HWA Summer Scares

Summer Scares is proud to announce the 2024 spokesperson, author Clay McLeod Chapman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Columbus, OH — The Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, Booklist, and NoveList®, a division of EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO), is proud to announce the fifth annual Summer Scares Reading Program. Summer Scares is a reading program that provides libraries and schools with an annual list of recommended horror titles for adult, young adult (teen), and middle grade readers. It introduces readers and librarians to new authors and helps start conversations extending beyond the books from each list and promote reading for years to come. 

Summer Scares is proud to announce the 2024 spokesperson, author Clay McLeod Chapman: 

“To this day, I still have vivid memories of my grandmother escorting six-year-old me through our local library — Go, Bon Air! — and striking a deal: Pick two books, any two books, one for her to read to me and one for me to read to myself. When we both finished our individual reads, we could always come back and pick another pair. I can still list off practically every book I selected — beginning with “Monsters of North America” by William A. Wise — returning to the library to replenish our endless reservoir of reading every week of my childhood. Now I feel as if I’m returning to the library all over again, thanks to Summer Scares, where the deal this time is to pick those books that continue to make an impact on me and share them with as many readers as humanly possible.” 

Chapman is joined by a committee of six library workers who, together, will select three recommended fiction titles in each reading level, totaling nine Summer Scares selections. The goal of the program is to encourage a national conversation about the horror genre, across all age levels, at libraries around the world, and ultimately attract more adults, teens, and children interested in reading. Official Summer Scares designated authors will also make themselves available at public and school libraries. 

The committee’s final selections will be announced on February 14, 2024, Library Lover’s Day. Chapman, along with some of the selected authors, will kick off Summer Scares at the 8th Annual HWA Librarians’ Day, Friday, May 3rd, during StokerCon® 2024 at the San Diego Mission Bay Marriott. 

Additional content, including podcast appearances, free webinar with Booklist, and lists of suggested titles for further reading, will be made available by the committee and its partners between the announcement of the Summer Scares 2024 titles and the kickoff event. 

Of special note is the annual Summer Scares Programming Guide, courtesy of HWA Library Committee Co-Chair Konrad Stump and the Springfield-Greene County Library, which provides creative ideas to engage horror readers. Centered around the official Summer Scares titles, the guide offers tips and examples for readers’ advisory, book discussion guides, and sample programs, enabling librarians, even those who don’t read or especially enjoy the horror genre themselves, to connect their communities with Summer Scares. 

To see past year’s Summer Scares titles, spokespeople, and programming guides, please visit the program archive: http://raforallhorror.blogspot.com/p/summer-scares-archive.html. 

This year, Summer Scares is once again excited to partner with iRead and all ages Summer Reading Program developed by librarians for libraries. iRead is used by libraries across the United States and around the world through their partnership with the US Department of Defense, bringing Summer Scares to our military families deployed all over the world. 

2024 also brings NoveList as an official partner after a few years of providing program support. 

“The goal of connecting readers with their next favorite book shapes everything we do at NoveList. We know reading can transform and delight, including being delightfully frightened,” said Danielle Borasky, Vice President of NoveList. “The dedication of the Summer Scares program to connecting readers of all ages with horror aligns with our passion for matching every reader with their next book,” she added. “Our team includes devoted genre readers, including die-hard horror fans, so we understand the importance of genre fiction. We’re thrilled to support a program that highlights how enriching horror can be for readers.” 

“I’ve been unofficially involved in parts of the Summer Scares program for the last couple of years and have worked to spotlight the selections in the NoveList databases. While collaborating with Summer Scares, I’ve also become an HWA member and a more active member of the horror community, which has been a wonderful gift,” said Yaika Sabat, MLS, Manager of Reader’s Services for NoveList. “I am fortunate to channel my lifelong love of horror into helping readers discover the genre in my work, both in NoveList and beyond,” she added. “As someone who began reading horror as a child and considers every season the right time to read horror, I’m thrilled to join the Summer Scares selection committee.” 

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates coming soon from Booklist, Book Riot, NoveList and United for Libraries, as well as at the HWA’s website: www.horror.org and RA for All Horror: http://raforallhorror.blogspot.com/p/summer-scares.html. 

Questions? Reach out to HWA Library Committee Chairs Becky Spratford and Konrad Stump via email: libraries@horror.org. 

Summer Scares Committee Members: 

Clay McLeod Chapman writes books, comic books, children’s books, as well as for film and television. His most recent novels include What Kind of Mother and Ghost Eaters. You can find him at www.claymcleodchapman.com. 

Becky Spratford is a library consultant and the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror, third edition which was released in September of 2021. She reviews horror for Booklist Magazine, is the horror columnist for Library Journal and runs the Readers’ Advisory Horror blog, RA for All: Horror. Becky is also a member of United for Libraries and is currently serving as Secretary for the Horror Writers’ Association. 

Konrad Stump is a Local History Associate for the Springfield-Greene County (MO) Library, where he co-coordinates Springfield-Greene’s popular “Oh, the Horror!” series, which attracts hundreds of patrons during October. He created the Donuts & Death horror book discussion group, featured in “Book Club Reboot: 71 Creative Twists” (ALA), and co-created the Summer Scares Programming Guide. Library workers who are interested in cultivating horror programming can contact him at konrads@thelibrary.org for free assistance. 

Carolyn Ciesla is an academic library director in the Chicago suburbs. She has worked as a teen librarian and reference librarian, and reviews horror titles for Booklist Magazine. She’s currently enjoying providing all the scary books to her teen daughter, and revisiting a few along the way. You can find her all over the internet as @papersquared. 

Kelly Jensen is an editor at Book Riot, the largest independent book website in North America. She covers all things young adult literature and has written about censorship for nearly ten years. She is the author of three critically acclaimed and award-winning anthologies for young adults on the topics of feminism, mental health, and the body. She was named a person of the year in 2022 by Publishers Weekly and a Chicagoan of the year in 2022 by the Chicago Tribune for her anti-censorship work. She has also earned commendation from the American Association of School Librarians for her censorship coverage. Prior to her work at Book Riot, she was a public librarian for children, teens, and adults in several libraries in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. She is currently enrolled in a clinical mental health counseling master’s program to bolster her work with mental health. 

Julia Smith joined the Books for Youth team at Booklist in 2015, where she is now a senior editor. Her love of middle-grade literature and all things unsettling and strange draws her to creepy children’s stories. You can follow her at @JuliaKate32 on Twitter. 

Yaika Sabat (MLS) comes from a background in public libraries of various sizes. She now works at NoveList as the Manager of Reader Services, where she trains library staff nationwide on readers’ advisory, creates genre-focused content, and works on reader-focused products and services. As a Horror Writers Association’s Library Advisory Council member, she works to help librarians understand and embrace the horror genre. Her other passions include writing, graphic novels, film (the scarier, the better), and folklore. 

About the Horror Writers Association  

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 1985 to promote dark literature and its creators. It hosts the prestigious Bram Stoker Awards® and offers public resources on horror, including market listings, writing tips, and more. Founded in the late 1980s, the HWA is the oldest and most respected professional organization for creators of dark literature. The HWA hosts an annual professional conference, StokerCon. HWA is also dedicated to recognizing and promoting diversity in the horror genre  and practices a strict anti-harassment policy at all of its events. For more information about the Horror Writers Association and the Bram Stoker Awards® please visit: https:/horror.org 




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