For four days this year, H.P. Lovecraft’s life, literature and 125th birthday will be celebrated at NecronomiCon; however, Lovecraftian groups and shops can be found year-round, from the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council in the downtown Arcade to various walking tours held in the evenings. One that stands out is a small local publishing company that led to the creation of the convention: Necronomicon Press. Most commonly called NecroPress, this publishing company started by Marc A. Michaud brought to light many works associated with the horror of Lovecraft.
In 1975, the first World Fantasy Convention was held in Providence, dedicated to literary horror and focusing on such writers as Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and other ground-breaking authors of the past and present. Before the convention, Michaud discovered several astronomy articles written by Lovecraft for the Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner that had never been reprinted. Michaud convinced the Kent County Daily Times to reprint one.
“With copies of the Daily Times in hand, I attended the convention and distributed them to those with an interest in Lovecraftian ephemera,” said Michaud. “Everyone agreed these articles should be reprinted, but by a small press as there would be limited interest in them.”
With help from his brother Paul, Necronomicon Press was created with the first publication in June 1976. Since then, NecroPress has gone on to publish many rare written works from Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, Clark Ashton Smith and the rest of the Lovecraftian circle. It wasn’t until Lovecraft’s 100th birthday in 1990 that Michaud would persuade Brown University to host a symposium on Lovecraft’s works. Soon after, a friend, Franklin Hummel, approached Michaud about making it a yearly event called NecronomiCon. “It was a fantastic idea, and Frank deserves the credit for getting it started,” said Michaud.
Many notable names have been published by or worked with Michaud, including Fred Chappell, Joyce Carol Oates, S.T. Joshi, Robert Knox, Robert M. Price and several others. Within this time, he has become the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the Robert Bloch award, the World Fantasy Award (twice) and twice written in The New York Times Book Review. Celebrating 40 years in publishing, Michaud will return from semi-retirement to attend this year’s NecronomiCon, releasing and signing copies of a brand new publication – Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space” with artwork done by long-time friend Jason Eckhardt.
For more information: necropress.com and necronomicon-providence.com.