Famous Horror Writers

Famous Writers: Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu

I’ve spoken before about Carmilla, now let’s take a brief look at her Author, Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu.

Joseph was an Irish writer, born on 28 August 1814 and died on 7 February 1873 of a heart attack. His three best known stories are Carmilla, Uncle Silas and The House by the Churchyard.

Joseph was born into a literary family, both his grandmother Alicia  and his great-uncle Richard were playwrights his niece Rhoda was a successful novelist, and his mother was a writer.

In 1826 the family moved to Abington in Limerick, where Joseph used his father’s library to educate himself and by the age of fifteen he was already writing poetry

In 1844 Joseph married Susanna Bennett, and their first child, Eleanor, was born in 1845, followed by Emma in 1846, Thomas in 1847 and George in 1854. In 1856 Joseph’s personal life became difficult when his wife suffered from poor mental health. She had a crisis of faith and suffered from anxiety after the deaths of several close relatives, including her father. In April 1858 she suffered a “hysterical attack” and died the following day in unclear circumstances. Joseph’s diaries suggests that he felt guilt as well as loss. From then on he did not write any fiction until the death of his mother in 1861.

In 1861 he became the editor and proprietor of the Dublin University Magazine. He published The House by the Churchyard and Wylder’s Hand via this magazine. Joseph then signed a contract with his London publisher, which specified that future novels be stories “of an English subject and of modern times”, Joeseph then published Uncle Silas in 1864.

Famous Horror Writers

Famous Writers: Edgar Allen Poe

Today I want to talk to you about Edgar Allan Poe. 

To say Poe’s works have influenced literature is like saying water is wet. He and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. He has influenced many other great writers, such as H.P Lovecraft and Stephen King to name drop just two. His impact on the horror genre (as well as Sci-Fi and Detective) cannot be overstated. 

I could probably write an entire blog series on this man, and if you would like me to do so then by all means speak up. However, today all I am going to do is a very brief summary of his life, and works. 

Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe on 19 January 1809 and was the first well-known American writers to earn a living through writing alone. He was a writer, poet, editor, and a literary critic. 

Poe was born in Boston, the second child of actors David and Elizabeth Poe. Sadly, his father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. Poe was raised by John and Frances Allan, though his relationship with them was not without its problems. 

Poe attended university, though due to financial reasons he left after one year and joined the army. However, he was not content in the military life and shortly after the death of his brother he left to be a full-time writer. 

However, due to shitty copyright laws Poe struggled as a writer, this was because American publishers often reproduced unauthorized copies of British works rather than paying for new work by Americans.

Photo by Tom Swinnen on Pexels.com

That is not to say he had no success at all, he spent several years working for literary journals and periodicals 

Her received a prize in October 1833 from the Baltimore Saturday Visiter for his short story “MS. Found in a Bottle”. This brought Poe to the attention of other writers and editors and landed him a job as assistant editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in 1835. 

He married his 13-year-old cousin in 1836 (he was 26 at the time and they lied about her age in order to marry), sadly, she died of tuberculosis in 1847. It is said that her passing influenced some of his writing. 

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket was published in 1838 and Poe became the assistant editor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine the following year. He later took a position as a as writer and co-editor at Graham’s Magazine

In January 1845, he published his poem “The Raven” which made him a household name. He planned for years to produce his own journal The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), but before it could be produced, he died. The cause of his death has never been unearthed. 

On the day before his death he was found in great distress and delouse on the streets, he was taken to hospital and passed away. All medical records have been lost, including his death certificate. 

Poe is buried in Baltimore, Maryland.

Classic Horror, Famous Horror Writers

Famous Horror Writers: R.L Stine Writing Prompts

One thing with this lockdown is that even as it’s being lifted in many places, we still need to be sensible and protect ourselves and our communities. 

So, while many places are reopening and businesses will need your support, we still shouldn’t be flippant about going outside and mingling with sizeable crowds. 

That being said, it has been a long few months. Speaking of my experience, I’ve been working from home since mid-March and restricting my time outside to essential trips maybe once or twice a week. Cabin fever has well and truly taken hold.  

To keep my mind from turning into mush, I’ve been testing myself with writing prompts and thought I’d share some with you, as I cannot be the only person going slowly mad with being indoors this much. 

