By, John R. Little
The winners of the 2007 Bram Stoker Awards were announced at a banquet on Saturday, March 29, as a part of the arena Horror Convention in Salt Lake City. Each year, The Horror Writers Association (HWA) holds a banquet to honor the nominees and winners for superior achievement in horror and dark fantasy. There are eight categories, and the winners this year were:
- Novel: The Missing, by Sarah Langan (Harper)
- First Novel: Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
- Long Fiction: Afterward, There’ll be a Hallway, by Gary A. Braunbeck (from the anthology, Five Strokes to Midnight, Haunted Pelican Press)
- Short Fiction: The Gentle Brush of Wings, by David Niall Wilson (from his collection, Defining Moments, Sarob Press)
- Anthology: Five Strokes to Midnight, edited by Gary A. Braunbeck and Hank Schwaeble (Haunted Pelican Press)
- Collection (tie): Proverbs for Monsters, by Michael A. Arnzen (Dark Regions Press) and 5 Stories, by Peter Straub (Borderlands Press)
- Nonfiction: The Cryptopedia, by Jonathan Maberry and David F. Kramer (Citadel Press / Kensington)
- Poetry (tie): Being Filled with Light, Insubstantial, by Linda Addison (Space and Time) and Vectors: EVERY WEEK within the Death of a Planet (Dark Regions Press), by Charlee Jacob and Marge Simon
The Stoker Class of ’07…(Top row, from left) Mark Worthen, Linda Addison, Marge Simon, Weston Oche, Rocky Wood, John R. Little, Mort Castle, and Del Howison. (Bottom row, from left) Gary A. Braunbeck, Robert Fleck, Hank Schwaeble, and Sarah Langan.
There were several other important presentations on the ceremony in addition:
- 2008 World Horror Convention Grandmaster Award : Robert McCammon
- HWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award (tie): John Carpenter and Robert Weinberg
- HWA’s Richard Laymon Award: the HWA Web Team (Mark Worthen, Steve Dorato, and Christopher Fulbright)
The actual awards ceremony was the highlight of the evening, which started with a well-orchestrated dinner for the 170 attendees. The tables were decorated with handmade tombstones with horror-related images, in addition to postcard-sized versions of the covers of the entire nominated books.
After dessert and coffee, the awards ceremony started with a welcome statement by Charlene (Charlie) Harmon, chair of WHC 2008. Harmon was a gracious and really popular chair within the weekend.
Next, HWA President Deborah LeBlanc took the stage to welcome everyone besides. Her talk covered among the recent achievements of the organization and hinted at even better things to come back.
Jeff Strand kicked the ceremony into high gear with a hilarious monologue covering various topics from the way it feels to lose a Stoker to his idea of the very best pitch (to a captive Don D’Auria of Leisure Books, who sat in the midst of the audience). The largest laughs were for his suggestion to damage the Stoker categories into sub-divisions. As examples he suggested: Best Zombie Novel, Trapped in a single Location and Best Zombie Novel, Cross-Country Trek.
The presentation of the awards took just over an hour, with among the winners present, desperate to accept their Stokers.
Each of the types was memorable of their own way. Marge Simon accepted a Poetry award for her collaboration with Charlee Jacob. Simon praised Jacob and commented that she was in quite a lot of physical pain and could be pleased when she discovered their book had won.
Gary A. Braunbeck’s moving acceptance speech for his novella was the emotional high point of the evening. He described how the tale was inspired by his daughter who died as a tender child greater than twenty years ago and who still inspires his writing. The audience was entranced. You will see that the speech here.
For the highly anticipated category of Superior Achievement in a Novel, the presenters were F. Paul Wilson and Simon Clark, who gave an amazing introduction, with Wilson calling this year’s convention Sarah Langan-con, since everywhere he went, there she was. Although this was jumbled in with equally funny intros for the opposite nominees, the audience was unaware that Wilson made a larger fuss for Langan, since he had peeked throughout the winner’s envelope sooner than time and knew she’d won. For her part, Langan was characteristically humble and entirely speechless, totally caught unexpectedly by her win. Her acceptance speech capped an ideal evening.
My own journey to the only hour award ceremony started almost a year ago. The HWA asked for a volunteer to work because the Stoker Coordinator, and that i jumped in with both feet. The horror field was good to me, and this was the chance to provide something back.
The first major decision was already underway once I came on board. After successfully holding the 2007 Stoker event at the side of the Toronto World Horror Convention, the HWA was understanding an agreement to carry the 2008 ban…