The International Thriller Writers (ITW) held their sixth annual convention at New York City’s Grand Hyatt Hotel July 6-9, culminating in the awards ceremony on Saturday night with R.L. Stine as the ThrillerMaster who shared some anecdotes of encounters with fans. “Can I have my picture taken with you?” asked one librarian. “My kids all think you’re dead.”
Ken Follett, last year’s ThrillerMaster, introduced this year’s ThrillerMaster, R.L. Stine, who received the award “in recognition of his legendary career and outstanding contributions to the thriller genre” as the author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street YA series as well as other books for kids, which have sold nearly 400 million copies worldwide. Stine, who at the first Thrillerfest in Phoenix described his work as the equivalent of “a literary training bra for Stephen King,” shared with the audience a number of anecdotes about encounters with fans. “Can I have my picture taken with you?” asked one librarian. “My kids all think you’re dead.” Another librarian once told him, “We’ve lowered our standards, so we can take all your books now.” One young fan of his Fear Street books wrote a letter that started, “Dear. R.L., Why do they end without making any sense?”
Stine added that his family keeps him humble. After he appeared on The Today Show, for example, his wife, Jane, told him, “You were great. Now go plunge the toilet.” Stine closed his remarks by noting that “there isn’t enough fear in the world. That’s why we’re all here—to bring more fear into the world.”
During the presentations, the Silver Bullet Award went to Karin Slaughter for her contributions to Save the Libraries.
Richard Helms won best short story for “The Gods for Vengeance Cry,” which appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Chevy Stevens won best first novel for Still Missing (St. Martin’s), which PW called an “impressive debut… that gets a power boost from the jaw-dropping but credible closing twist.” John Sandford won best hardcover novel for Bad Blood (Putnam), his fourth novel to feature Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers.