The Horror Writers Association announced today that the Karen Lansdale Silver Hammer is the new name of the award given to an HWA volunteer “who has done a truly massive amount of work for the organization, often unsung and behind the scenes.”
They also are updating the physical award, replacing the hammer with a new stylized sculpture now being designed. It will be cast by the same company that makes the Bram Stoker Award statues.
Karen Lansdale will be the first recipient of the renamed award, to be presented to her in October 2022.
HWA said they have renamed the award “in honor of the tremendous amount of work Karen did starting the HWA.” Joe R. Lansdale tells in a brief history the things his wife did to help create the organization. He ends his memoir with the declaration:
…So, let it be known, it was she, not Rick [Robert R. McCammon], not me, not Dean [Koontz], who created the organization which continued to grow and became the Horror Writers Association. It leaped from our kitchen table, where Karen operated, and flew out into the ether to eventually become world-wide. That’s impressive.
Karen is proud of that.
I am proud of her.
Alas, her modesty has led to her not receiving the credit she deserves, to be set aside in favor of bigger names, all male, mind you, and she is not even mentioned in the history of the Horror Writers Association. This is a travesty.
She proudly received, many years later, a Richard Laymon award for her contributions, but that is not enough. She didn’t just Xerox and staple, she created.
Her efforts were soon forgotten, pushed aside even. The history is still improperly written. It needs to be revised to reflect the truth. Rick and Dean, and many others contributed, but the mojo that caused it to come into being, was the mojo Karen Lansdale put into it.
I love Karen for her humility all these years, but it frustrates me as well.
Rick had the idea, Dean had the money to broaden the newsletter and the organization’s appeal, but Karen Lansdale founded the Horror Writers Association.
That’s the in and the out of it, the alpha and the omega.
Adds Robert McCammon, “Karen Lansdale performed an invaluable service for HWA at the organization’s birth, and every HWA member around the world should be appreciative of the great work she did.”