In 1818, Mary published Shelley Frankenstein, a novel so exciting that it will continue to frighten readers and shape genre literature for the next 200 years. But if Shelley is the godmother of modern horror, who are her daughters? Women have written some of the bloodiest horror stories of all time, but they haven’t always received the recognition they deserve. To break the record – and give you some delightfully creepy read this Halloween season – here are 11 horror writers you need to read.
1. Daphne du Maurier
If you love Alfred Hitchcock films, you probably already love Daphne du Maurier. The director adapted three of her novels into films: Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, and The birds. If you̵
Hitchcock wasn’t the only director looking to get her work on screen. Her short story “Don’t Look Now” was turned into an extremely creepy 1973 film starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. In total, du Maurier’s works have been adapted twelve times for film and even more frequently for television. But, as with many customizations, her original stories are even more haunting than the on-screen ones.
2. Charlotte Riddell
For great ghost stories from the Victorian era, Charlotte Riddell is perfect. Scholar EF Bleiler once called her “the ultimate Victorian ghost novel writer,” and her stories are both extraordinarily creepy and subtly snappy. Born in Ireland in 1832, she was a prolific writer of supernatural stories, especially haunted house stories. Though she and her husband often struggled financially, Riddell – who originally wrote under the male aliases FG Trafford and RVM Sparling – was a popular writer in her day and published classic short stories like “The Open Door” and “Nut Bush Farm” when she was four supernatural short stories. Today, Riddell’s stories feel dated in the best possible way – they’re full of dusty, abandoned mansions and ghosts with unfinished businesses.
3. Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson was one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. Your novel The Haunted Hill House has been shown twice and once for Netflix, and her short story “The Lottery” is being awarded in English courses across America. Despite her literary success, Jackson suffered lifelong depression and anxiety, and often felt oppressed in her own home. Although she was the main breadwinner in her family, her husband controlled her finances and expected her to ignore his desecration. Her feelings for home life were often expressed in her work. In novels like Hill House and We have always lived in the castleJackson cultivates an atmosphere of discomfort and fear while challenging the idea of home.
4. Joyce Carol Oates
Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer Joyce Carol Oates is a modern day master of Gothic horror. Oates, dubbed “America’s Letters Leader,” is famous for writing stories that will put your pants off. Your catalog of 100+ books can be overwhelming. We therefore recommend starting with your story collection Haunted: Stories of the Grotesque. Or try her famous short story “Where are you going, where have you been?”, Which was inspired by serial killer Charles Schmid.
5. Octavia Butler
Although best known as a science fiction writer, Octavia Butler’s stories often contain elements of horror. Your last novel, Young bird, published the year before her death, is perhaps her most horror-inspired work, telling the story of a young girl who discovers she is a vampire. In her stories, Butler explored racism from a fantastic perspective – her works are full of futuristic dystopias and alien planets – but she never shied away from its horrors. But even those with simpler science fiction premises are often frightened and reveal the repressed horrors of American history. Referring to her time travel novel relationshipButler explained, “I wanted to write a novel that would let others feel the story: the pain and fear blacks had to go through to endure.”
6. Asa Nonami
Asa Nonami’s writing has been compared to all of Rosemary’s baby to The twilight zone. She is an award-winning crime and horror writer whose novels often feature complex female characters in impossible situations. In your short story collection bodyIn her novel, Nonami tells five stories about terror, each inspired by a different part of the body Now you are one of us tells the story of a young bride who discovers that her husband and family may not be what they seem. It’s a ghost-free horror story that builds its sense of tension from its sheer unpredictability.
7. Lisa Tuttle
Do you remember the horror paperbacks of the 80s, which tempted you with terrifying cover pages and then were disappointed by incomprehensible actions? Lisa Tuttle is the antidote to this. It’s exactly what you were hoping for in a mass market horror. Her novels starting in 1983 Familiar spiritare disturbing, creative, and most importantly, well-written. Tuttle began working with George RR Martin on the science fiction novel Windhaven before being featured as a major voice in 80s horror fiction with works like Familiar spirit, Gabrieland the short story collection A nest of nightmares. She has also written fantasy, youth literature and non-fiction – she even published the reference book in 1986 Encyclopedia of Feminism.
8. Tananarive due
Tananarive Due is not only one of the best contemporary horror writers, but also one of the coolest. In the mid-1990s, when she was an aspiring young writer, Due attended a literature festival and somehow ended up on stage with Stephen King in a rock band. Then she got King to write a blurb for her second novel. To keep my soul (he called it a “scary epic”). In addition to being a novelist these days, Due is also an accomplished scholar and short story writer. Her works include the series African Immortals, the haunted house novel The good house, and Ghost buzzer, a collection of short stories that somehow manages to both trigger nightmare and be extremely moving. She is even taught at UCLA, inspired by Jordan Peele’s 2017 horror film Go out called “The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival, and Black Horror Aesthetic.”
9. Mariko Koike
Mariko Koike is an award-winning Japanese writer on suspense, romance, and of course, horror. Your novel The cat in the coffin is an exciting exercise in the macabre. But her greatest work of sheer horror is the 1986 novel The cemetery apartmenttelling the story of a young family who are moving to a brand new apartment complex overlooking an old cemetery and crematorium. The novel patiently makes people fear seemingly ordinary images: a bird’s feather, a yellow hat, a stain on the television screen. It is a terrifyingly tense haunted house novel by an author who understands that the greatest horrors are often hidden in everyday life.
10. Helen Oyeyemi
Helen Oyeyemi’s writing defies classification and combines horror, fantasy, fairy tales and folklore. While their works don’t always fit the horror genre well, they range from disturbing to really scary and often use elements of the paranormal or the bizarre. in the The Icarus girlOyeyemi published when she was only 20 years old. A clumsy young girl makes a strange new boyfriend who may or may not be real. The novel mixes paranormal and Gothic themes with Nigerian folklore. In her 2009 novel White is for witchesMeanwhile, Oyeyemi tells the story of a mysterious house in Dover, England, and the secrets of the family who live there. Review of this novel, The Austin Chronicle called Oyeyemi the “direct heir of” [Shirley Jackson’s] Gothic throne. “
11. Jac Jemc
Jac Jemc’s The grip of it tells the story of a young couple who move from a cramped apartment in a big city into a spacious suburban house and are haunted by mysterious forces. That may sound like a traditional horror premise, but the novel is anything but. Instead, it’s surreal and disoriented, written in feverish prose that will keep you under control even when nothing special happens.
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