suburb, and blends dark magic, sacrifice, and surfie culture seamlessly. Jason has followed up with stories in Midnight Echo #3 and #4, ASIM, and pro-zine Shroud.
  • Pete Kempshall. The other short story writer on my list. The first story I read of Pete’s was his creepy crime thriller in Voices. Since then, Pete’s kicked on with several stories sold to publishers such as Apex Publications, Morrigan Books, and Twelfth Planet Press. He’s also debuted as an editor with Morrigan, co-editing Scenes from the Second Storey with Amanda Pillar.
  • Christopher Green – a belated entry (see the comments) but certainly worthy. Chris has racked up a few Aurealis Award and Australian Shadows Award nominations in short order and is deserving of your consideration.

Several members of the AHWA crit groups appear to be doing well, but I haven’t read much of their work (yet). For their feats, check out the AHWA crit group page. The most prolific writers of these groups are:

  • Mark Farrugia
  • Amanda Spedding
  • Alan Baxter

Any other suggestions on awesome new talents are very welcome!

So that’s it from me. I’m going to summarise my Ditmar posts this weekend as a convenient guide for any interested parties. Keep an eye out for it soon!



  1. Wow, thanks Shane! Glad you’re liking the work and I appreciate the thumbs-up – cheers!

  2. Mark Farrugia says:

    Hi Shane
    Great list, lots of food for thought up there. I think one possibility may have slipped past you though: Christopher Green. He is also a member of the AHWA Critique Groups. During 2009 he had short fiction published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Expanded Horizons, Nossa Morte and Abyss & Apex. (Most of these stories should still be readable on line, see Chris’ AHWA member profile for links). His fiction was also included in Jack Dann’s Dreaming Again. He had three stories shortlisted for Aurealis Awards in 2009 and won the Best Fantasy Short Story category. He was also shortlisted for the Australian Shadows Award in 2008. Definitely worth considering.

  3. Shane Jiraiya Cummings says:

    Pete: No worries, mate.

    Mark: Chris is definitely on my radar but the reason I didn’t include him on my list is that I thought he was nominated for last year’s Ditmar New Talent, but I was mistaken. Chris is certainly worthy of inclusion, so I’ll add him to my post (and my nominations when I submit them!)

  4. Great list, Shane. Will definitely keep them in mind.