Celebrating The Written Word (Updated)

Watch The Stoker Awards LIVE This Saturday Night!

I've said once and I'll say it again, the Bram Stoker Awards is just about the only awards ceremony that means anything to us nerds here at The October Country headquarters. The Scream Awards seem to be nothing but an industry hype machine to sell mainstream, bad "horror" movies (Twilight anyone). The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films? Please! Nah, the one and only horror awards ceremony wherein the nominees are selected and voted upon by their peers (their fellow authors), real fans of really good horror, appears to be The Bram Stoker Awards. Which is why we trust in it so much. I've yet to read a single novel with the Bram Stoker namesake emblazoned across its cover (either nominee or winner of one) that has let me down. Period. If they didn't outright terrify me they disturbed me, if they didn't disturb me they made me think, if they didn't make me think they set my imagination ablaze. But mostly, they've done all those things at once and more and so I'll forever be grateful to the Horror Writers Association for stirring up such an event. For creating for us readers a means of knowing how and where to find the very best of the best. Screw the Oscars. My dream is to one day walk down the red carpet of The Bram Stoker Awards as a guest in my spiffiest of spiffy duds and then proceed to lose my damn mind throughout the night, hooting and hollering as the winners are announced. Seriously, it's one for my bucket list.

So, it is with great pleasure and excitement that I get to announce that the next best thing is about to happen. The Horror Writers Association would like all fans of finely crafted fictional frights to know that they are going to be airing the ceremony live at 9:30PM, this Saturday, June 18th! Yeah, that's right, you'll finally get the chance to rub elbows with the likes of Peter Straub, Jeff Strand, Joe R. Lansdale and many more, even if it's from the comfort of your home. I've already got my popcorn (plus the idea that there may be a handful of Ricky Gervais-esque public take-downs of Dorchester Publishing is too good to pass up).

Please use this link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/horror-writer-awards to join in the festivities.

A list of this years nominees can be found here.

But the fun doesn't have to begin and end on Saturday. Those in the Long Island, New York area (or those of you able to travel) can enjoy the many other events planned throughout June 16th - 19th. Here is the official website for Stoker Weekend 2011.

No plans this weekend? Never heard of the Bram Stoker Awards? Haven't picked up a book since high school? You only read Stephen King or Dean Koontz? King Horror Writers Association who? Well then, let's enlighten ourselves for a moment shall we?

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 1988 (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.

Congratulations to all the nominees from all of us here at The October Country.
Additionally (and as we always say) if you were to pick up just one horror novel this year dear reader, make it a Stoker nominee.

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