StokerCon, sponsored by the Horror Writers Association (HWA), was held May 20-23, 2021, on the virtual Hopin platform. Guests of honor were Maurice Broaddus, Joe R. Lansdale, Seanan McGuire, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Lisa Morton, and Steve Rasnic Tem. Carol J. Clover, Jewelle Gomez, and Marge Simon received Lifetime Achievement Awards. Co-chair Brian Matthews said, “After a year of COVID-related isolation, we strived to bring people back together, to make them feel again that sense of community and comradery we had been missing. From the smiles and laughter I witnessed, I’d say we succeeded.”
There were 481 people registered for the event, with 457 attendees from over 20 countries. The convention featured 34 live panels and 32 recorded panels, plus 76 author readings. Panels included “How Extreme Is Too Extreme” with Rhonda Garcia, EV Knight, John F.D. Taff, Jeff Strand, and Tim Waggoner; “Classic Horror’s Timeless Appeal” with Steven Van Patten, JG Faherty, Alan Baxter, and Nikki Helson-Hicks; “Professional Etiquette: The Business Side of Writing” with Seanan McGuire, James Chambers, Meghan Arcuri, Lisa Morton, Jonathan Maberry, and Ellen Datlow; and “Roots of Horror” with James Chambers, Larissa Glasser, Tom Deady, Diana Rodriguez Wallach, and Nicole Givens Kurtz. John Palisano moderated the guest of honor panel, and each guest of honor had individual interviews. Four virtual spaces, such as the “Shirley Jackson ‘Hang Out’ Bar”, were available for socializing.
The Bram Stoker Awards were held Saturday May 22, 8:00 p.m. EST. Jonathan Maberry was awards emcee, and spoke about the way the horror community came together during the pandemic. Roughly 360 viewers watched the livestream of the Stoker Awards Ceremony and within a few days of posting, the video had accrued roughly 1,500 views on YouTube. All recordings were made available to attendees as an “Extended Access” 3-day event after the convention. For more information go to <www.thebramstokerawards.com/front-page/4394>. Other awards presented through the weekend included the Final Frame Short Film Competition, whose grand prize winner was Tony Morales for Abracitos, and Brian Sacca tied with Trish Harnetiaux & Jacob A. Ware for the writing award.
Next year’s StokerCon will be held May 12-15, 2022 at the Curtis Hotel in Denver CO. Guests of honor include John Edward Lawson, Gemma Files, Sheree Renée Thomas, Brian Keene, and Ernest Dickerson. Matthews said, “We may add one more name later. We hope to make next year’s StokerCon a hybrid event, incorporating elements of a virtual convention into our in-person convention.” For more information about StokerCon and the HWA: <https://horror.org/>.
[Edited to correct Rhonda Garcia on 7/13/21]
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