Just to be clear, I did not make these myself, R. L. Stine did! Over on masterclass.com 

These are my favourite three 😊

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Classic Horror, Famous Horror Writers

Famous Horror Writers: Edgar Allen Poe

One of the worlds most famous horror writers is Edgar Allen Poe. A name synonymous with Ravens, secret shadows, and dark deeds. He has inspired countless other writers, filmmakers and creators across the board. To sum up such an important figure for the horror genre in a simple blog is like trying to strike a match on jelly. But that’s not going to stop me from having a go.

Classic Horror, Famous Horror Writers

Famous Horror Writers: Darren Shan

When I think back to my childhood, it was full of all kinds of books, from Animals of Farthing Wood to Wind in the Willows all the way through to one of my favourites, Clive Barkers Thief of Always.

I was probably around twelve (I think) when my dad came home one day with a copy of Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan, he’d seen it in WHSmiths on his way home from the train station and from the cover alone had thought it would be something that I would like. This was when I was well into my Animorphs phase and while I was no stranger to horror at twelve (I think my mum read me Thief of Always when I was around six, thank god for book-loving parents) it was a departure from my usual fare at the time.

I cannot thank my dad enough for that little impulse gift, it introduced me to the world of Darren Shan, both the character in the book (although Larten was and always will be my favourite, to the point where a year or so ago, while I’m in my early thirties I picked up the Saga of Larten Crepsley, WHY WAS THIS SO SHORT, I NEED MORE!).

Anyway, enough of the memory lane nonsense, today I want to talk to you about Darren Shan, a fantastic author who’s introduced an entire generation to horror in a superb fashion.

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Classic Horror, Famous Horror Writers

Famous Writers: Clive Barker

I first talked about famous horror writers back in January, when I wrote about Bram Stoker, today I want to talk about another horror writer, although calling him just a writer is selling him short. I am of course referring to Clive Barker. Clive Barker is one of my favourite writers.

He is well known for his horror short stories, collected into anthologies, namely Books of Blood volumes 1 through 6. His Hellraiser books & films, and my personal favourite book The Thief of Always.

One of my other favourite writers Stephen King has been quoted as saying “I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker.” This quote appeared on the Books of Blood.

Barker has been a key influencer in the horror genre and has widened its scope immensely. Not just in the sense of the genre itself but by being an openly homosexual creator and promoting inclusivity throughout his work. In 2003 he won the Davidson/Valentini Award at the GLAAD awards for his work promoting diversity in the media.

Barker has not limited himself to writing novels but is prolific in all areas of media and creative work. He’s a true renaissance man of the genre, writing books such as the well-known Damnation Game, screenplays such as Rawhead Rex. Many of his non-screenplays became films, such as his short story The Forbidden becoming the film Candyman.

He has worked as a director, notably directing Hellraiser; as a producer on the film Gods and Monsters. He even did a stint under the management of Disney, but this didn’t work out and was cancelled. He and Jorge Saralegui own and run the production company Midnight Picture Show and make horror films.

He is also an artist in the traditional sense of drawing, illustrating many of his own books himself. His art in Thief of Always is amazing, especially the images of the creatures in the pond (no spoilers lol) and the night Harvey becomes a vampire for Halloween. His art has been part of exhibits in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

It’s worth mentioning that he also designs horror costumes and has a line of toys.

Lastly, he’s also worked on videogames, providing the voice for Ambrose in Clive Barker’s Undying and also working on Clive Barker’s Jericho.

So, as you can see Clive Barker has been a true influence on the horror genre from many different perspectives and mediums. He’s had a hand in shaping how we experience the genre and has brought it forward by leaps and bounds in many respects. He is a capable craftsman in all senses, shown to be skilled at multiple subgenres such as gore, psychological, creepy and haunting.

I strongly recommend experiencing his work, whether its written, film, visual, or games.

Classic Horror, Famous Horror Writers

Horror Writers: Bram Stoker

One of the best ways to appreciate the Horror genre is to experience it in the form that was created by one of those whom many credit as a master of the genre. This can be in any medium really, films, books, comics, video games, any medium at all. However, I want to focus on book form for this little blog series, probably because it’s where I dabble myself, funny that.

Masters have been around since the genre first came to be, there are those from the past who made the genre what it is today and there are those today taking us down new winding roads to dark and creepy places.

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