Last night I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural James Herbert Award for Horror Writing. The idea for the award (conceived by our Julie Crisp and administered by Herbert’s publishers Pan Macmillan) was to honour the late master of horror James Herbert, and to celebrate and publicise the boldest and best horror fiction out there at the moment. The prize was also administered in partnership with Tom Hunter, director of the Serendip Foundation, and the estate of James Herbert. 


There were six judges: Kerry Herbert, James Herbert’s eldest daughter; Tom Hunter, who chaired the judges; Ramsey Campbell, author, editor and critic; Rosie Fletcher, acting editor of Total Film magazine and a horror expert and reviewer for SFX magazine; Sarah Pinborough, author and screenwriter; and Dr Tony Venezia, researcher and visiting lecturer in literary and cultural studies at Birkbeck, University of London and Middlesex University.

Together, they chose a shortlist of six novels: The Girl with All the Gifts by M R Carey (Orbit); Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan); Bird Box by Josh Malerman (HarperVoyager); The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley (Tartarus Press);  An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman (Titan Books) and The Troop by Craig Davidson, writing under the name Nick Cutter (Headline).

the-2btroop-2bby-2bnick-2bcutter_1 The Troop by Nick Cutter

The winner was announced by Kerry Herbert as The Troop, which Kerry says “is the darkest of tales where human evil meets an insatiable force of nature to wreak havoc on kids, a scout troop, no less. What could be better? My father would have chuckled in his chair; his fans will love it. And you’ll never go camping again. The Troop is a brilliant and terrifying classic that I am proud to champion as the first winner of the James Herbert Award for Horror Writing - it's now one of my favourite books.” Davidson received £2,000 and a commemorative statuette.

kerry-2bherbert_1 Kerry Herbert

You can read the full press release here.

Here are a few photos from the event, which was held at the wonderfully quirky and macabre The House of Magic in Kennington. I would definitely recommend visiting! 

the-2bhaunted-2bhouse-2bbox_1 The Haunted House box tips-2521_1 Tips! senior-2beditor-2bcatherine-2brichards-2bin-2bthe-2bchair-2bof-2bwhispers_1 Senior Editor Catherine Richards in the Chair of Whispers one-2bof-2bthe-2bmany-2bcabinets-2bof-2bcuriosities_1 One of the many cabinets of curiosities tom-2bhunter-2bintroducing-2bthe-2bshortlist_1 Tom Hunter introducing the shortlist the-2bstatuette-2b-2528plus-2ba-2bwreath-2band-2ba-2bcopy-2bof-2bthe-2brats-2529_1 The statuette (plus a wreath and a copy of The Rats)