The Oscars are over. Now, onto the only awards ceremony we here at The October Country really care about, the Bram Stoker Awards. When browsing through the dusty stacks of our favorite locally owned used bookstore Hyde Bros., or perusing the shelves at the library, one imprint we always look for on the covers of our scary novels, is the notification that the book we are holding was either nominated for, or won, a Bram Stoker Award. It's the kind of seal of approval we always trust in good faith and we haven't been let down yet.
Each year, the Horror Writer's Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the seminal horror work, Dracula. The Stoker Awards were instituted immediately after the organization's incorporation in 1987. While many members, including HWA's first President, Dean Koontz, had reservations about awards for writing -- since the point of HWA was for writers to cooperate for their mutual benefit, not to compete against one another -- the majority of members heavily favored presenting awards, both to recognize outstanding work in the horror field and to publicize HWA's activities.
To ameliorate the competitive nature of awards, the Stokers are given "for superior achievement," not for "best of the year," and the rules are deliberately designed to make ties fairly probable. The first awards were presented in 19
88 (for works published in 1987), and they have been presented every year since. The award itself is an eight-inch replica of a fanciful haunted house, designed specifically for HWA by sculptor Steven Kirk. The door of the house opens to reveal a brass plaque engraved with the name of the winning work and its author.
The Stoker Awards, like the Oscars, are non-juried awards. Any work of Horror first published in the English language may be considered for a Stoker during the year of its publication. The HWA membership at large recommends worthy works for consideration. A preliminary ballot is compiled using a formula based on recommendations. Two rounds of voting by our Active members determine first the finalists, and then the winners. The winners are announced and the awards presented at a gala banquet held in conjunction with HWA's annual conference, usually in June.
Between 2001 and 2004, the awards were presented in twelve categories: Novel, First Novel, Short Fiction, Long Fiction, Fiction Collection, Poetry Collection, Anthology, Nonfiction, Illustrated Narrative, Screenplay, Work for Young Readers, and Alternative Forms. Beginning with works published in 2005, however, the awards are given in eight categories: Novel, First Novel, Short Fiction, Long Fiction, Fiction Collection, Poetry Collection, Anthology, and Nonfiction. In addition, Lifetime Achievement Stokers are occasionally presented to individuals whose entire body of work has substantially influenced Horror.
The Horror Writers Association just announced Nominations for the 2010 Bram Stoker Award. They are as follows:
Superior Achievement in a Novel
* HORNS by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
* ROT AND RUIN by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster)
* DEAD LOVE by Linda Watanabe McFerrin (Stone Bridge Press)
* APOCALYPSE OF THE DEAD by Joe McKinney (Pinnacle)
* DWELLER by Jeff Strand (Leisure/Dark Regions Press)
* A DARK MATTER by Peter Straub (DoubleDay)
Superior Achievement in a First Novel
* BLACK AND ORANGE by Benjamin Kane Ethridge (Bad Moon Books)
* A BOOK OF TONGUES by Gemma Files (Chizine Publications)
* CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES by Lisa Morton (Gray Friar Press)
* SPELLBENT by Lucy Snyder (Del Rey)
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
* THE PAINTED DARKNESS by Brian James Freeman (Cemetery Dance)
* DISSOLUTION by Lisa Mannetti (Deathwatch)
* MONSTERS AMONG US by Kirstyn McDermott (Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears)
* THE SAMHANACH by Lisa Morton (Bad Moon Books)
* INVISIBLE FENCES by Norman Prentiss (Cemetery Dance)
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
* RETURN TO MARIABRONN by Gary Braunbeck (Haunted Legends)
* THE FOLDING MAN by Joe R. Lansdale (Haunted Legends)
* 1925: A FALL RIVER HALLOWEEN by Lisa Mannetti (Shroud Magazine #10)
* IN THE MIDDLE OF POPLAR STREET by Nate Southard (Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology)
* FINAL DRAFT by Mark W. Worthen (Horror Library IV)
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
* DARK FAITH edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon (Apex Publications)
* HORROR LIBRARY IV edited by R.J. Cavender and, Boyd E. Harris (Cutting Block Press)
* MACABRE: A JOURNEY THROUGH AUSTRALIA’S DARKEST FEARS edited by Angela Challis and Marty Young (Brimstone Press)
* HAUNTED LEGENDS edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas (Tor)
* THE NEW DEAD edited by Christopher Golden (St. Martin's Griffin)
Superior Achievement in a Collection
* OCCULTATION by Laird Barron (Night Shade Books)
* BLOOD AND GRISTLE by Michael Louis Calvillo (Bad Moon Books)
* FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King (Simon and Schuster)
* THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY by Stephen Graham Jones (Prime Books)
* A HOST OF SHADOWS by Harry Shannon (Dark Regions Press)
Superior Achievement in Nonfiction
* TO EACH THEIR DARKNESS by Gary A. Braunbeck (Apex Publications)
* THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HUMAN RACE by Thomas Ligotti (Hippocampus Press)
* WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE by Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman (Citadel)
* LISTEN TO THE ECHOES: THE RAY BRADBURY INTERVIEWS by Sam Weller (Melville House Publications)
Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
* DARK MATTERS by Bruce Boston (Bad Moon Books)
* WILD HUNT OF THE STARS by Ann K. Schwader (Sam's Dot)
* DIARY OF A GENTLEMAN DIABOLIST by Robin Spriggs (Anomalous Books)
* VICIOUS ROMANTIC by Wrath James White (Needfire Poetry)
Congratulations to all the nominees from The October Country.
Additionally, a bit of advice before we go; if you, dear reader, were to pick up just one horror novel this year, make it a Stoker nominee.