The Robert E. Howard Foundation has announced the nominees for its annual awards honoring the best Howard scholarship of the previous year. I was surprised--and very, very pleased, proud, and honored--to find my essay "Not Your Ordinary Gun-Dummy: The Western Heroes of Robert E. Howard" among them. It's nominated in the Hyrkanian category, for Outstanding Achievement - Essay (Print). This essay was published in REH: Two-Gun Raconteur #18. The awards will be presented in Cross Plains on June 10, during the annual Howard Days festivities.
This is incredibly gratifying to me. I've been a Howard fan for almost 50 years, ever since I picked up a copy of the Lancer edition of CONAN THE USURPER in Barber's Bookstore in downtown Fort Worth. (I could show you the building and probably come pretty close to pointing out the spot where the rack stood that held that copy.) I've been involved with Howard fandom for more than 20 years, having attended my first Howard Days in 1995 and joining the Robert E. Howard United Press Association, better known as REHupa, shortly thereafter. I've written several introductions to collections of Howard's stories and contributed the occasional article to various publications. However, I've always considered myself more of a reader and fan than a scholar and have approached most of my writing about Howard that way. Mostly I've had fun (the way I try to approach most things) and it makes me feel great to know that my fellow Howard fans think this essay is worthwhile.
Now, it's up against some stiff competition, mind you. The other nominees are Dierk Guenther's “A Farewell to the Old West – The End of the “Old Frontier”—Robert E. Howard’s ‘Old Garfield’s Heart’”, which also appeared in REH: Two-Gun Raconteur #18, and Jeffrey Shanks' “Evolutionary Otherness: Anthropological Anxiety in Robert E. Howard’s ‘Worms of the Earth’”, which appeared in THE UNIQUE LEGACY OF WEIRD TALES. I fully expect one of those guys to walk off with the award, and well-deserved it will be. But there really is a lot of truth to that old saying about it being an honor just to be nominated. My sincere thanks to the Robert E. Howard Foundation and everyone who participates in these awards.