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Horror Writers Association – Pittsburgh Chapter

November 19th, 2019

A few days ago, I came across a blog post by novelist Robert Yune, author of Eighty Days of Sunlight. Titled “22 Indisputable Reasons Pittsburgh Is The Perfect City For Writers,” the post does an excellent job of laying out some of the major reasons I still live in western Pennsylvania. And now there’s one more. Namely, the newly formed Pittsburgh Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

Above, members of HWA Pittsburgh: Left side (front to back) Ben Rubin, Doug Gwilym, Corey Niles, RJ Murray, Stephanie Wytovich, Michelle Lane. Right side (front to back) Michael  A. Arnzen, Lawrence Connolly, Sara Tantlinger, Gwendolyn Kiste (hidden beside husband Bill), Dan Fiore. Photographed by: Nelson Pyles. Members not present: Terri Bertha, John Hardic, Dave Lasota, Frank Oreto.

Founded in the 1980s, HWA currently boasts a membership over 1,400 members from around the world, with a healthy contingent residing in western Pennsylvania.

Earlier this year, writers Sara Tantlinger and Michael A. Arnzen formed the Pittsburgh Chapter, which held its second meeting last Saturday at the Monroeville Library. In addition to giving some local writers a break from their keyboards, the meeting provided a chance for us to hear about the exciting endeavors some of our peers have been up to. Here are a few highlights:

Channeling his lifelong interest in the genre into a career, Ben Rubin is currently working to preserve and promote the history of horror film and literature for the George A. Romero Collection at the University of Pittsburgh, where he “serves as the main point of contact for students, faculty, and researchers seeking to explore scholarly studies in horror.”

The collection includes a number of Romero’s original film scripts (some representing projects that were never filmed) and other materials representing the history of horror in Pittsburgh and around the world.

Poet, novelist, and essayist Stephanie M. Wytovich recently released her sixth poetry collection The Apocalyptic Mannequin (from Raw Dog Screaming Press).  In addition, she has new poetry out in the latest issue of Weird Tales (edited by Jonathan Maberry) and more coming in the soon-to-be-released Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities, and Other Horrors (edited by Dough Murano and Michael Bailey). She also edited the latest installment of HWA Poetry Showcase, which went live last weekend.

Also carrying on the traditions of Poe, Baudelaire, and other practitioners of poetic horror, Sara Tantlinger recently won a Bram Stoker Award for her 2018 poetry collection The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes (Strange House Books). Her latest book, the novella To Be Devoured (from Unnerving) was released this past summer.

Meanwhile, fellow HWA Pittsburgh organizer Michael A. Arnzen (also a Stoker-Award-winning poet) has been serving as the academic consultant for a series entitled Exploring Dark Fiction (Dark Moon Books), which explores the modern masters of short horror fiction. The most recent book in the series considers the work of Jeffrey Ford.

Other writers in attendance were Doug Gwilym and Frank Oreto (editors of the Parsec anthology Triangulations), Nelson Pyles (creator of the fiction podcast The Wicked Library), and Gwendolyn Kiste (whose new story “The Girls from the Horror Movie” is part of Come Join Us By the Fire, the flagship project from Tor’s new horror imprint, Nightfire!).

I could go on. But you get the idea. There was a lot of talent there.

In sum, if you’re interested in writing horror and you live within driving distance of Pittsburgh, you might want to check out HWA Pittsburgh when it holds its next meeting in late winter or early spring. I’ll be sharing the exact date when it’s announced.

Chapter meetings are open to any level of HWA membership, including new/potential members, though the requirement for continual participation is that you are a dues-paying HWA member. Visit http://horror.org for more details.

  1. This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 at 6:21 pm and is filed under 21st-Century Scop. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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