Announcing the 2022 HWA Lifetime Achievement and Service Awards

HWA Lifetime Achievement and Service Awards Winners


Horror Writers Association Logo

These awards will be presented on June 17, 2023, during the Bram Stoker Awards® Presentation at StokerCon®2023 in Pittsburgh, PA.

I am extremely grateful to be receiving the H.W.A. Specialty Press Award. To be honored and recognized by my peers in this way is truly unexpected. I am pleased beyond words, and giddy with joy.”

— Michael Kelly, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Undertow Publications

PITTSBURGH, PA, UNITED STATES, May 5, 2023/ — The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is pleased to announce the recipients of its various special awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Specialty Press Award, the Richard Laymon President’s Award, the Silver Hammer Award, and the Mentor of the Year Award. These will be presented on June 17, 2023, during the Bram Stoker Awards® Presentation at StokerCon®2023 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The recipients of the HWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award are:

Elizabeth Massie, Nuzo Onoh, and John Saul.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented periodically to an individual whose work has substantially influenced the horror genre. While this award is often presented to a writer, it may also be given for influential accomplishments in other creative fields.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious of all awards presented by HWA. It does not merely honor the superior achievement embodied in a single work. Instead, it is an acknowledgment of superior achievement in an entire career.

Elizabeth Massie

Elizabeth Massie, whose first horror story, “Whittler,” was published by The Horror Show magazine back in the primitive days of 1984, is a two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning and Scribe Award-winning author of horror novels, novellas, short fiction, media tie-ins, poetry, and nonfiction. A seventh-grade life science teacher until 1991, she then took the plunge into full-time writing. Over the years she has been published by Simon & Schuster, Berkley, Pocket Books, Harper, Leisure, Pan, Crossroad Press, and many others. Her novels and collections include Sineater, Hell Gate, Desper Hollow, Wire Mesh Mothers, Homeplace, Naked on the Edge, Dark Shadows: Dreams of the Dark (co-authored with Mark Rainey), Versailles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Power of Persuasion, It Watching, Afraid, Madame Cruller’s Couch and Other Dark and Bizarre Tales, and The Great Chicago Fire. She is also the creator of the Ameri-Scares series of spooky, middle-grade novels, which were optioned for television by Warner Horizon in 2021. Beth’s short fiction has been included in countless magazines and anthologies, including several years’ best publications. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, artist/illustrator, and Theremin-player Cortney Skinner. When not writing, she knits, goes geocaching, spends time chilling at Starbucks, and seeks out locations she’s never visited before. If she can find the remains of a crumbling, abandoned amusement park, all the better.

Nuzo Onoh

Nuzo Onoh is a Nigerian-British writer of Igbo descent. She is a pioneer of the African horror literary genre. Hailed as the “Queen of African Horror”, Nuzo’s writing showcases both the beautiful and horrific in the African culture within fictitious narratives.

Nuzo’s works have been featured in numerous magazines and anthologies. She has given talks and lectures about African Horror, including at the prestigious Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, London. Her works have appeared in academic studies and have been longlisted and shortlisted.

Nuzo holds a Law degree and Master’s Degree in writing, both from Warwick University, England. She is a certified Civil Funeral Celebrant, licensed to conduct non-religious burial services. An avid musician with an addiction to Jungyup and K-indie, Nuzo plays both the guitar and piano, and holds an NVQ in Digital Music Production. She resides in the West Midlands, United Kingdom.

John Saul

John was born in 1942 in Southern California and grew up in Whittier, California. Jack and Betty Saul were his parents, and he had a sister, Helen, who was two years older. He was in Seventh Grade when his English teacher told him he should consider writing as a career. John attended four colleges, studying Theater and Anthropology. He wrote plays, short stories, poetry, and eventually novels. Though he enjoyed writing humor, John’s first novel was purchased by Dell Publishing to compete in the rapidly expanding thriller market of the late 1970s. With the immediate success of SUFFER THE CHILDREN, he was off and running. John’s partner (now husband) of 47 years, Mike Sack, helped with book ideas and plotting. When they first met, Mike was a clinical psychologist at a state hospital and shared his experiences with John. Both Mike and John helped organize and taught at the Maui Writers Conference and School. His third novel, CRY FOR THE STRANGERS, was made into a TV movie, and all of John’s books have been published in over 35 countries worldwide and millions have been sold.


