Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction (Hardcover)

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I'm going to warn you right now, this book is a rabbit hole that leads to your books-to-be-read list getting a lot longer--mine sure is and I am an absolute wimp when it comes to horror. Monster, She Wrote is a series of profiles of women authors of horror and speculative fiction. We learn about their lives/influences, their writings, not to be missed works, and related reading (seriously, have a pen and paper ready 'cause you're gonna want to make a list of the books you're going to read next). The book is arranged chronologically, so we see the roots of the genre (think Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein) and how it's expanded and evolved over time (Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale and Tananarive Due's My Soul to Keep). Every author in this book is so enticing, I don't know where to start--Elizabeth Gaskell's stories sound fun, but Manfroné by Mary Anne Radcliffe could be a real jaunt, too; and then there's The Family Plot by Cherie Priest! This is just the book to get you set for those howling fall nights.

— Amanda


Meet the women writers who defied convention to craft some of literature’s strangest tales, from Frankenstein to The Haunting of Hill House and beyond.
Frankenstein was just the beginning: horror stories and other weird fiction wouldn’t exist without the women who created it. From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction. Everyone knows about Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein, who was rumored to keep her late husband’s heart in her desk drawer. But have you heard of Margaret “Mad Madge” Cavendish, who wrote a science-fiction epic 150 years earlier (and liked to wear topless gowns to the theater)? If you know the astounding work of Shirley Jackson, whose novel The Haunting of Hill House was reinvented as a Netflix series, then try the psychological hauntings of Violet Paget, who was openly involved in long-term romantic relationships with women in the Victorian era. You’ll meet celebrated icons (Ann Radcliffe, V. C. Andrews), forgotten wordsmiths (Eli Colter, Ruby Jean Jensen), and today’s vanguard (Helen Oyeyemi). Curated reading lists point you to their most spine-chilling tales.

Part biography, part reader’s guide, the engaging write-ups and detailed reading lists will introduce you to more than a hundred authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spooky novels, novellas, and stories.

About the Author

Lisa Kröger holds a PhD in English. Her short fiction has appeared in Cemetery Dance magazine and Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road (Crystal Lake Publishing, 2018). She's an adjunct instructor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast. She co-hosts the Know Fear Podcast (

Melanie R. Anderson is an assistant professor of English at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. Her book Spectrality in the Novels of Toni Morrison (Tennessee Press, 2013) was a winner of the 2014 South Central MLA Book Prize. She co-hosts the Know Fear Podcast (

Praise For…

“Straddling the divide between highly useful reference and compulsively readable stories about the writing lives of the women of horror, this book will keep you up all night (one way or another).”—Booklist, starred review

“This biographical index will reawaken readers' admiration for established virtuosos of literary terror and inspire curiosity in lesser-known specialists in fictitious fear.”—Publishers Weekly
Product Details
ISBN: 9781683691389
ISBN-10: 1683691385
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: September 17th, 2019
Pages: 352