Jack Ketchum Named 2011 Horror Grand Master

January 17, 2011

For immediate Release Contact: Lee Thomas
Info [at] whc2011.org
Nate Southard
Registration [at] whc2011.org

Fans name “The scariest guy in America” as convention Grand Master.

Austin – January 17: The registered members of the World Horror Convention 2011 have voted and named author Jack Ketchum as their Grand Master. The international conference of horror’s premier talents and their fans will take place in Austin, Texas from April 28th through May 1st, 2011.

Stephen King once commented, “Who’s the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum.” Many of Ketchum’s fans would agree, as his work often foregoes supernatural trappings and explores real-world terrors with human beings as his monsters-of-choice.

“There’s no one like Ketchum,” said convention co-chair Lee Thomas. “His work is brilliantly crafted, always relevant, and disturbing as hell. Plus, he’s one of the nicest guys you’re ever going to meet.”

“Ketchum’s work was some of the first to really capture my imagination and inspire me as a writer,” said Nate Southard, convention co-chair. “His prose is among the best I’ve ever read, and he’s a master of voice, theme, and character. It’s an honor to have him attend our convention.”

The Grand Master Award is presented to an outstanding contributor to the horror genre by election. Only registered members of the World Horror Convention are eligible to vote, and recipients must be alive at the time of voting. Former Grand Masters include Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, and Stephen King.

Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for a former actor, singer, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk — a former flower child and baby boomer who figures that in 1956 Elvis, dinosaurs and horror probably saved his life. His first novel, Off Season, prompted the Village Voice to publicly scold its publisher in print for publishing violent pornography. He personally disagrees but is perfectly happy to let you decide for yourself. His short story The Box won a 1994 Bram Stoker Award from the HWA, his story Gone won again in 2000 — and in 2003 he won Stokers for both best collection for Peaceable Kingdom and best long fiction for Closing Time. He has written eleven novels, arguably twelve, four of which have been filmed — The Lost, The Girl Next Door, Red, and Offspring. The Woman, his film collaboration with Lucky McGee (May) will be screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. His stories are collected in The Exit At Toledo Blade Boulevard, Broken on the Wheel of Sex, Peaceable Kingdom, Sleep Disorder (with Edward Lee), and Closing Time and Other Stories. His novella The Crossings was cited by Stephen King in his speech at the 2003 National Book Awards.

The World Horror Convention is an annual gathering of professionals in the horror industry: publishers, authors, artists, musicians, filmmakers, dealers and, of course, horror fans. WHC serves as both an industry insider’s networking event and a chance for fans of the genre to get together, meet some of the creative talents in the field, and generally spend a weekend celebrating All Things Scary.

Visit our guests at:
Steve Niles: http://www.steveniles.com
Joe Hill: http://www.joehillfiction.com
Sarah Langan: http://www.sarahlangan.com
Joe R. Lansdale: http://www.joerlansdale.com
Brett Savory: http://chizine.com/chizinepub
Sandra Kasturi: http://chizine.com/chizinepub
Vincent Chong: http://www.vincentchong-art.co.uk
Brian Keene: http://www.briankeene.com
Del Howison: http://www.darkdel.com/
Jack Ketchum: http://www.jackketchum.net

For more information please contact Nate Southard at registration [at] whc2011.org or Lee Thomas at info [at] whc2011.org.

What I’m reading now

It’s official.  My “To Be Read…” pile of books has grown so large that I’ve had to move it from the bedside table to its own bedroom.  I sometimes look at the stack and think to myself, Let’s see, at the pace of a book every other day, I could finish this stack in about a hundred and twenty years…

So why is it, with that much new reading to do, that I find myself rereading Jack Ketchum’s collection of stories Peaceable Kingdom?  Well, it could be that the stories in there are absolutely amazing.  Yeah, that has to be it.  Last night, I opened my worn and well-loved copy and glanced at the first line of the lead off story “The Rifle.”

I read:

“She found the rifle standing on its stock in the back of his cluttered closet.

“Unexpected as a snake in there.”

and I was hooked.  Ketchum will do that to you.  His prose is so smooth, so straightforward and immediate, that you find yourself unable to look away from the page.  One hour, and five stories later, I found myself unaware of where the time had gone, my skin damp with sweat.

And then I remembered…that’s why I read Jack Ketchum.

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