Peter Straub Wins Stoker Award for MR. X (

By:Denise Dumars
Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2000

At the Horror Writers Association meeting and World Horror Convention in Denver, CO, on Saturday, May 13, 2000, Guest of Honor Peter Straub was awarded the Bram Stoker Award for his 1999 novel, MR. X, at the Stoker Awards banquet. 'I went to the World Horror Convention in Denver after having been nominated in the Novel category for two awards to be presented there: the International Horror Guild's award and the Stoker,' explains Straub. 'I had agreed to pick up Stephen King's IHG Award for the screenplay of STORM OF THE CENTURY and F. Paul Wilson's Stoker in the Short Story category, should he win, so I knew I would be homing in on the podium at least twice, but had little confidence that I would accept anything for myself.'

Straub had underestimated his fellow HWA members, however, for he was destined to walk away with one of the two awards for which he was nominated. 'Stewart O'Nan's splendid A PRAYER FOR THE DYING won the IHG Award for Best Novel, a decision I could not find it in myself to resent,' says Straub of the award he did not get. 'In fact,' he continues, 'I was glad that O'Nan won. His book is a stunning, utterly impressive contribution to the horror genre. O'Nan is considered a mainstream writer and was, until now, overlooked by the great majority of horror readers. He was gracious enough to show up for the occasion. I have never felt less distressed about failing to win an award for which I'd been nominated!'

Straub is nothing if not modest. 'When I approached the podium on my own behalf I could do nothing but mutter garbled phrases of delight and pleasure at winning the Stoker--or the Usher, as my fellow Guest of Honor Harlan Ellison insists on calling it.'

Straub is grateful for the award especially because it is one given by his fellow professionals in the horror field. 'HWA's Active Members award the Stoker/Usher on the basis of their individual votes, and the recognition of one's peers means so much that most other forms of recognition pale beside it,' he says.

MR. X is considered by many to be one of Straub's finest novels. Bill Sheehan, in his scholarly work on Straub, AT THE FOOT OF THE STORY TREE: An Inquiry into the Fiction of Peter Straub, says of MR X:

'Straub kicked the door open and had a field day, populating his novel will all manner of strange and extravagant phenomena, including time travel, lucid dreaming, telekinetic manifestations...and one of the wittiest, most original appropriations of H. P. Lovecraft's Mythos that has ever appeared in print.'

Congratulations to Peter Straub on an award well-deserved and a novel well done.