Haverhill Merrimack Valley Book Festival

Merrimack Valley horror festival pumpkins

Didn’t make it to Haverhill, MA, for the 2016 Merrimack Valley Book Festival? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

Here’s my video recap from Haverhill, including an epic photo bomb by Brian Keene.

The Merrimack Valley Book Festival in Haverhill, MA, attracted a throng of horror fans intent on meeting both legends and up-and-coming authors. On hand were Paul Tremblay, author of the breakout horror novel of the year, A Head Full of Ghosts, World Horror Convention Grandmaster, Brian Keene, Christopher Golden, John Mcilveen, Bracken Macleod, Amber Fallon, and more.

Brian Keene recorded multiple interviews for The Horror Show podcast, including one with yours truly, which you don’t want to miss if you want to hear me throw down some old school raps.

Being a part of this Halloween-themed horror festival had special meaning for me. I lived in nearby Taunton, Massachusetts, for the better part of a year in 1995-1996. I love the quaint New England scenery and the ocean, and my wife and I were blessed with unseasonably warm weather upon arriving on Friday, allowing us to walk the beach and grab dinner in Newburyport. Fresh seafood for the win! The weather turned cool, rainy, and dark on Saturday, a perfect backdrop for a horror novel festival.

Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival: A Spooky Celebration of Literary Horrors

Every year, as the colors of fall blanket New England and a chill creeps into the air, a special event gathers horror aficionados in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival is not just an event; it’s an experience. It blends the spooky allure of Halloween with the magic of storytelling, offering fans of the horror genre an unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in all things eerie and supernatural.

History and Origin

The Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival was conceived with the idea of celebrating horror literature and its creators. It acknowledges the rich tradition of horror storytelling in New England, from the haunting tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne to the spine-tingling narratives of Stephen King. This festival provides an avenue for modern authors to connect with fans and keep this tradition alive and thriving.

Features of the Festival

  1. Author Interactions: One of the main draws of the festival is the chance for attendees to meet their favorite horror authors. These interactions range from book signings to panel discussions, allowing fans to gain deeper insights into the minds that craft their favorite nightmares.
  2. Book Sales and Signings: Many authors bring their latest works to the festival, giving attendees the first crack at new tales of horror and suspense. This direct sales approach also allows readers to get their copies signed, adding a personal touch to their literary collections.
  3. Panels and Discussions: The festival is not just about buying books. It’s also a hub for intellectual discussions about the horror genre. Authors and experts delve into various topics, from the evolution of horror tropes to the challenges of writing in the modern age.
  4. Costume Contests: In the spirit of Halloween, many attendees come dressed as their favorite literary characters or general Halloween themes. The costume contest is a highlight, showcasing the creativity and passion of the festival’s audience.
  5. Networking Opportunities: For budding authors, this festival is a golden chance to connect with established writers, publishers, and agents. It’s a space where one can gain insights, seek advice, and perhaps even pitch their next big horror story.

Impact on the Community

The Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival is not just an event for horror fans; it’s a significant boost to the Haverhill community. Local businesses, especially bookstores, cafes, and restaurants, see increased footfall during the festival. The event also draws attention to Haverhill as a cultural and literary hub, increasing its reputation in New England and beyond.

New England horror

The Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival in Haverhill, MA, is more than just an annual event. It’s a celebration of a genre that has captured readers’ imaginations for centuries. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring allure of tales that make our hearts race and our spines tingle. For anyone who cherishes horror literature, this festival is an unmissable experience.

Meeting fans and talking about horror, heavy metal music, and movies made the long trip more than worthwhile. Special thanks to Christopher Golden and Brian Keene for asking me to be there, and to my wife, who fearlessly ran my seller’s table while I talked with attendees and appeared on The Horror Show.

Christopher Golden: Prolific Master of Dark Fantasies and Horrors

Christopher Golden is an American author celebrated for his diverse contributions to the realm of horror fiction, fantasy, and comics. With a portfolio that spans novels, comic books, and anthologies, Golden has built a reputation as a prolific writer who seamlessly moves between various forms of storytelling. His works often blend elements of horror, fantasy, and mythology, resulting in gripping tales that enthrall readers with their rich narratives and intricate characters.

Golden’s bibliography includes collaborations with other notable authors and contributions to expanded universes of popular franchises. Among his acclaimed collaborations is the “Peter Octavian” series, co-written with Mike Mignola, which brilliantly fuses vampire lore with dark magic. Additionally, Christopher has ventured into the Buffyverse with multiple novels based on the popular TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, further establishing his prowess in capturing and expanding upon established narratives and character arcs.

Over the years, Golden’s works have not only earned him a loyal readership but also garnered critical acclaim. He has received several Bram Stoker Award nominations and has been recognized for his contribution to young adult fiction. With his ability to masterfully weave tales that merge the supernatural with profound human emotions, Christopher Golden stands as a beacon in the world of dark fantasy and horror, continuously pushing the boundaries of what these genres can achieve.

I hope to see you at a future appearance. In the meantime, check out my review of the original Salem’s Lot miniseries, one of the most frightening made-for-TV movies ever made.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel!

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