21st Annual Bram Stoker Awards Ceremony
Acceptance Speech for “Outstanding Achievement in a Fiction Collection”
by Michael Arnzen (for Proverbs for Monsters)
March 29th, 2008, World Horror Convention, Salt Lake City
NOTE: I was not present for the ceremony in Salt Lake; the speech above was kindly read (and artfully performed) by my friend, writer Weston Ochse.
Hi everybody. I'm sorry I can't be with you live tonight, but I think Weston can do a pretty good imitation of me looking ebulliently astonished.
[Make a funny face, Weston]
I seriously can't believe it. Thank you. Peter Straub, Christopher Fowler, David Niall Wilson, and Laird Barron all had phenomenal collections this year, so I hope everyone will give them a round of applause.
Writers rarely get to feel this good, so thank you for gracing me with this award. Proverbs for Monsters assembles work from across my entire career as a horror writer, so this accomplishment feels like so much more than just a literary award for one book, and I can't express how humbled I am right now, and how much I appreciate the HWA for its lifelong support. But I do have some friends I want to specifically thank.
Thanks to publisher Joe Morey, his editor (and wife) Bobbi, and his designer Dave Barnett, all from Dark Regions Press. Dark Regions published my very first book 17 years ago, so this award marks QUITE a reunion.
I want to thank my old buddy from the University of Oregon, Matthew Schuster, who not only designed the unforgettable art, but who also gave the book its quirky, sardonic character.
Gratitude to the always-hilarious Mark McLaughlin, my collaborator for some of the best stories in the book, and who I have called a friend since the first World Horror Convention.
Thanks to my colleagues at Seton Hill University for their amazing support...especially in the form of a sabbatical that gave me extra time to work on Proverbs for Monsters. Oh yeah!
And I am indebted to my wife, Renate, a friend like no other, for her unconditional love and persistent indulgence during the two decades in which these stories were written.
Given time, I'd also thank every magazine and anthology editor who worked on the individual stories and poems that would later appear in Proverbs for Monsters, but if this were the Oscars, they would have cued the music by now, so I'll simply end here with an earnest toast:
[Make funny face again. Then dramatically hoist the statue high as if in toast to the crowd.]
To all my friends!