Who said women can’t do horror? These seven female authors have delivered chilling stories that sent shivers down our spines time and time again. Their stories of the unknown and unexplained keep us up at night and make us wary of what hides in the shadows. Despite our fear, we can’t help but turn the page to see what these talented women have written next.
Read on to learn about these seven authors who have changed the horror genre and paved the way for other girls to take up their pens and devise a spine-tingling story of their own.
Tananarive Due is the author of supernatural horror novels like My Soul to Keep, The Good House, and Ghost Summer: Stories. Her writings have earned her an American Book Award, and NAACP Image Award, a British Fantasy Award, and two Bram Stoker Award nominations. She co-authored Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights, with her late mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due.
Not only is Due an author, but she’s also a journalist, writing articles for The Washington Post and Vanity Fair. But it doesn’t stop there! Due is an educator, teaching Black Horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA. Following the 2017 release of Get Out, she developed a course at UCLA called “The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival and the Black Horror Aesthetic.” Consequently, she was an executive producer for Shudder’s documentary, Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, which included interviews with Due, Jordan Peele, Rachel True, and Tony Todd.
Japanese novelist Mariko Koike is best known for her mystery and horror novels The Graveyard Apartment and The Cat in the Coffin. Several of her works have been translated into English, and she’s considered one of the most popular writers in Japan today.
Her most read novel, The Graveyard Apartment, centers around a young family who moves into an apartment building situated right next to a graveyard. As strange occurrences plague the building, soon only the young family is left staying there… or so they thought. Someone, or something is lurking in the basement, but do they want to find out?
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of bestselling novels like Velvet Was the Night, Mexican Gothic, and Gods of Jade and Shadow. A Mexican-Canadian author, Moreno-Garcia’s novels are steeped in Latin American culture. Her writing is immersive and elegant, and pulls her readers into her tales of Gothic horror and mystery.
Her newest novel, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, will reimagine H. G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau. Set in a sprawling estate in 19th-century Mexico, the novel will follow Carlota Moreau, daughter of genius (or madman) Dr. Moreau. When the delicately balanced world of Carlota, Moreau, and his experiments are disrupted, dangerous secrets will be revealed.
You can expect The Daughter of Doctor Moreau to hit shelves on July 19!
Shirley Jackson (1916 – 1965)
Shirley Jackson’s novels and short stories captivate us all with her tales of horror, mystery, and suspense. Her novel The Haunting of Hill House is widely regarded as one of the best ghost stories ever written and was adapted into a Netflix series of the same name.
She rocketed into the public eye with her short story The Lottery, which discussed themes like scapegoating and mob mentality within a seemingly idyllic small town. Her final novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, was named one of the “Ten Best Novels” of 1962 by TIME Magazine and inspired a film adaptation in 2018.
Today her writing inspires accomplished authors like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Sarah Waters.
Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851)
Are there any praises for this Queen that we haven’t already sung? Not sure, but I have no problem repeating them because it’s Mary Shelley we’re talking about here.
Following the death of her husband in 1822, Shelley dedicated herself to raising her son and building her career as a professional author. Her crowning literary achievement, of course, is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). Making us question what it means to be human, Shelley’s Frankenstein remains a pillar in the horror genre, incorporating Gothic elements and positioning itself as a science-fiction novel too.
In addition to Frankenstein, Shelley wrote the apocalyptic novel The Last Man and historical novels like Valperga and Perkin Warbeck.
Anne Rice (1941 – 2021)
We’re still reeling from the recent loss of Anne Rice, but we take comfort in knowing her work in the horror genre will be celebrated for generations to come!
Influenced by authors like Virginia Woolf, Stephen King, and William Shakespeare, Rice gave the world a look at the trials and tribulations that come with being undead in Interview with the Vampire in 1976. Her work has inspired major film adaptations and comic miniseries. She may be gone now, but her Vampire Chronicles series will always be a favorite among horror fans, and her work continues to inspire young writers today.
Daphne du Maurier (1907 – 1989)
Though she’s talked about as a romantic novelist, Daphne du Maurier’s stories have paranormal, moody overtones that we love. Du Maurier’s short stories The Birds, Don’t Look Now, and novels Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel have all been adapted to major films.
Besides being a novelist, du Maurier was also a playwright and wrote several biographies in her later life. As her work became more popular, she became more reclusive. To many, this behavior made them love her work even more. Today her work is celebrated as earning an enduring reputation for their narrative craft and riddles that plague readers after the final page has been read.