HWA announces ‘Vampire Novel of the Century’ nominees

The Horror Writers Association has come up with a unique way to mark the centenary of the death of Dracula author Bram Stoker – they’re going to name the “Vampire Novel of the Century” at the Stoker Awards Banquet, set to take place on March 31 during the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The final list of nominees was selected from a list of 35 preliminary nominations. One of these six final nominees will be honored as having had “the greatest impact on the horror genre since the publication of Dracula in 1897.” The list is as follows:

  • The Soft Whisper of the Dead by Charles L. Grant
  • Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
  • Hotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
I’ll admit to be almost completely unqualified to comment on this list, as I’ve only read two – Salem’s Lot and I Am Legend – and made a short-lived attempt to read Interview with the Vampire. I have a copy of Anno Dracula somewhere in the To-Be-Read piles, and I’ll try and dig into it before the awards are announced. I’d also love to get my hands on a copy of Grant’s book, which is (according to the HWA’s dedicated award page) part of his Oxrun Station series of books.
What I can tell is that they’ve gone for a diverse selection of takes on the vampire mythos, from King’s old-school bloodsuckers to Rice’s romantic tilt to Matheson’s “this is a virus, not a curse” angle. I think that’s a good thing, because the malleability of the central idea is what has kept it alive and relevant for so long. It will be interesting to see the final selection, and the debate that will undoubtably follow.

This year’s baquet marks the HWA’s 25th year, and while it’s been maligned by many over the years, it seems that a new, fresh crop of officers and members are working hard to inject life and purpose back into the group. They should be announcing the Bram Stoker nominees soon – in the meantime, take a moment to visit the website and check out the “Recommended Reading” list, a handy guide to a lot of what was good in genre fiction in 2011. (You can find it on the “Bram Stoker Awards” page at the link above.)

So, what are your thoughts on the list? Did they come up with a good selection? Did they leave some obvious choices off? And who among them would you select as “Vampire Novel of the Century”?

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