HWA Announces 2023 Scholarship Winners

HWA Scholarship Announcement

The Horror Writer’s Association would like to thank everyone who applied for scholarships in 2023. The initiative of applicants makes it possible to provide these invaluable opportunities to connect, learn, grow, and imagine what might be next for the genre.

Whether it’s a haunting novel or a groundbreaking thesis, a riveting collection of poetry or a jaw-dropping new script, the horror writers of the world have been busy. These scholarships provide more than just money; they provide the chance for the winners to learn from the best, mature as creators, and infuse our world with art like only they can make. We are beyond stoked to announce this year’s scholarship recipients! We hope you will join us in commending their achievements.

HWA Scholarship

Nikki Blakely

Nikki Lynn Blakely lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and enjoys crafting stories that evoke smiles, tears, laughter, the occasional eye roll, and sometimes even a scream.  Her work has appeared in Sundial MagazineBright Flash Literary ReviewLuna Station Quarterlythe CentifictionistWriters Resist, Little Old Lady Comedy, in the following anthologies: Between the Covers72 Hours of Insanity V9 (Writer Games),  Dim and Flaring Lamps, and the podcasts Tall-Tell TV, and The Gallery of Curiosities (2/24) You can find her on Twitter – @nblakely99 

Mary Shelley Scholarship

Hyten Davidson

Hyten Davidson is a writer and actor based in NYC. Her screenplays have won multiple awards, including the L.A International Horror Film Festival, and her short film The West Virginian Starfish took home the Best Short Film award at last year’s Long Island Film Expo. Her short fiction has been published in The Maine Review, Landlocked Magazine, Rock Salt Journal, and New Reader Magazine. Most recently, Hyten’s horror audio drama Come to Mama premiered on the latest season of the NoSleep Podcast. For more, visit www.hytendavidson.com.

Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship

Elizabeth Lepro

Elizabeth Lepro is a New York-based writer and MFA candidate at Hunter College. Her reporting has been published in various outlets in the U.S. and Egypt. Her Substack newsletter, Food for the Worm, is a series of essays about horror films and humanity. Through it, she explores the weird, wicked, and whatever it is that goes bump in the night. You can read more here –  https://foodfortheworm.substack.com/

Diversity Grants

Justin Carlos Alcala

Justin Carlos Alcala is an award-winning American novelist & short story writer. His works are

most notable for their appearance in Publisher’s Weekly, the SLF Foundation Awards, and the

University of British Columbia project archives. Justin is a folklore fanatic, history nerd, tabletop

gamer, and time traveler. Alcala’s thirty plus short stories, novellas, and novels can be found in

anthologies, magazines, journals, and commercial publications. He currently resides with his

dark queen, Mallory, their hex-witch daughter, Lily, changeling son, Ronan, goblin-baby, Asher,

and hound of Ragnarök, Fenrir in Bigfoot’s domain. Where his mind might be is anyone’s


Pronouns: he/him

Website: https://www.justincalcala.com

Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/JustinAlcala

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justin.alcala/

Blog: https://justinalcalablog.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7862799.Justin_Alcala?from_search=true

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@justinalcala312

Agatha Andrews

Agatha Andrews is a writer that haunts old Texas cemeteries, and lurks in libraries and

bookstores. Her words have appeared in Austin Monthly Magazine, and anthologies with Brigids

Gate Press and Ghost Orchid Press. She is also the host of the She Wore Black Podcast.

Pronouns: she/her

Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/AgathaAWrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/agathaandrewsauthor

Blue Sky – https://bsky.app/profile/agathaandrews.bsky.social

Threads – https://www.threads.net/@agathaandrewsauthor

Nadira Jamerson

Nadira Jamerson (she/her) is a journalist and horror/fantasy writer from Pasadena, California.

Her work primarily focuses on the Black queer woman’s perspective, mental health, and healing

generational trauma. You can read her latest novel and other works on her website.

