Nicole and I once sat on a panel together about “Writing the Other” in which I had to state that as a straight white man I had no idea what I was doing there. As a black woman, Nicole was wondering what I was doing there, too! We were great friends before, and even better friends since that panel, and it’s always an honor and privilege to share her words. Listen to what she has to say about Women in Horror.
13 Wonderfully Wicked Women in Horror Writers
Horror—long synonymous with famous and male authors like Poe, King, Baker, Kootz, and Carpenter, the fairer gender is often shoved into the darker parts of the proverbial popularity party. February serves to focus a bright light into the ether of ignorance in the form of awareness.
Welcome to reader enlightenment. It’s Women in Horror Month.
Coming out from the bleakness of those cold, frightening nights are women who pen painfully delicious horror.
So, in honor of Friday, the 13th, and Women in Horror, here are 13 female authors who are not only kick-butt writers, but also trendsetters and genre heavies. This is an eclectic grouping of my own choosing. These authors’ works are who I reach for when I crave dark, decadent horror.
If you enjoy the scare of horror, heck, if you get goose bumps from fine, tight writing, and high quality storytelling that sticks long after “The End,” you won’t go wrong sticking an icepick in these.
Ignoring them would be terrifying indeed.
- Mary Shelley-The mother of madness and the dark and stormy nights, her work, Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus was written in one night as a response to her husband’s and his friends’ dare of who could pen the scariest story.
- Octavia Butler-The shining pinnacle of diverse speculative fiction, her works like Kindred and Fledging take real world horror and science fiction and creates a literary concoction, readers return to consume again and again.
- Shirley Jackson-Renowned for her short story, “The Lottery,” Jackson’s storytelling took ordinary people and demonstrated the real terror behind human beings. Who needs monsters?
- Tananarive Due-Poetic. Polished. Perfect. Her works, My Soul To Keep and The Living Blood, demonstrated the real power of diverse horror and the results of mastery storytelling.
- V. C. Andrews– Taking a branch from Jackson’s tree, V.C. Andrews’ style of horror came not from things that go bump in the night, but things that drum in the hearts of men—or attics. Flowers in the Attic tore out the mother archetype of protector and caregiver. Instead she presented the real terror of greed, ambition, and perverted love.
- L. A. Banks- Vampires, demons, and humans clashed in Banks’ Vampire Huntress series of novels. They pushed the envelope of what vampires could do, but also propelled a powerful heroine that looked more like me than any I’d seen before. Some truly horrible events unfolded, but the heart and moral compass kept her grounded. John’s note – I loved L.A. Banks’ writing and was crushed to hear of her death just months after I discovered her fiction. I then had the opportunity to meet her sister at a function completely unrelated to writing and tell her how much she was missed.
- Anne Rice- Almost single-handled popularized vampires—again—and took readers down into the dark and depraved parts of those left with only a single strand of humanity left.
- Eden Royce- A talented author and editor, Royce delivers a fresh take on horror that stretches it beyond its stale confines by mashing and mixing with light hints of other genres. Her poem in The Grotesquerie, demonstrates my point.
- Nnedi Okorafor-With a sure hand and a creative mind the size of Antarctica, Nnedi’s novels push the boundaries of horror and fantasy beyond those of European influences and into more lush literature.
- Crystal Connor-A sensation in Seattle, Connor’s brand of horror is nothing short of large and enveloping, engrossing, and enigmatic. She writes with a sure hand, and one that demonstrates a confidence in her talent and in her storytelling. Her prose commands you—no dares you—not to be afraid.
- Poppy Z Brite- Readers love her balls to the wall, honest, violent, and sexy horror.
- Sumiko Saulsen-Saulsen’s inclusion here, like all the other entries before, is purely of my own volition. Her uses real world grit and grim to convey the complexities in horror-laden city life. Creative and colorful, Saulsen’s works are sure to reach a growing number of hungry readers, ready for something new.
- S. H. Roddey- Roddey’s brand of horror writing is akin to a battle in the ring against an opponent who continues to fool you before knocking you firmly on your behind. Short hits to the body ensures the reader is going down for the count—and loving every minute of it.
Want more women in horror? Mocha Memoirs Press author, Sumiko Saulsen, (http://www.sumikosaulson.com) offers a complete and exhaustive list of Women in Horror writers.
As for me, my horror, short story, “Sweet Tooth,” appears in The Big Bad, Volume Two, from Dark Oak Press, and my other horror story, “Reanimation,” appears in the upcoming anthology, Athena’s Daughters, Volume Two from Silence in the Library.
If you aren’t too frightened, Follow me on Twitter @nicolegkurtz, find me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nlkurtz), and groove with me on Google+ (mochamemoirspress). You can find my other works of horror at Other Worlds Pulp, my website, http://www.nicolegivenskurtz.com.