The Australian Shadows Awards are annual literary awards established by the Australasian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) in 2005 to honour the best published works of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian/New Zealand/Oceania resident in the previous calendar year.
Works are judged on their overall effect within the horror genre based on the author’s skill, delivery, and the work’s lasting resonance. Each year, a director is appointed by the AHWA to administer the award. Shortlists for each category are determined by a panel of judges, and the shortlisted nominees are announced in March/April every year.
From 2005 to 2008, the Australian Shadows Award evaluated novels, anthologies, and short stories against each other in a single category. In 2009, the award was expanded into three categories: Short Fiction, Long Fiction, and Edited Publication.
From 2011, the award was restructured to consist of five categories: Novel; Long Fiction (novellas and novelettes); Short Fiction (short stories); Collection (single author collections); and Edited Publication (anthologies and magazine issues). In 2013, the ‘Long Fiction’ award category was renamed ‘Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction’ in honour of New Zealand/Australian author Paul Haines.
The Australian Shadows Awards were sponsored by Altair Australia Books in its first two years, through the donation of two statuettes created by dark fantasy artist Brom (supplied by The Franklin Mint). Currently, winners of the awards receive a hand crafted trophy from the masters of the horror special effects industry, Nightshade FX.