Lookee What I Found….

An old HWA newsletter post reporting on what the Stokers were like back in 2004. Ahhh, the good old days….

A View of the Stoker Awards, 2004
By Mary SanGiovanni

Fine food, wine, gowns, tuxes, and a little village’s worth of haunted houses – that’s right, folks. I’m talking about the HWA’s 17th Annual Conference and Bram Stoker Awards Banquet. Attendees were treated to these and more on Saturday, June 5th at the Park Central Hotel in New York City.

The programming for the conference itself began on Friday, June 4th, at 4pm with registration. The panels took practical approaches this year, and attendees were made privy to useful information about the way the publishing industry works, and how writers can function inside of it. After settling in from registration, Douglas E. Winter gave a talk to writers on some pretty important topics – contracts, trademark and copyright, licensing, agents and publishers, and writers’ rights. This was followed by a Q&A session hosted by Stanley Wiater and featured guests Tom Piccirilli, Jack Ketchum, Ellen Datlow, Tom Monteleone, Karen Taylor, Gary Braunbeck, and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Martin Greenberg. Capping the evening off was the Buddy Mixer, a perfect chance for new writers to meet others established in the industry.

Saturday featured a slew of readings by Mark McLaughlin, Scott Edelman, Steve Burt, Michael Arnzen, Karen Taylor, Tom Piccirilli, Thomas Monteleone, Gary Braunbeck, James Moore, Stefan Petrucha, and Jack Ketchum. Meanwhile, attendees put their bids in at the silent auction for Charles L. Grant, and another room featured movie screenings. Tom and Elizabeth Monteleone discussed what it takes to get into the Borderlands Anthology series at the first panel of the day. They were followed by Tim Waggoner, who lectured on teaching creative writing.

At noon, the HWA held their business meeting, where the board gave their annual reports. The board brought up several topics for discussion such as Stoker categories to keep and drop, rolling eligibility for Stoker recommendations, instituting an Affiliate publishing credit requirement of at least $.01/word for a total of 2500 words, and revision of the organization’s focus for the future.

After lunch, the attendees flocked to the Borders Books at Columbus Circle for a mass signing, which yielded quite a number of sales for those involved. Following the signing was an editor Q&A moderated by Matt Schwartz. Those who came to this panel heard first hand how the publishing world works on the editor end from such large and small press editors as Melissa Ann Singer from Tor, Sharyn November of Viking, Richard SanFilippo from Bantam, Sean Wallace of Prime/Wildside Press, Paul Miller of Earthling Publications, and Don D’Auria of Leisure Books.

During the ensuing hour break, everyone donned their gowns, suits, and tuxes for the banquet. When they returned for the cocktail hour, the tables were adorned with beautiful New Orleans-style decorations (beads, leis, dolls, masks, and other assorted goodies). The buffet-style dinner offered a nice variety of tasty foods, while the bar supplied beer, wine, and mixed drinks. As the coffee was being poured, president Joe Nasisse and vice president Tim Lebbon emceed the awards ceremony, while Linda Addison facilitated the presentation of the awards. Toastmaster Don D’Auria gave a moving speech about why we write and what the Stokers celebrate. The winners were announced, and the Stoker houses went home one by one with their respective new owners. While Lifetime Achievement award winner Anne Rice, whose significant contributions to the horror genre span 30 years, could not make the banquet, her co-recipient, editor Martin Greenberg, was there to accept his award for bringing years of service, hundreds of authors, and thousands of stories to the field of horror.

After the winners’ photo op, the post-Stoker party was held at the Old Castle Pub, where shop-talking, laughing, and general merry-making lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

The event was a total success, and we have many people to thank for that, including our own board, trustees, volunteers, and coordinator Monica O’Rourke. The Stokers were a truly classy, well-done, satisfying event.


About Mary SanGiovanni

Author of the Hollower trilogy, Thrall, Chaos, For Emmy, Possessing Amy, The Fading Place, and more.
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