Tartarus Press, of North Yorkshire, England, will receive the Horror Writers Association’s Specialty Press Award for 2009. The award will be presented during the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet at the World Horror Convention, to be held this year in Brighton, England, March 25-28.

The annual Specialty Press Award recognizes a publisher outside the mainstream New York City publishing community that specializes in dark-themed fiction. Winners are typically “small presses” specializing in limited editions, small print runs, or the work of new and relatively unknown authors. The winner of the award is determined by a majority vote of the HWA Board of Trustees.

Ray Russell and Rosalie Parker’s Tartarus Press specializes in weird, ghostly, and gothic fiction ranging from reprints of obscure but notable novellas and novels to single-author collections of classics and brand new collections by contemporary writers. Tartarus has reprinted collections by Arthur Machen, F. Marion Crawford, Sarban, Robert Aickman, Edith Wharton, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, plus published new collections by Rhys Hughes, Mark Valentine, Peter Cannon, and Simon Strantzas, among others.

Their first original anthology, Tales From Tartarus, was edited by R.B. Russell and Rosalie Parker and published in 1995. Since then, Strange Tales volumes 1-3 have come out, and the first volume won the World Fantasy Award in 2004.

Tartarus has been in existence for twenty years. Initially, the publications were inexpensive yet attractive stapled booklets of stories or articles limited to 25-50 copies. The press quickly graduated to publishing 100-250 copies of its more popular chapbooks, and by 1992 it was producing attractive hardbound books such as the collection Ritual and Other Stories by Arthur Machen. Now, in 2010, most of their print runs are 300-500 copies.

In addition the press published a price guide to first editions, and the journal Wormwood.

Multiple award-winning editor Ellen Datlow said, “I’ve been following the maturation of Tartarus Press for all these twenty years and eagerly await each book they publish. I’m thrilled that they’re finally being honored this way.”

When informed of the award, Tartarus had this to say: “Tartarus has only ever published writing that we, Ray Russell and Rosalie Parker, personally admire. It is a constant delight to us to find that others share our enthusiasms, whether it be readers, reviewers or the Board of Trustees of the Horror Writers Association!”

Past winners of the Specialty Press Award include Delirium Books, Earthling Publications, PS Publishing, and Blood Letting Press. Cemetery Dance won the first Specialty Press Award in 1997.

For more information: Tartarus Press

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