vampire century award

Dracula cover, 1902Twilight fans probably need not bother trying to lobby for their favourite, as The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is proud to announce it will present the Bram Stoker Vampire Novel of the Century Award at the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet in 2012. The Banquet will be held at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City on 31 March 2012.

A jury chaired by Leslie S. Klinger and comprised of writers and editors James Dorr, Linda Addison, Ron Breznay and Jo Fletcher will endeavour to select the finest vampire novel published since Bram Stoker’s passing in the century 1912. Stoker, of course, wrote Dracula. Full details at the link above.

Meanwhile on a related note the Horror Writers Association blog has moved here.


Fantasy Fiction Is Good For You

The Guardian reports that new research suggests reading fiction – even, shock, horror, fantasy fiction! – is good for you and society.

Shira Gabriel and Ariana Young conducted a study involving reactions to reading extracts from the Harry Potter and Twilight novels. In Becoming a Vampire Without Being Bitten: The Narrative Collective-Assimilation Hypothesis they write: “The current research suggests that books give readers more than an opportunity to tune out and submerge themselves in fantasy worlds. Books provide the opportunity for social connection and the blissful calm that comes from becoming a part of something larger than oneself for a precious, fleeting moment.” (Full article published in the journal Psychological Studies).

Or as Keith Oatley, professor of human development and applied psychology at the University of Toronto comments, “I think the reason fiction but not non-fiction has the effect of improving empathy is because fiction is primarily about selves interacting with other selves in the social world.” He adds, “reading fiction improves understanding of others, and this has a very basic importance in society, not just in the general way making the world a better place by improving interpersonal understanding, but in specific areas such as politics, business, and education. In an era when high-school and university subjects are evaluated economically, our results do have economic implications.”

Coming soon, Harry Potter and the Psychopathy of Bankers.