Black Authors and Academics Shape Horror Business

DENVER, May 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — John Edward Lawson, the African American author, educator, and publisher behind Raw Dog Screaming Press, never expected to be distinguished as a guest of honor at this year’s StokerCon. The annual Horror Writers Association conference, held at Denver’s Cutis Hotel this Thursday through Sunday, is named after Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. Lawson’s pioneering work as a publisher has previously been recognized with awards, but even after 25 years in the business industry acceptance is a new experience.

"It’s no surprise the success of movies like Jordan Peele’s Get Out and shows like Lovecraft Country has made the industry sit up and take notice," Lawson says of Black creators in the horror space. He adds, "Experts are calling this a new golden age of genre publishing in general, and horror in specific, and the African diaspora influence on that can’t be ignored."

One catalyst for the surge in Black-led horror projects is the work of the scholars and documentarians behind the acclaimed film, and its resultant series, Horror Noir. Of the Black academics in the horror field, Sheree ReneĆ© Thomas will also be a guest of honor at StokerCon alongside Lawson, as will one of the subjects of Horror Noir, filmmaker Ernest Dickerson. Half of this year’s guests of honor are Black contributors to the genre.

Deepening the Academic Connection
As business owner and longtime supporter of horror conferences Lawson, with business partner Jennifer Barnes, decided to sponsor the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference, or AnnRadCon, which functions as StokerCon’s academic track. Pre-recorded presentations by scholars will be available throughout the convention virtually, with live presentations exclusive to the in-person event on Friday, May 13.

Nicholas Diak, co-chair of the conference, says of orchestrating this year’s event, "A delight is finding out that Raw Dog Screaming Press will be sponsoring AnnRadCon this year! This is amazing because I love RDSP. We are sincerely grateful to Jennifer and John for all that they do for the writing community."

The Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference is available to all StokerCon attendees as part of registration for this hybrid event.

Scary Innovation
John Lawson is thankful for the community building efforts of HWA leadership and convention chairs alike. "Folks like John Palisano and James Chambers, not to mention Linda Addison and Brian Matthews, they all really rolled up their sleeves, got involved and made room for the rest of us to contribute."

Among his 20+ hours of programming Lawson will be leading a class titled Afro-Surrealism in Horror, participating in discussions of censorship, pushing boundaries with poetry, and other issues of business and craft, and will be onstage as a presenter during Saturday evening’s Bram Stoker Awards Ceremony.

Ann Radcliffe Conference highlights include:

  • I Am My Sister’s Keeper: The Dynamics of Black Sisters in Candyman (2021), Lovecraft Country, and Eve’s Bayou by Rhonda Jackson Joseph
  • Beauty in the Grotesque: Bernie Wrightson’s Lifelong Obsession with Frankenstein’s Monster by Michele Brittany
  • Bathing Bad: Feminine Vengeance and Masculine Vulnerability in the Showers of Horror by Karley Pardue
  • Distortions in the Looking Glass: The Hidden Horrors of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and its Effects on Contemporary Black Horror by Anita Siraki
  • Gaia Screaming by Brenda S. Tolian

Full information and tickets can be found at

About Raw Dog Screaming Press
Founded in 2003 by John Lawson and Jennifer Barnes, Raw Dog Screaming Press gives authors an outlet for weird, dark, unconventional books.

About the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference
The Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference is part of the Horror Writers Association’s Outreach Program. Created in 2016 by Michele Brittany and Nicholas Diak, the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference has been a venue for horror scholars to present their work.

Media contact:
John Lawson
Co-Founder, Raw Dog Screaming Press
1 (301) 832-85321

SOURCE Raw Dog Screaming Press