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    All Shirley Jackson Award finalists get stoned.

    Dan Sheehan

    February 14, 2023, 11:21am

    Here’s something fun I learned today: much like poor unfortunate Tessie Hutchinson at the close of “The Lottery“—the (second?) most famous short story in New Yorker history—all Shirley Jackson Award finalists get stoned.

    Now, when I say “stoned,” I’m not talking about blazing up a fat, celebratory doobie of sweet Mary Jane. Oh no. If only. I speak of the befevered casting of honest-to-god rocks at a human target.

    Thankfully, the SJA stonings are usually of a gentler variety, with the honored nominees receiving theirs by mail.

    The satisfying plop of a smoothed and engraved rock into the palm has, at the time of writing, resulted in zero sacrificial deaths and few discernible disturbances to the subsequent harvest season.

    The Shirley Jackson Awards, now in their 17th year, honor “outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror and the dark fantastic,” and are presented at Readercon, an annual conference on imaginative literature held in Boston every July.

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