The Awards were established in 1987 and have been presented annually since 1988, and the winners are selected by ballot of the Active members of the HWA. They are named after Irish horror writer Bram Stoker, author of the novel Dracula, among others.
Several members of the HWA—including Dean Koontz—were reluctant to endorse such writing awards, fearing it would incite competitiveness rather than friendly admiration. The HWA therefore went to lengths to avoid mean-spirited competition, they agreed to specifically seek out new and neglected writers and works, and officially issue Awards not based on "best of the year" criteria, but "for superior achievement", which allows for ties.
Nominated works come from two different processes. Works can be recommended by any member of the HWA and a separate list of works is presented by a Jury for each category. Members with Active status then vote on works appearing on preliminary ballots. The field is thereby narrowed to the Final ballot; and Active members vote to choose the winners from that Final Ballot. Winners of a Bram Stoker Award receive a statuette made by New York firm, Society Awards.
The terms Bram Stoker Award and Bram Stoker Awards are registered trademarks of the Horror Writers Association.
As of the 2019, the Bram Stoker Award is presented for Superior achievement in the following categories:
Discontinued categories include:
- "Horror Writers Association - The Bram Stoker Awards". Horror.org. Archived from the original on 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- Lynch, Bill (18 April 2010). "Logan County horror writer's success is scary". Charleston Gazette-Mail . ProQuest 458234768.
- "sfadb : Bram Stoker Awards Tallies". www.sfadb.com. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
- "Horror Writers Association - Past Bram Stoker Award Nominees & Winners". Horror.org. 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2014-05-19.