Five Things You Never Knew about Jack Ketchum

Jack Ketchum was a well-known writer of horror fiction. Examples of his works range from Off Season and The Girl Next Door to Red and The Woman, both of which have been turned into movies. Unfortunately, Ketchum passed away on January 24 of 2018, having succumbed to cancer at the age of 71. Here are five things that you may or may not have known about Jack Ketchum:

Jack Ketchum Is a Pen Name

It is interesting to note that Ketchum was the pen name of Dallas William Mayr. Furthermore, it wasn’t his first pen name, seeing as how that was Jerzy Livingston. Ketchum came up with his initial pen name of Jerzy Livingston by combining the name of an author he was reading at the time, Jerzy Kosinski, with his hometown, which was Livingston, NJ.

His Mentor Was Robert Bloch

When he was still a teenager, Ketchum managed to befriend a man named Robert Bloch, who should be best-known to people for being the author of the book Psycho that served as the source material for the movie of the same name. As a result, Block became the mentor of Ketchum in much the same manner that H.P. Lovecraft had become his mentor. Even now, Lovecraft remains a well-known name in horror, fantasy, and science fiction in spite of his rather questionable views even for someone of his time, not least because his works resulted in the creation of an entire sub-genre of horror fiction named for him.

He Worked Different Jobs Before He Became a Novelist

Before Ketchum became a successful novelist, he worked a wide range of jobs to provide himself with sufficient income. For example, he worked at his parents’ businesses, where he was a short-order cook during day-time as well as a soda jerk during day-time. Furthermore, Ketchum worked as a literary agent and a lumber salesman, which were in addition to his writings for various magazines. In the end, he became novelist because he wanted a sense of stability that his other writings could not provide him.

Has Won Four Bram Stoker Awards

Ketchum has written a number of well-known works, so it should come as no surprise to learn that he has won a number of awards and other accolades. For example, Ketchum has won the Bram Stoker Award not once, not twice, but four times in total. Two of those awards were won in 1994 and 2000, while the other two were both won in 2003. Given the name, it should come as no surprise to learn that the Bram Stoker Award is handed out by the Horror Writers Association to recognize those who have done well in writing horror as well as dark fantasy.

Has Won World Horror Convention Grand Master Award

Speaking of awards and accolades, Ketchum has won the World Horror Convention’s Grand Master Award as well, which is handed out to those who have made great contributions to horror writing. As a result, the winners of said award are all well-known names, with examples ranging from Ketchum’s mentor Bloch in 1991 to Tanith Lee in 2009. Ketchum himself walked away with the award in 2011.

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