Claire Fitzpatrick is the youngest winner of a Australian Shadows literary award

HORROR: Claire Fitzpatrick wins literary horror award.

HORROR: Claire Fitzpatrick wins literary horror award.

When Claire Fitzpatrick, 27, of Wellington Point accepted her Australian Shadows literary award, she became the award’s youngest recipient.

Ms Fitzpatrick took out the Rocky Wood award for non fiction and criticism for her anthology The Body Horror Book, a collection of non fiction articles on body horror.  The Australian Shadow awards was established in 2005 to honour the horror fiction genre, with works judged on their overall effect within the genre and based on the author’s skill, delivery and resonance. It is considered as one of the finest awards in horror non-fiction where the intent of the work must be to disturb or inspire fear.

Ms Fitzpatrick said the Body Horror Book explored the carnival and the grotesque. 

“It is a non-fiction exploration of the monstrous aspect of the human form. The state of cultural and political affairs dictate the monsters created within fiction and film and the book is designed to educate, terrify, intrigue, and beguile,” she said.

Besides putting the book together, Ms Fitzpatrick joins a swag of noted authors including former Penguin editor and essayist Dmetri Kakmi, award-winning author Kaaron Warren, and author and Wolf Creek 2 screenwriter Aaron Sterns. Her work within the anthology is on video nasties.

“These have gained interest since the 1980s when moral crusador Mary Whitehouse tried to have films that were unseemly, unsightly and potentially causing moral panic to be banned. This only made people more interested and an underground cult was formed,” she said.

The Body Horror book is Ms Fitzpatrick’s fifth book to be published under her own Oscillate Wildly Press, formed in 2015.

In 2016, she published Only the Dead, and has written a host of fictional stories in various magazines.

“I write speculative fiction and poetry. I have been called 'Australia's body horror specialist' by Bartholemew Ford from Breach Magazine and 'Australia's Queen Of Body Horror' by Gavin Chappell from Schlock! Magazine,” she said.

Ms Fitzpatrick said she still feels surreal about winning the award.

“I got the award and I swore. Everyone laughed. It just seemed so surreal and happened so fast. I have it on display but it still hasn’t hit,” she said.

“I am interested in looking deeper into the human anatomy at an intrinsic level. I am interested in things you cannot see,” she said.

Ms Fitzpatrick was a student at Birkdale State and Wellington Point High schools and currently works as a music journalist at Scenestr and a submissions reader for Aurealis magazines.