Thursday, 29 January 2015

The James Herbert Award for Horror Writing

The shortlist for the first James Herbert Award for Horror Writing is announced today, Thursday 29 January 2015.

From the darkly fantastical and post-apocalyptic to desolate rural mysteries, gut-wrenching body horrors and modern re-imaginings of classic Horror tropes, the six shortlisted titles represent a darkly diverse journey across a genre that is as popular with readers as it is disturbing in its imaginings.

The shortlisted novels are:

Nick Cutter, THE TROOP (Headline)
Frances Hardinge, CUCKOO SONG (Macmillan)
Andrew Michael Hurley, THE LONEY (Tartarus Press)
Josh Malerman, BIRD BOX (Harper Voyager)
Kim Newman,  AN ENGLISH GHOST STORY (Titan Books)

Chair of judges, Tom Hunter, comments,

“The first year of a new literature prize is always viewed with one eye on the past of the genre and one on the future and, given this is a horror prize, perhaps a third eye watching behind to check for unspoken things lurking in the dark.

“The judges have created a truly compelling shortlist for this inaugural year that exemplifies the diversity of modern horror fiction and reminds us that great horror writing should always scare and fascinate in equal measure.”

Kerry Herbert, James Herbert’s daughter and one of the judges, adds-

My Dad was a brilliant storyteller. He gave us characters to relate to, before they got hideously chomped. He showed us a hidden world where social injustice might just be day-to-day living. Most of all, he scared the bejesus out of us. Because it could happen to anyone. A few wrong choices, an earthquake, a plane crash…

“As a fitting legacy, I hope that this shortlist presents the quality and huge diversity of the horror genre. But most of all I hope at least one of these books scares you so much that you can’t sleep, you can’t forget, and you can’t wait to tell your friends about it.” 

The James Herbert Award for Horror Writing was launched in April 2014 and celebrates the life and career of one of the world’s best and most loved horror writers. The prize is jointly administered by Herbert’s publishers, Pan Macmillan, in partnership with the Serendip Foundation, and the estate of James Herbert.  The winner will be announced at a ceremony in a central London location in March 2015.   The winning author will receive a cheque for £2,000 and a specially-designed commemorative statuette.

The judges of The James Herbert Award are:

·        Ramsey Campbell, author, editor and critic and ‘Britain's most respected living horror writer’ (the Oxford Companion to English Literature)

·        Rosie Fletcher, Acting Editor of Total Film magazine and a horror expert and reviewer for SFX magazine

·        Kerry Herbert, James Herbert's eldest daughter. She worked in book publishing for 20 years before becoming an award-winning comedy promoter. As an infant, Kerry "helped to write" The Fog by scribbling over several hundred of his hand-written pages. Aged 14, Kerry's father officially allowed her to read his books, and she began to proof-read the manuscripts

·        Tom Hunter, Director of the Serendip Foundation (Chair of judges)

·        Sarah Pinborough, the critically-acclaimed author and screenwriter, and three times winner of the British Fantasy Award

·        Dr Tony Venezia, researcher and Visiting Lecturer in literary and cultural studies at Birkbeck, University of London and Middlesex University

The prize, which will be awarded annually, aims to discover and publicise a new generation of horror authors working today and celebrate the boldest and most exciting talent in the genre. The inaugural award was open to horror novels written in English and published in the UK and Ireland between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2014.

The Shortlist

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, M. R. Carey (Orbit) - £7.99
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.

THE TROOP, Nick Cutter (Headline) - £7.99
Cut off from the mainland, the scouts of Troop 52 face a nightmare far worse than anything they could have made up around a campfire. To survive they will have to fight their fears, the elements... and eventually each other.

CUCKOO SONG, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books) - £7.99
The first things to shift were the doll's eyes, the beautiful grey-green glass eyes. Slowly they swivelled, until their gaze was resting on Triss's face. Then the tiny mouth moved, opened to speak.
'What are you doing here?' It was uttered in tones of outrage and surprise, and in a voice as cold and musical as the clinking of cups. 'Who do you think you are? This is my family.'

THE LONEY, Andrew Michael Hurley (Tartarus Press) - £3.50 (ebook)
The discovery of the remains of a young child during winter storms along the bleak Lancashire coastline leads Smith back to the Saint Jude’s Church Easter pilgrimage to The Loney in 1976.
After the pilgrimage, a miracle—of one kind or another—occurred. Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost. 
Smith feels he is t
BIRD BOX, Josh Malerman (Harper Voyager) - £7.99
Most people dismissed the reports on the news. But they became too frequent; they became too real. And soon it was happening to people we knew.

Then the Internet died. The televisions and radios went silent. The phones stopped ringing

And we couldn’t look outside anymore.

AN ENGLISH GHOST STORY, Kim Newman (Titan Books) - £7.99
A dysfunctional British nuclear family seek a new life away from the big city in the sleepy Somerset countryside. At first their new home, The Hollow, seems to embrace them, creating a rare peace and harmony within the family. But when the house turns on them, it seems to know just how to hurt them the most, by threatening to destroy them from the inside out.

About James Herbert
I didn't plan to write horror; it just poured out of me.’

James Herbert
James Herbert, who died on 20 March 2013, was the author of 23 novels, published in 34 languages including Russian and Chinese and which have sold over 70 million copies worldwide.  They include The Fog, The Dark, The Survivor, The Magic Cottage, Sepulchre, Haunted, Fluke and Creed, and of course The Rats trilogy, all considered to be classics of the genre.  His later bestsellers included Portent, The Ghosts of Sleath, '48, Others, Once..., Nobody True and The Secret of Crickley Hall all of which enhanced his considerable reputation as a writer of depth and originality.

His last novel, Ash, was published in hardback in 2012 and in paperback in 2013, just a week before his death.

The launch of The James Herbert Award for Horror Writing coincided with the fortieth anniversary of the first publication of The Rats for which Pan Macmillan released special anniversary paperback and collectors’ hardback editions in May and September 2014 and which contained an exclusive new introduction by Neil Gaiman. 

James Herbert was born in London’s East End on 8 April 1943.  At the age of ten, he won a scholarship to St. Aloysius Grammar School, Highgate, and aged sixteen started studying graphic design, print and photography at the renowned Hornsey College of Art.  He then found work in an advertising agency where he rose to the rank of Art Director and Group Head.

He began writing his first novel when he was 28.  Ten months later he had completed The Rats, conjuring a London overrun by mutant, flesh-eating rodents.  He submitted the manuscript to six publishers, three of whom replied.  Of those, two rejected the novel and one accepted it.  On its publication in 1974, the first printing of 100,000 copies sold out in three weeks, firmly establishing him as Britain’s leading writer of horror and one of the country’s greatest popular novelists.

James Herbert was awarded the OBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours list, the same year he was made the Grand Master of Horror by the World of Horror Convention. 
James and his wife, Eileen, married in 1967 and had three daughters, Kerry, a judge for The James Herbert Award for Horror Writing, Emma, and Casey.

About Pan Macmillan

Pan Macmillan is the UK general book publishing arm of the Macmillan Group, which operates in over 70 countries.  Its imprints include Macmillan, Mantle, Pan, Picador, Boxtree, Sidgwick & Jackson, Bello, Tor, Macmillan Children's Books, Campbell Books, Macmillan New Writing and Macmillan Digital Audio

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