Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Cleveland Writer Dan Chaon's Novel 'Ill Will' Nominated for Prestigious Shirley Jackson Award

Posted By on Mon, May 14, 2018 at 12:13 PM

  • Scene Archives Photo
Cleveland Heights native Dan Chaon's 2017 novel Ill Will has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson award for best novel of 2017. The award, named after the deceased literary fiction writer best known for The Lottery, represents an outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror and dark fiction.

Chaon, whose 2001 novel Among The Missing was nominated for the National Book Award, taught at Oberlin College, where he was the Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing and Literature before retiring this year. In addition to Ill Will and Among The Missing, Chaon has also written three short story collections and another novel.

"I'm particularly thrilled about the Shirley Jackson Award nomination because Jackson herself was such a big influence on me," Chaon said in an e-mail to Scene. "I wish I could go back in time and tell my teenaged self about it." 

Based in Cleveland, Ill Will is about two unsolved murders, a psychologist, and his adopted brother, who is just out of prison after being convicted of murdering the psychologist's parents, aunt and uncle in what was said to be a satanic cult ritual.

In an exclusive interview in early 2017 with Scene, Chaon had this to say about writing a novel about unsolved murders and serial killers: “I think that’s the thing that we’re most curious about and also most afraid of. How do you move in the world if you don’t have a grip on your own mind. And the idea of losing that, I think is particularly scary. The classic American experience, the line, I never would've believed that this person did or was blah blah blah. I never would've guessed this person would be the serial killer! This idea that there are people amongst us that just have these crazy secrets.” Read the rest of that interview here.

Sign up
for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More on Scene & Heard

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 18, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation