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