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What Is The Horror Writers Association?

THE HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION (HWA) is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it.

HWA History

HWA was formed in the late 1980’s with the help of many of the field’s greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe Lansdale. Today——with over 1400 members in countries such as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Honduras, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, United Kingdom and the United States——it is the oldest and most respected professional organization for the much-loved writers who have brought you the most enjoyable sleepless nights of your life.

HWA’s Missions

One of HWA’s missions is to encourage public interest in and foster an appreciation of good Horror and Dark Fantasy literature. To that end, we offer the public areas of this web site, we sponsor or take part in occasional public readings and lectures, we publish a blog and produce other materials for booksellers and librarians, we facilitate readings and signings by horror writers, and we maintain an official presence at the major fan-based horror and fantasy conventions, such as the World Fantasy Convention. We also organize our own annual convention: StokerCon.

HWA is also dedicated to recognizing and promoting diversity in the horror genre, and practices a strict anti-harassment policy at all of its events.

As part of our core mission, we sponsor the annual Bram Stoker Awards® for superior achievement in horror literature. Named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented for superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenwriting, graphic novels, young adult, and non-fiction. In addition, HWA presents an annual Lifetime Achievement Award to a living person who has made significant contributions to the writing of Horror and Dark Fantasy over the course of a lifetime.


Ohio, March 6, 1987, 501(c)(6) nonprofit

Who Can Join HWA?

Anyone can join the HWA, though we have different membership levels based on your experience. You must apply for the level you fit into and prove your experience with proper documentation. If you’re a lapsed member, you can rejoin at your previous level without having to provide the documentation again.

    If you’re not (yet) a professional writer, but have an interest in Horror, then you can be a supporting member. Even those who just love reading it or watching Horror movies can join in this category. You do not need to provide any specific evidence or meet any requirements.

    You are a non-writing horror professional (bookseller, agent, illustrator, editor, teacher, librarian, or other). You will need to supply convincing evidence of your professional affiliation in the form of a letterhead, company brochure, web site URL, etc.

    You are working as an academic and have an academic interest in the field of horror or dark literature. You will need to provide documentation of your research, teaching, writing, or other appropriate activities within the genre. More on this in the next page.

    You have published a little at professional rates. You will have to provide documentation of your sale. If you cannot, then choose “Supporting Ally” above. You will be able to apply for a different level later, once you can qualify.

  • ACTIVE WRITER OR EDITOR (voting member)
    You are an established professional writer or editor. You will need to provide proof of this with your application.  Click here to start the process of joining now!

How Can Joining HWA Help You?

Networking, mentoring, information about the craft and the business of writing, promotional resources, etc.

At all membership levels, you will:

  • receive HWA’s monthly newsletter and our members-only emails,

  • be eligible to:

    • recommend works for the Bram Stoker Awards®

    • get involved with the HWA’s local chapters

    • participate in the Mentor Program

Whether you’re an aspiring writer working toward your all-important first pro-level sale or a seasoned novelist with a dozen books to your credit, HWA can help further your career.

If you’re a producer, publisher, editor, or agent, you’ll find our networking resources invaluable for finding dedicated, productive writers to add to your stable.

If you’re a librarian or bookseller, you’ll have an inside track on talented writers, hot new books, and likely award winners.

And if you’re a fan, you’ll have access to the writers you love and will get to be an important part of the oldest and largest organization dedicated to horror.

Marketing and Promotion

Do editors care if you’re an HWA member? Here’s what Martin H. Greenberg, bestselling editor of over 100 anthologies and winner of the coveted Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award has to say: “When I see that a writer is a member of HWA, I know he takes his work and his profession seriously.”


  • Members can access our regularly updated lists of complete contact information for libraries, bookstores, and reviewers as well as HWA’s directory of members—nearly a thousand names and addresses of dedicated horror readers, writers, and industry professionals.

  • ​FREE WEB AND NEWSLETTER PUBLICITY Members can place free notices about new publications on our site, in our members-only monthly newsletter, and our public monthly Quick Bites mailing.


