In a world first, Tauranga author, Lee Murray, doubled her Bram Stoker Award® achievements of last year, receiving a further two prestigious literary awards at a gala event hosted by the Horror Writers Association (HWA) at the Curtis Hotel in Denver, USA on 14 May.
Named for the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the international Bram Stoker Awards® are presented annually for superior achievement in dark fiction, with Murray winning the short fiction category for her story “Permanent Damage” which appears in Attack from the 80s edited by Eugene Johnson (Raw Dog Screaming Press).
It’s a horror-comedy about a bridezilla turned Medusa set in the late 80s, which Murray jokingly claims is “almost autobiographical.” She also won the poetry category for her debut collection Tortured Willows. Bent, Bowed, Unbroken, an award she shares with her co-authors, poets Christina Sng, Geneve Flynn, and Angela Yuriko Smith.
US writer and director, Jamal Hodge, says the richly crafted poetry of Tortured Willows is “perspective changing, unveiling intimate histories, ancient folklore, and feminine strength.”
Murray’s double win is unprecedented, coming on the heels of last year’s awards for Grotesque: Monster Stories (Fiction Collection) and Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (Anthology). Murray is overwhelmed by the honour, although she admits horror doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
“Traditionally horror fiction has struggled for visibility in literary circles, but the genre is seeing something of a renaissance lately, perhaps as a result of recent global events,” she says. “I truly hope our Kiwi horror creatives will ride this wave of resurgence because we have such a lot of untapped talent here.”
HWA president, John Palisano, agrees: “The HWA is proud to award authors on the worldwide stage, with New Zealand being front and centre this year. Lee Murray stunned by winning two Bram Stoker Awards in one night … for the second year in a row! She now has an impressive four Bram Stoker Award wins in four categories.”
Previous winners of the Bram Stoker Awards® include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates, and Neil Gaiman. Kiwi authors who have previously won are Allyson Bird (2011) and the late Rocky Wood (2011, 2012).
Watch the event stream HERE (40mins & 1.58)