Specialty Press Award

The annual Specialty Press Award recognizes a publisher outside the mainstream New York City publishing community that specializes in dark-themed fiction. Winners are typically “small presses” specializing in limited editions, small print runs, or the work of new and relatively unknown authors. The winner of the award is determined by a majority vote of the HWA Board.

The 2015 Specialty Press Award winner is Thomas and Elizabeth Monteleone’s Borderlands Press.


Borderlands Press began in 1990 with the publication of a signed limited edition of The Magic Wagon by Joe Lansdale. Since that time, under the guidance of Elizabeth and Tom Monteleone, the press has published more than 100 titles by the most revered and successful writers in the genres of horror, dark fantasy, and suspense: Ray Bradbury, Poppy Z. Brite, Clive Barker, Wes Craven, Harlan Ellison, Dennis Etchison, John Farris, Neil Gaiman, Charles L. Grant, Stephen King, T.E.D. Klein, Henry Kuttner, Robert R. McCammon, Alan Moore, Dan Simmons, Peter Straub, Whitley Strieber, Andrew Vachss, Karl Wagner, and F. Paul Wilson  . . . .to mention just a handful.

Borderlands Press has been privileged to publish special collectible editions of seven Bram Stoker Award winning books—Cut! edited by Christopher Golden, The Mothers And Fathers Italian Association by Thomas F. Monteleone, Borderlands 5 edited by Elizabeth E. Monteleone, Lost Boy Lost Girl by Peter Straub, In the Night Room by Peter Straub, 5 Stories by Peter Straub, and Shadow Show edited by Mort Castle and Sam Weller.

Since its inception, the press has published (on an erratic and unpredictable schedule) 6 volumes of its non-themed anthology of imaginative fiction. The anthology series has established a reputation for seeking out fiction that does not employ the usual genre tropes and icons such as ghosts, vampires, zombies, serial killers, or were-creatures. The series has always been wide open to any and all submissions and writers are never invited or commissioned to appear on its table of contents. Each volume has always contained a substantive percentage of work by new writers—in many cases debuting their first published work.

In addition, the press has sponsored and conducted the Borderlands Press Writers Boot Camp for twelve consecutive years. Held at Towson University’s Conference Center, the Boot Camp has provided instruction and guidance to more than 200 attendees—of whom more than 70% have gone on to see their subsequent work published professionally. Instructors at the Boot Camp have included Ginjer Buchanan (Sr. Editor at Putnam-Berkley), Jaime Levine (Sr. Editor at Warner/Grand Central), John Douglas (Sr. editor at Avon / Morrow), Melissa Singer (Sr. Editor at Tor Books), and award-winning writers Gary Braunbeck, Mort Castle, Richard Chizmar, Douglas Clegg, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, Elizabeth Massie, David Morrell, Thomas F. Monteleone, Peter Straub, Thomas Tessier, Chet Williamson, F. Paul Wilson, and Douglas E. Winter.

After more than a quarter of a century, Borderlands Press continues its mission to publish worthy writers in fine collectible editions. The torch not only burns bright, but is being passed along to the next generation. Tom and Elizabeth’s daughter, Olivia F. Monteleone, now assumes duties of designer, typesetter, and editor.

Past Recipients

The following publishers have received the HWA Specialty Press Award:

2014 – ChiZine Publications, Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi
2013 – Gray Friar Press, Gary Fry
2012 – Centipede Press, Jerad Walters
2011 – Bad Moon Books, Roy Robbins, and Hippocampus Press, Derrick Hussey
2010 – Dark Regions Press, Joe Morey
2009 – Tartarus Press, Ray Russell & Rosalie Parker
2008 – Bloodletting Press, Larry Roberts
2006 – PS Publishing, Peter Crowther
2005 – Necessary Evil Press, Don Koish
2004 – Delirium Books, Shane Ryan Staley
2003 – Earthling Publications, Paul Miller
2002 – Night Shade Books, Jason Williams & Jeremy Lassen
2000 – Subterranean Press, William K. Schafer
1999 – Ash-Tree Press, Christopher & Barbara Roden
1998 – Gauntlet Publications, Barry Hoffman
1997 – Cemetery Dance, Richard Chizmar