Specialty Press Award

The recipient of the Specialty Press Award is Undertow Publications.

The HWA Specialty Press Award is presented periodically to a specialty publisher whose work has substantially contributed to the horror genre, whose publications display general excellence, and whose dealings with writers have been fair and exemplary.

The award was instituted in 1997, largely due to the efforts of long-time HWA member and specialty press aficionado Peter Crowther.

Congratulations to Undertow Publications!

Undertow Publications

“I am extremely grateful to be receiving the H.W.A. Specialty Press Award. To be honored and recognized by my peers in this way is truly unexpected. I am pleased beyond words, and giddy with joy. Thank you! The warmth and support from the horror community has been overwhelming. I am indebted to you all.”

– Michael Kelly, Founder/Editor-in-Chief

Undertow Publications began in 2009 with the goal of proving that speculative and literary fiction could coexist in the same strata, and that modes of writing shouldn’t be judged by their genre but by their literary aesthetic. Literary spec-fic is what we aspire to. Our first publication, “Apparitions”, an anthology of literary ghost stories, garnered a Shirley Jackson Award nomination. Since then we’ve won 2 Shirley Jackson Awards; a British Fantasy Award, and are 5-time World Fantasy Award finalists. We have been profiled in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and Wall Street Journal.

We crave stories of human relationships. The stories we publish explore human identity and the global, cultural, and natural influences that connect and shape us. No matter the setting, it’s vital to us to publish real stories of real people––their struggles; their triumphs. Fiction holds a mirror to the common world and helps us understand. It makes us feel. And it entertains. Often, that’s enough.

Undertow Publications continues to push against genre prejudice; publishing a diverse cross-section of authors, and continues to prove that horror and speculative fiction is not a pejorative.


The Richard Laymon President’s Award

The recipient of the Richard Laymon President’s Award for Service is Meghan Arcuri.

The Richard Laymon President’s Award for Service was instituted in 2001 and is named in honor of Richard Laymon, who died in 2001 while serving as HWA’s President. As its name implies, it is given by HWA’s sitting President.

The award is presented to a volunteer who has served the HWA in an especially exemplary manner and has shown extraordinary dedication to the organization.

Congratulations to Meghan!

Meghan Arcuri

Meghan Arcuri is a Bram Stoker Award®-nominated author. Her work can be found in various anthologies, including Borderlands 7 (Borderlands Press), Madhouse (Dark Regions Press), Chiral Mad, and Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards). She is currently the Vice President of the Horror Writers Association.

Prior to writing, she taught high school math, having earned her B.A. from Colgate University—with a double major in mathematics and English—and her masters from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

She lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.


The Karen Lansdale Silver Hammer Award

The recipient of the Karen Lansdale Silver Hammer Award is Karen Lansdale.

In 2022, the Horror Writers Association renamed the Silver Hammer Award to the Karen Lansdale Silver Hammer Award in honor of the tremendous amount of work Karen did starting the HWA.

Our physical award has also been updated. Instead of a hammer, a new stylized sculpture has been designed and cast by the same company that mints our Bram Stoker Award statues. We look forward to sharing the new design at StokerCon2023.

The HWA periodically gives the Karen Lansdale Silver Hammer Award to an HWA volunteer who has done a truly massive amount of work for the organization, often unsung and behind the scenes. It was instituted in 1996 and is decided by a vote of HWA’s Board of Trustees.

The award is so named because it represents the careful, steady, continuous work of building HWA’s “house”—the many institutional systems that keep the organization functioning on a day-to-day basis.

Congratulations to Karen!

Karen Lansdale


Once upon a time, dear hearts, there wasn’t a Horror Writers Association, and the writers who specialized in horror fiction existed random of one another, like stars, and they were lost in a dark void.

