The Final Ballot for Bram Stoker Awards® has been announced on the Horror Writers Association website. The nominees are in line for voting for “superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and Neil Gaiman.”
There are some welcome inclusions in the ballot list, including Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley’s Horror 101: The Way Forward for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction, and David Cronenberg’s Consumed – a First Novel from anything but a debut talent. There are some equally surprising omissions, though. Michael Bailey’s Inkblots and Blood Spots, for instance, didn’t make it through to the final ballot list, though his Qualia Nous did. And in a year of exceptionally strong story collections and anthologies, there is no sign of Simon Strantzas’s Burnt Black Suns. Or Michael Kelly’s Shadows and Tall Trees 2014. Or quite a number of others. I do wonder all told if this year’s Stokers betray a bias towards the traditionally horrid at the expense of the recent renaissance in weird/dark/strange fiction, but that could be a mistaken impression.
“There are two paths to a work becoming a Nominee for the Bram Stoker Award,” the HWA explains. “In one, the HWA membership at large recommends worthy works for consideration. A preliminary ballot for each category is compiled using a formula based on these recommendations. In the second, a Jury for each category also compiles a preliminary ballot. Two rounds of voting by our Active members then determine first the Final Ballot (all those appearing on the Final Ballot are “Bram Stoker Nominees”), and then the Bram Stoker Award Winners. The Winners are announced and the Bram Stoker Awards presented at a gala banquet.”
Voting on the nominees by the voting members of the HWA will take place shortly, and “the presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards® will occur during the World Horror Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on the evening of Saturday, May 9, 2015.”