    • Each edition of HWA’s monthly HTML newsletter is packed with valuable horror publishing and market news, and includes a timely, comprehensive listing of horror, dark fantasy and related markets assembled exclusively for HWA by Kathryn Ptacek, editor and publisher of Gila Queen’s Guide to Markets. Between newsletters, members can access our online version of Kathryn’s horror market news in the Members Only area of HWA’s web site. Members also receive regular email bulletins offering market and industry news.


    • The “Horror Writers Association Presents” anthology series is curated by some of the top editors in the field, and most have an open submission period exclusive to our members. Some of our previously published titles include the Halloween anthology, Haunted Nights, edited by Lisa Morton and Ellen Datlow; and the YA anthology, Scary Out There, edited by Jonathan Maberry. The three-volume Blood Lite anthologies, edited by Kevin J. Anderson, have attained bestseller status and paid royalties to those HWA members who were contributors. Our non-fiction book On Writing Horror, edited by Mort Castle, has become an accepted standard guide for writing in the horror genre.

Career Building

    We feel strongly that one of the best ways we can contribute to the health of the horror genre is by helping to educate beginning writers in the ins-and-outs of both the craft and the business of writing. Yet writing courses are expensive, never last long enough, and rarely deal with the practicalities of establishing a career in writing. For that reason, we’ve created the HWA Mentor Program. Participating professional horror writers are paired with Affiliate and Supporting members who wish to learn a little or a lot about everything from the craft of writing to the pitfalls of contract negotiations.


    • HWA helps writers find agents by providing comprehensive contact info for agents who specialize in horror.


Michael A. Arnzen, author of the Bram-Stoker-Award-winning Grave Markings, notes, “Being a member of HWA is like attending the best professional conference all year round. Not only do you get to keep your fingertips on the quivering pulse of the horror writing biz, but you make plenty of important contacts—and perhaps more importantly, friends—as well.”


  • The Horror Writers Association is represented at numerous events throughout the year, including genre conventions, book festivals, trade gatherings and local literary events. Plus, HWA holds an annual business meeting and Bram Stoker Awards&#174 Banquet which includes plenty of opportunities to meet and get acquainted with fellow writers, editors, agents, and publishers.


    • HWA’s award-winning web site is a well-known resource for Horror aficionados on the Internet. But members gain access to additional invaluable tools through the Members-Only area of the site.

      • A complete online roster of members

      • a listing of Horror agents

      • frequently updated market and industry news

      • Bram Stoker recommendations

      • the HWA’s database of Horror bookstores and reviewers

      • our database of libraries

      • an online version of the HWA Handbook

      • our HWA message board provides a constantly-available forum for networking with colleagues

      • And, finally, through the HWA Internet Mailer, members receive optional late-breaking email announcements between issues of our monthly HTML


    • Regional HWA chapters meet for workshops, group readings and signings, special projects, and social functions. To reach one of our active chapters, look for the list here.


Ready? Click here to start the process of joining now!

Charitable Work


  • HWA also works to expand appreciation of the genre and literature in general by promoting education. We’ve donated memberships to writing workshops, and worked with universities to provide genre experts as guest lecturers. We’re always looking for ways to expand our educational outreach.


    • In the past, HWA has worked with literacy programs to provide books and guest authors at various events.

In Times of Trouble

There are times when writers must pull together to solve mutual problems or come to each other’s aid. HWA can be a friend to turn to when things get rough. Here’s how we can help.


  • For the mediation or settlement of complaints arising from generalized unfair or unethical behavior on the part of individuals or organizations with whom HWA members regularly do business.


    • The writing life can be difficult. Established HWA members experiencing financial distress are eligible to apply for small safety net loans under this program.


You made it all the way to the end! You must be a true Horror aficionado. Click here to start the process of joining now! You don’t have to be a writer to join!


Thank you for your interest in HWA!

Write to if you still have questions about HWA.


Questions About Joining the HWA?

Send us a message today.

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