The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has announced the names of three women who have won the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award, and two women who have won other awards.

“THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is presented periodically to an individual (or individuals) 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.” This year, three separate women were judged worthy of recognition.

{image via HWA}

Professor Clover

“Carol J. Clover is a professor emerita of Medieval Studies (Early Northern Europe) and American Film at the University of California, Berkeley. While much of her scholarship has concerned medieval Icelandic culture, her 1992 book Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film was a seminal work in the serious study of contemporary horror cinema and especially “slasher” films. Clover argued against film critics who saw the films as simply victimizing women, instead focusing on the victim/hero—the boyish young woman, with whom the largely young male audience is obviously invited to identify, and who defeats the killer. Clover coined the term “final girl,” and articulated a structural and gendered approach to understanding films such as Friday the 13th, Halloween, and similar horror cinema that has exhibited a profound effect not only on how scholars understand the genre, but also has entered the popular vocabulary and understanding of how to read these films. The volume was reissued as a “Princeton Classic” in 2015 and her influence in the genre can be seen in such recent horror narratives as Final Girl, The Final Girls, Scream Queens, and every rebooted slasher film of the last twenty years,” said the HWA newsletter.

Jewelle Gomez, “the possible foremother of Afrofuturism” {image via HWA}

“Jewelle Gomez is a writer, novelist, playwright, activist, critic, poet, and television writer, among many other identities and activities. She is the author of seven books including the double Lambda Literary Award-winning vampire novel, The Gilda Stories, currently celebrating its 30th year in print. She also authored the stage adaptation of that novel under the title Bones and Ash: A Gilda Story, which began touring in 1996 and was performed in thirteen American cities by the Urban Bush Women company. Her work centers on women’s stories, in particular women of color, and LGBTQ+ rights and culture. Gomez calls herself “the possible foremother of Afrofuturism.” Her poems and short stories appear in over one hundred anthologies. She has also worked as a critic for The Village Voice. Her work bringing horror and speculative fiction from a lesbian, feminist perspective is found not only in her own writing, but in her activism, her teaching, her lectures, and her mentoring. Her impact on the field is substantial, and her work has expanded the margins of horror in an inclusive and genre-reshaping fashion.” She is of Native American and African-American heritage.

Poet and author Marge Simon {image via HWA}

“Marge Simon’s poems, short fiction, and illustrations have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Amazing Stories, ChiZine, Daily Science Fiction, Dreams & Nightmares, Niteblade, The Pedestal Magazine, Strange Horizons, Vestal Review, and many, many more. She has published over a dozen books of poetry and short fiction and won three Bram Stoker Awards® for Best Poetry Collection for Vectors: A Week in the Death of a Planet (2007, co-written with Charlee Jacob), Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls (2012, illustrated by Sandy DeLuca) and Four Elements (2013, co-written with Rain Graves, Charlee Jacob and Linda Addison). Simon’s service to the profession is incalculable, including mentoring numerous poets and writers, serving as the president of both the Small Press Writers and Artists Organization and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, as well as serving as Chair for the HWA Board of Trustees. She has also illustrated five Bram Stoker Award®-winning collections and has worked collaboratively with a number of different authors. Simon is the second woman to be acknowledged by the SF&F Poetry Association with a Grand Master Award.”

Those are the winners of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations, ladies.

The Lifetime Achievement Awards are not the only awards granted at StokerCon, which was of course virtual this year. “During the 2020 Bram Stoker Awards® Ceremony at StokerCon™ 2021 — our virtual event — the Horror Writers Association (HWA) announced the recipients of its various special awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Richard Laymon President’s Award, the Speciality Press Award, the Silver Hammer Award, and the Mentor of the Year Award.” 

Becky Spratford won the Richard Laymon President’s Award.

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.

Becky Spratford, MLIS {image via HWA}

“Becky Spratford [MLIS] is a Readers’ Advisor in Illinois specializing in serving patrons ages 13 and up. She trains library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through the local public library. She runs the critically acclaimed RA training blog RA for All. She is under contract to provide content for EBSCO’s NoveList database and writes reviews for Booklist and a horror review column for Library Journal. Becky is a 20 year locally elected Library Trustee [still serving] and a Board member for the Reaching Across Illinois Library System. Known for her work with horror readers, Becky is the author of The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror, Second Edition [ALA Editions, 2012] and recently completed the 3rd Edition which will be released in Summer 2021. She is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and currently serves as the Association’s Secretary and organizer of their annual Librarians’ Day. You can follow Becky on Twitter @RAforAll.” You can follow us on Twitter @SciFi4wifi

Silver Hammer Award The Horror Writers Association (HWA) periodically gives the Silver Hammer Award to an HWA volunteer (or volunteers) who has done a truly massive amount of work for the organization, often unsung and behind the scenes. This year two people won the Silver Hammer Award: Carina Bissett and Brian W. Matthews

Carina Bissett {image via HWA}

“Carina Bissett is a writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and fabulism. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in multiple journals and anthologies including Bitter Distillations: An Anthology of Poisonous Tales, Arterial Bloom, Gorgon: Stories of Emergence, Weird Dream Society, Hath No Fury, and the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. V and VI. She has also written stories set in shared worlds for RPGs at Green Ronin Publishing and Onyx Path Publishing. She teaches online workshops at The Storied Imaginarium. Her poetry has been nominated for several awards including the Pushcart Prize and the Sundress Publications Best of the Net. Links to her work can be found at”

Brian W. Matthews {image via HWA}

“Brian Matthews is the author of four novels and several short stories. An active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), he’s helped run two of the organization’s annual conventions and will co-chair their 2022 StokerCon ® in Denver, Colorado. He also serves as a jurist for the Bram Stoker Awards ® , served on Lifetime Achievement Award committee, acts as the Bram Stoker Awards ® Show Coordinator, and helps moderate the StokerCon ® Facebook page. He is a recipient of the HWA’s Silver Hammer Award for outstanding volunteerism within the organization. Besides writing, he’s worked as a financial planner for more than two decades.

He lives in Michigan with his wife.”


 Speciality Press Award
“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. This year’s recipient is: Crystal Lake Publishing, Joe MynhardtJoe Mynhardt is a four-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated South African publisher, non-fiction and short story editor, and mentor.A former primary school teacher, Joe is now the owner and CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing, which he founded in August, 2012. Since then he’s published and edited short stories, novellas, interviews and essays by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Ramsey Campbell, John Connolly, Jack Ketchum, Jonathan Maberry, Christopher Golden, Graham Masterton, Damien Angelica Walters, Adam Nevill, Lisa Morton, Elizabeth Massie, Joe McKinney, Joe R. Lansdale, Edward Lee, Paul Tremblay, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Mick Garris, and hundreds more.

Just like Crystal Lake Publishing, which strives to be a platform for launching author careers, Joe believes in reaching out to all authors, new and experienced, and being a beacon of friendship and guidance in the Dark Fiction field. In 2018 he started a coalition of small press publishers to support both each other and their authors.

Joe’s influences stretch from Poe, Doyle, and Lovecraft to King, Connolly, and Gaiman (and so many more).

You can read more about Joe and Crystal Lake Publishing at or find him on Facebook. ”   


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.