Bram Stoker Awards Rule Changes

The Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Awards® Committee has announced two modifications to the award rules for the 2023 season and forward.

Increase in Number of Member Recommendations Required to Qualify for the Preliminary Ballot — In recognition of the remarkable growth in HWA membership during the past decade, the number of member recommendations required for a work to qualify for the Preliminary Ballot has been increased from five (5) to eight (8). The five-recommendation minimum was in place for many years, during which the number of HWA members who may recommend works for consideration grew from around 400 to around 1800. Raising the qualifying number of recommendations by a modest amount will help maintain the integrity of the Awards. The portion of the Awards rules governing this process now reads:

“At the end of each awards year, the five (5) works with the most member recommendations on the Bram Stoker Awards® Recommended Reading list proceed to the Preliminary Ballot. A work must have a minimum of eight (8) member recommendations to qualify. If there are fewer than five (5) works in a category with the minimum required recommendations, only those with the requisite minimum of eight (8) recommendations will proceed to the Preliminary Ballot. When five (5) works from the Recommended Reading list move to the preliminary ballot, they will be combined with the top five (5) selections from the jury for a total of ten (10) works in each category for the Preliminary Ballot. To comprise a minimum of ten (10) works total for each category on the Preliminary Ballot, any categories in which fewer than five (5) works from the Recommended Reading list have sufficient member recommendations to advance to the Preliminary Ballot, the balance will be drawn from jury selections.”

Expansion of the Poetry Category from “Poetry Collection” to “Poetry (Collection and Long Form)” — In recognition of member requests and a number of works submitted to the juries in recent years, the Bram Stoker Awards Committee has expanded the poetry category to include long-form works in verse in addition to collections. Prior to this change, works such as a novella or novel in verse or an epic poem published in a standalone format did not fit into any Bram Stoker Award category. This change allows such works direct consideration. The new language concerning poetry reads as follows:

“Poetry (Collection and Long Form): A poetry collection is defined as 30 pages or more by a single poet, or a collaboration of 48 pages or more by no more than four (4) poets. Each poet must contribute at least 10% of the poems or word count to the whole, with all works sharing a unified genre, theme, or approach. Long-form poetry is defined as a poem of more than 200 lines or a work in verse of more than 2,500 words. Publication must be in a book, single chapbook, or electronic book format, or for long form poetry only, an electronic magazine—a series of pamphlets or an online source such as a website that simply carry poetry by a single author or authors is not eligible. Individual poems within a collection may have been published prior to the award year, but the collection as a whole must be new. The package may include additional material, such as fiction, nonfiction, or illustrations. To be eligible for a Bram Stoker Award® in the Poetry (Collection and Long Form) category, the majority of the titles in a collection must be comprised of poetry and the fiction content must amount to less than 40,000 words. A single long form poem published in a collection or anthology may be eligible regardless of the prose content in the same publication.”

    The complete Bram Stoker Awards Rules for the 2023 season may also be viewed online here.

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