The Richard Laymon President’s Award for Service was instituted in 2000 and is named in honor of Richard Laymon, who died in 2000 while serving as the Horror Writer’s Association’s President. As its name implies, it is given by the HWA’s sitting President. The Award is presented to a volunteer who has served HWA in an especially exemplary manner and has shown extraordinary dedication to the organization.
HWA’s President Rocky Wood has chosen Karen Lansdale to receive the 2011 Richard Laymon Award. Karen is recognized as one of the Founders of the HWA – indeed the Award is for her dedication and hard work at that time. “It’s clear that Karen was the true driving force behind the successful launch of the HWA,” Wood said.
According to one prominent writer who was there at the time, “In the eighties horror fans and writers were growing in leaps and bounds. It was a boom time. Rick McCammon thought it might be nice if there was an organization that catered to those writers. He had an idea called HOWL, The Horror and Occult Writers League. He put an ad out to see if there was interest. There was. A lot. Rick recognized he didn’t have time to deal with such an endeavor. He told Karen Lansdale about his idea, and she jumped at it. She took his list and made a simple photo-copied newsletter and sent it those addresses. The response was phenomenal. At that moment in time Horror was as big as the Beatles.Over the next few months Karen set about acquiring articles from numerous writers in the field, and the organization was changed to The Horror Writers of America. Later, to The Horror Writer’s Association. She talked to editors about the new endeavor, wrote short articles about HWA for Mystery Scene, drummed up interest at conventions, and set the election of officers in motion. As it grew, Dean Koontz offered to take over, invest some of his own money in making it more professional, and from there it developed into what it is today. Without Karen’s contribution, and months of hard work, it wouldn’t have happened. This was before computers were knocking out newsletters in minutes by switching this and moving that. It was photo-copied, stapled, put in envelopes, addressed, stamped and mailed out by one person – Karen. The only thing Karen didn’t do was deliver the mail herself. She might have, but at that time she was holding down a full time job as a fire department dispatcher and didn’t have a mail pouch!”
Rocky Wood said, “In this 25th Anniversary year of the HWA’s incorporation, there is no better person to recognize than Karen, without whose drive we would not be celebrating that anniversary. For that sterling service I as President, and our entire membership, show our respect and gratitude by bestowing the Richard Laymon Award.”
Karen will receive the Award at the Bram Stoker Awards™ Banquet in Salt Lake City on March 31, 2012.
The Horror Writers Association is a worldwide organization promoting dark literature and its creators. It has over 700 members who write, edit and publish professionally in fiction, nonfiction, videogames, films, comics, and other media.