HWA Presents the 2020 Service Awards


The 2020 Richard Laymon President’s Award winner is Becky Spratford.

Becky Spratford currently serves as HWA’s Secretary and Library Liaison. She has overseen Librarians’ Day during StokerCon from its inception, and also supervises HWA’s Summer Scares program. She also writes the RA for All: Horror blog and wrote the American Library Association’s Readers Advisory Guide to Horror.

“I am very honored to be awarded the Richard Laymon President’s Award. Ironically, in my work on Summer Scares for the HWA, I am usually the one giving others this type of recognition and honestly, I am not sure how to react. Now that the roles are reversed, the work I have done to grow the HWA’s outreach to Libraries, including recruiting library workers to join the organization, growing the reach and scope of Librarians’ Day, and coordinating the Summer Scares Reading Program have given me some of the greatest professional satisfaction of my life. I have also had a lot of fun amidst all the work and made some lifelong friends along the way. Connecting libraries with horror books and authors is fulfilling but seeing how well both the library workers and authors have taken to each other has been inspiring. I am proud to serve the HWA in this way and very humbled to be recognized for it.”

Becky Spratford


HWA’s Board of Trustees has voted the 2020 Silver Hammer Award to Carina Bissett and Brian W. Matthews.

Carina Bissett has worked extensively in Colorado to bring to life a new Colorado Springs chapter and has been a tireless supporter of our members. In addition, she’s taken on the responsibility of heading up our HWA Membership Committee and has done an outstanding job.

“I stumbled across the HWA during one of the darkest times in my life. I was on the precipice of succumbing to absolute despair when I received notification that I’d won the HWA Scholarship. That phone call connected on a Wednesday, a long summer night in 2016. I’ll never forget that moment, but it’s what came afterwards that was the real surprise. Not only did the HWA offer me hope, but is also gave me purpose. In my attempt to return a small measure of goodwill, I started volunteering as a jury member, first for the scholarships and then for the Stokers. Later, I added other responsibilities. I took a position on the HWA Membership Committee and another as co-chair of the local chapter in Colorado Springs. I reviewed poetry submissions, supported women writers, and moderated conference panels. And I loved it all. Every single minute I’ve spent volunteering for the HWA has been a minute well spent. It is rewarding work, and I find great joy in contributing to an organization dedicated to providing a safe and creative and compassionate community. There isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not involved in one volunteer task or another. This is a blessing. It is a light that continues to shine in my life, and I don’t need anything more than that.”

Carina Bissett

Brian W. Matthews has risen to the occasion not once, not twice, but three times as a co-chair of HWA’s StokerCons. First, in Grand Rapids and now for both the virtual and in-person conventions celebrating Denver. He has served on the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee, currently serves as a jurist for the Bram Stoker Awards, and for the past several years has organized and run the pitch sessions for StokerCon. In addition to his role as convention co-chair, he also serves as the Bram Stoker Awards Show Coordinator. We would not have been anywhere near as successful without him.

“A friend once told me the HWA is like a family; she called it a fellowship. We pull together to help one another, committing our time and our hearts to making the organization a better place for everyone. That’s the spirit of volunteering. To be recognized with the Silver Hammer Award for outstanding volunteerism is an honor I will cherish forever.”

Brian W. Matthews


HWA’s Mentor of the Year Award recipient for 2020 is Angela Yuriko Smith.