The Troop by Nick Cutter has won the inaugural James Herbert Award for Horror Writing. The award was launched in April 2014 to celebrate the life and career of beloved master of horror James Herbert.
Described as “old-school horror at its best” by the mighty Stephen King, The Troop follows a scoutmaster and his troop into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip. Things take a turn for the deadly when the emaciated host of a bioengineered nightmare stumbles upon their campsite prompting a harrowing struggle for survival.
The prize is jointly administered by Herbert’s publishers, Pan Macmillan, in partnership with the Serendip Foundation, and the estate of James Herbert. Author Sarah Pinborough and Total Film’s Rosie Fletcher were part of the six person judging panel, alongside Chair of judges, Tom Hunter, who said: "The first winner of a new prize can set expectations for years to come, and the judges selected a fantastic shortlist that celebrated all the glitteringly dark shades of modern horror writing.
"The Troop is a perfect first winner, and the judges loved its tense plotting, detailed characterisation and above all the driving sense of fear that compels you to keep turning every horror-soaked page until the end. This is a book that fans of horror will love and I believe James Herbert would have celebrated."
Kerry Herbert, James Herbert’s daughter and one of the judges, adds: "This is the darkest of tales where human evil meets an insatiable force of nature to wreak havoc on kids, a scout troop, no less. What could be better? My father would have chuckled in his chair; his fans will love it. And you’ll never go camping again. The Troop is a brilliant and terrifying classic that I am proud to champion as the first winner of the James Herbert Award for Horror Writing – it's now one of my favourite books.”
Craig Davidson, writing under the pseudonym Nick Cutter, is a Canadian author who has published under both his own name and the pen names Nick Cutter and Patrick Lestewka. The Troop was Craig’s debut under the pseudonym of Nick Cutter. It was published by Headline and has been followed by The Deep (2015). His first short story collection, Rust And Bone, was adapted for the big screen by Jacques Audiard and starred Marion Cotillard.
The James Herbert Award for Horror Writing, which will be awarded annually, aims to discover and publicise a new generation of horror authors working today and celebrate the boldest and most exciting talent in the genre. The other shortlisted titles for the James Herbert Award 2015 were: MR Carey’s The Girl With All The Gifts (Orbit), Frances Hardinge’s Cuckoo Song, Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney, Josh Malerman’s Bird Box and Kim Newman’s An English Ghost Story.