StokerCon Report

StokerCon GoHs: Sheree Renée Thomas, Jennifer McMahon, John Edward Lawson, Brian Keene, Gemma Files

StokerCon, sponsored by the Horror Writers Association (HWA), was held May 12-15, 2022, on the virtual Hopin platform as well as in-person at the Curtis Hotel in Denver CO. Guests of honor were Linda D. Addison, Ernest Dickerson, Gemma Files, Brian Keene, John Edward Lawson, Jennifer McMahon, and Sheree Renée Thomas, with Kevin Wetmore as Stoker Awards emcee. Jo Fletcher, Nancy Holder, and Koji Suzuki received Lifetime Achievement Awards. Co-chair Brian Matthews said, ‘‘On the first day, a half day, mind you, we had 72% of our registered attendees check in. I think that’s a record. And when we met up, after three years apart, you could feel the energy. It reinvigorated the soul.’’

Left: Sarah Langan, Grady Hendrix;
Right: David & Lee Murray

There were 615 people registered for the event, with 463 attendees, including 188 in-person (some with hybrid registrations). The convention featured 72 in-person and 40 virtual panels, plus 64 in-per­son and 31 virtual author readings, with many of the in-person offerings live-streamed. Matthews estimates 431 total program participants. Sched­uled panels included ‘‘Horror Noire: The Influ­ence of Black Americans in Horror’’ with Linda D. Addison, Marc Abbott, Ace Antonio-Hall, Chesya Burke, John Edward Lawson, and Sheree Renée Thomas; ‘‘What Makes Cosmic Horror Cosmic?’’ with Maxwell I. Gold, Amanda Headlee, Cody Langille, Mary SanGiovanni, Wendy N. Wagner, and F. Paul Wilson; and ‘‘Resurrecting the Past: Historical Horror’’ with JG Faherty, K.P. Kulski, Jennifer McMahon, Cynthia ‘‘Cina’’ Pelayo, Da­mian Serbu, and Sara Tantlinger. There were also guest of honor panels and interviews. Virtual spac­es were available for socializing.

HWA General Meeting: Co-Chair James Chambers, Angela Yuriko Smith, Ellen Datlow, HWA Vice President Meghan Arcuri, Co-Chair Brian Matthews, Becky Spratford, Maxwell I. Gold, Lisa Kröger, Linda D. Addison, Gabino Iglesias

The Bram Stoker Awards were held Saturday May 14, 8:00 p.m. MDT. Addison was the keynote speaker, and spoke about community, that ‘‘this is what we’re here for;’’ and that while they write about fear, they do not live in fear. The banquet had 167 diners, and roughly 235 people attended the ceremony in-person; 220 viewers watched the livestream. Within a few days of posting, the video accrued over 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 their website.

Other awards presented through the week­end included the Final Frame Short Film Compe­tition, whose grand prize winner was Inheritance, written and directed by Annalise Lockhart. Co-chair Jim Chambers said, ‘‘I’d describe this Stoker­Con as a unique event that brought us unprec­edented attendance with many first-time attendees and old friends coming together to break our long stretch of isolation. The heartbeat of horror is stron­ger than ever.’’

Next year’s StokerCon is planned for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in June 2023. Most details have not been finalized. Guests of honor include Danial Kraus and Cina Pelayo. For more information about StokerCon and the HWA see their site.

Black horror writers gathering (l to r): back row: Maurice Broaddus, LH Moore, Sumiko Saulson, Jamal Hodge, Zin E. Rocklyn, John Edward Lawson, Chris Campbell; middle row: Chesya Burke, Linda D. Addison, R.C. Briggs, L.M. Wood, Craig Laurance Gidney, Denise Tapscott, Tracy A. Cross, Marc L Abbott, Sheree Renée Thomas & Danian Darrell Jerry, Don Guillory; front row (kneeling): Kirk Johnson, Steven Van Patten

This report and more like it in the June 2022 issue of Locus.

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