Pronouns: she/her

Website: nadiraxrene.com

Instagram handle: @nadiraxrene

Bridgette Johnson

Bridgette Johnson is a writer of horror for middle grade, young adult, and adult audiences. Her

short story “Copperhead Holler” was published in Appalachia Bare. They love attending fan

conventions and hiking their own section of spooky woods.

Pronouns: she/they

Twitter/X: @cecilewrites

Mara Adanto-Keledei

Mara Adanto-Keledei is a Mexican-Korean-American bookseller focusing on racial horror and

the Gothic. They recently returned to academia and this summer attended Manchester

Metropolitan University’s International Gothic Summer School. Previously a designer for theater

and haunted houses, their experience informs their current writing. Mara can often be found

running around at book festivals or trying new soups. They dream of someday building their own

Castle of Otranto-themed haunt.

Pronouns: they/them

Website: https://soupgoth.com/

Leanbh Pearson

Leanbh Pearson lives on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra, Australia. An award-winning

LGBTQI and disability author of horror and dark fantasy, her writing is inspired by folklore,

fairytales, myth, history and climate. She’s judged the Australian Shadows Awards, Aurealis

Awards, an invited panelist and member of the AHWA, CSFG, Australian Fairytale Society,

British Fantasy Society, HWA and SFWA. Leanbh has been awarded AHWA and HWA

mentorships, nominated for the Ditmar Awards and winner of AHWA Robert N Stephenson

Flash Fiction Story Competition. Leanbh’s alter-ego is an academic in archaeology, evolution

and prehistory.

Pronouns: she/her

Website: www.leanbhpearson.com

Twitter/X, Facebook, Instagram & Threads: @leanbhpearson

Marcie Rendon

Marcie Rendon is White Earth Ojibwe. She was listed in Oprah’s 2020 list of 31 Native

American Author’s to read and received Minnesota’s 2020 McKnight Distinguished Artist

Award. Rendon’s Cash Blackbear crime novels have received prestigious recognition. “Sinister

Graves” was a Minnesota Book Award Finalist 2022. Her short story, “Wingless”, is in the

highly touted Never Whistle At Night anthology, edited by Shane Hawk and Theodore Van

Alst. Forthcoming work includes Anishinaabe Songs for the New Milliniuem (poetry); Where

They Last Saw Her (crime); Stitches of Tradition (picture book); book 4 Cash, and of course,

more horror.

Pronouns: she/her

Website: https://www.marcierendon.com/

Twitter/X: @marcierendon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarcieRendonMN

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marcierendon/


FadairoTesleem (TPC vi) is a Nigerian poet and a member of The Poetic Collective. He was

on the shortlist for 2022’s Spectrum Poetry Contest, Abubakar Gimba’s Prize for Nonfiction

(2023) & Africa Teen Writers’ Award (poetry category). His poems are published in The B’K

Magazine, Geez Magazine, Dillydoun Review, Protean Poetry, Kreative Diadem, Consequence

Forum, & host of other publications. Tesleem is an alumnus of the Olongo Africa Poetry

workshop &SpriNG Writers’ Fellowship.

Pronouns: he/him

Twitter/X: @_olakunle

Phoebe A. Xavier

Phoebe A. Xavier is a writer, 46 years of age, plus the co-founder & editor-in-chief of the Indie

comic book brand 123GO! Publications. She is a trans woman somewhere in the US of A who

also dabbles in stand up comedy, hip-hop and amateur smut. Her first book “Superliminal

Latency“ was launched in 2023. She has attained comfort in feeling the ballast of an iron oxen

balancing on a hundred foot pole.

Pronouns: Jobu/Tupaki


Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/KaraKillgrave77

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/123gopublications

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phoebe123go/


Young Adults Write Now Endrowment

Somerset Public Library—Somerset, MA

Horror is Lit!, administered by Marybeth Rua-Larsen, Head of Reference

The Westport Library—Westport, CT

StoryFest, administered by Alex Giannini, Associate Director Programs & Events