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Alumnus Wins Major Award for Horror Anthology

Photo of Doug Murano. USD alumnus Doug Murano has won a prestigious Bram Stoker Award for editing the anthology “Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders.”

VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota alumnus Doug Murano has won one of the highest honors in the horror-writing field—A Bram Stoker Award at the Horror Writers Association’s annual StokerCon meeting in March—for editing the anthology “Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders.”

Ever since Murano read Stephen King’s novel “It” when he was 11 years old—“I was probably too young,” he admits—the USD alumnus was enthralled by horror fiction.

“I have dreamed about what it would be like to win a Bram Stoker Award for 20 years,” Murano said in an interview after his 4,000-mile round-trip drive from the Rushmore State to Rhode Island and back. “I was born and raised in South Dakota and always felt somewhat distant from the world where people do things like this. Now, here I am.”

A native of Huron, South Dakota, Murano graduated from USD in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and English and earned a master’s degree in English literature and creative writing in 2008. Murano worked in public relations and communications for employers in higher education, healthcare and energy after graduation. Currently, his success as a writer and editor allows him to pursue his passion full-time as a freelancer from his home in Rapid City, which he shares with his wife and four children.

Even while working full-time, Murano had written and published short horror stories in the years after earning his master’s degree. With four children under six years old, however, compiling and editing anthologies of other writers’ fiction better suited the young father’s busy schedule. “It takes a totally different kind of concentration to edit a book in 15-minute spurts compared with generating original content,” he said. The “Behold!” anthology is Murano’s second anthology nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and features stories from 18 authors, including well-known writers such as Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker.

Murano credits his English professors at USD for encouraging him to pursue fiction writing and editing as a career. “Dr. Brian Bedard was my writing mentor and he was very patient with me. Horror wasn’t really in his wheelhouse and I think he often wished I would knock it off and consider doing something more in the mainstream,” he said. “He taught me a lot about structure and form and I still harken back to the feedback he gave me when I am critiquing the stories that come through my inbox.”


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News