And then Karen Lansdale came along, and the void was filled.

Let me explain how that happened. Let me try and put a continuous misunderstanding aside so that it might die in a field alone, and let true credit be given where credit is due.

Robert R. McCammon, who was very much involved in the horror field back when it was in its boom, along with his then-wife, Sally, met Karen and me in an elevator at a World Fantasy Convention. Hearing me speak to Karen, Rick said, “I bet you’re Joe R. Lansdale. I can tell by the accent.”

Took one Southerner to recognize another. The elevator was slow, but the McCammons and Lansdales hit up an immediate friendship, right then and there.

The elevator stopped, and we sat and visited, and Rick, as McCammon preferred to be called, said he had an idea that since horror was growing, and had become a recognized commercial genre, it should have an organization. He called the idea HOWL. Horror Occult Writer’s League, which to this day I prefer to the soberer Horror Writers Association. He was talking about something along the lines of The Mystery Writers of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, Western Writers of America, and so on.

But there was a problem. He didn’t have the time.

Karen immediately said, “I’ll do it.”

It would be easy to say the rest was history, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

It went like this.

Karen, at that convention, began to make a list of names and addresses of writers who might be interested in such an organization. Rick had come up with the idea but was too busy to pursue. He had the seed, but Karen planted and watered and fertilized it until it grew into a tree.

See the full story here.


Mentor of the Year Award

The recipient of the Mentor of the Year Award is David Jeffery.

The HWA’s Mentor Program is available to all members of the organization. This popular program pairs newer writers with established professionals for an intensive four-month-long partnership. For new writers, the Program offers mentees a personal, one-on-one experience with a seasoned writer, tailor-made to help them grow in their writing and better market their work. For experienced writers, it is an opportunity to pay forward the assistance and encouragement other writers gave them when they were starting out. In addition, there is the added benefit of growing as a writer oneself through the act of teaching others. In short, the Program benefits all who participate, regardless of their roles.

Established in 2014, the Mentor of the Year Award recognizes one mentor in the Program who has done an outstanding job of helping new writers. The award is chosen by the current manager of the Program.

Congratulations to David!

David Jeffery

“David Jeffery epitomizes what a mentor should be. He is dedicated to helping other writers improve their craft and is always eager to participate in the Program each semester. The writers he’s worked with have nothing but great things to say about him, as evidenced by this quote from one of his recent mentees:

“‘Dave deserves praise and was everything one could ask for as a mentor. He was kind, he offered his expertise in a way that I could apply to my work, he made himself readily available, and he tailored his feedback and suggestions to my aspirations as a writer. In short, Dave was an excellent ambassador for the HWA and writers in general.’”

“It’s been a pleasure for me to work with Dave these past several years, and I would like to point out that he also helps writers in other ways, as he is the co-chair of the HWA’s Wellness Committee. Without members like David, the Mentor Program would not exist.” –JG Faherty, HWA Mentorship Program Manager

David is the author of 18 novels, two collections, and numerous short stories, and he’s also an accomplished screenwriter. Many of his novels have been featured on Amazon #1 bestseller lists, including his Necropolis Rising series. David has been a mentor for the HWA for several years now, and he consistently receives outstanding praise from his mentees. In addition to being a member of the Horror Writers Association, David also belongs to the Society of Authors and British Fantasy Society. A former registered mental health professional, David is currently the co-chair of the HWA’s Wellness Committee and has written several books, academic papers, and research articles relating to the field of mental health.

About the Horror Writers Association

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. Founded in the late 1980s, it now has close to 2000 members around the world and is the oldest and most respected professional organization for creators of horror fiction. The HWA encourages public interest in and appreciation of horror and dark fantasy literature and hosts an annual professional conference, StokerCon. HWA is also dedicated to recognizing and promoting diversity in the horror genre and practices a strict anti-harassment policy at all of its events. Please direct any questions regarding these awards to the Vice President of HWA. For more information about the Horror Writers Association, please visit For more information about the Bram Stoker Awards® and our other awards, please visit

Desiree Duffy
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