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:
M.R. Carey, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (Orbit)
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.