As a queer person, I spent the first two decades of my life having little to no lgbtq+ media in my life, let alone within the horror genre. Even if a queer character was featured in a piece of media, a good portion of them were still reduced a poorly written plot device meant to strengthen the main straight character's story.
Of course, as an adult, I now have the tools to seek out works from queer authors telling queer stories and I wanted to share some of my favourite queer horror writers to help celebrate pride month.
Side note: although we heart Oscar Wilde and Emily Dickerson (if you come at me, trying to convince me either of them is straight, I will fight you), I think it's important to encourage authors that are active within the modern book industry, whether it be traditional, indie or self-published. So, here are tweleve modern (aka alive and well) queer horror authors to check out this pride month and beyond.
You may know Gretchen from her debut novel 'Manhunt', a gripping post-apocalyptical horror story that follows three trans people as they navigate an unforgiving terrain in an effort to survive.
She has other work out though! 'Ego Homini Lupus' and 'No End Will Be Found' are both super short but super brutal horror tales with queer and feminist undertones. Regardless, anyone who enjoys powerful and hard-hitting horror novels with queer narratives at the center.
April is a master of fantasy horror tales that dabble in the bizarre. From isolated communities obsessed with magic teeth to a hidden kingdom within a deadly forest, April has the ability to draw you in with her unique premises and keep you captivated with her dark yet fantastical atmospheres. She is also in the process of re-releasing several of her works. 'Lovelorn' (and its AMAZING cover) is available now.
April's work is a treasure trove for fans of sapphic horror fiction. Her debut gothic horror novella 'Ashthorne' is perfect for fans of Sarah Waters and The Haunting of Bly Manor with a converted hospital, a lesbian romance and dark secrets that will both terrify and shock. Her short stories can also be found in anthologies such as Ghost Orchid Press' 'Blood and Bone', a gut-punching and thought-provoking collection of body horror stories.
Trang Thanh Tran
Trang is relatively new to the horror sphere but they've already made one hell of an impact. Their debut coming-of-age horror novel 'She is The Haunting', a haunting and riveting tale of a closeted young woman who travels to her native Vietnam to help her estranged father's family restore their crumbling mansion. However, the house is hungry, and it will feed.
With clear elements of coming-of-age and gothic horror, it's undeniable that this debut is an absolute must-read. They also have another YA novel coming in 2024.
Carmen Maria Machado
Carmen is someone I can easily recommended to almost anyone thanks to her wide range of impactful horror tales. My normal go-to is 'Her Body and Other Parties' as it succeeds in captivating us readers into a whirlwind of different speculative genres and stories that explore female and queer sexuality. Yet, her horror graphic novel 'The Low Low Woods' and her queer psychological horror memoir 'In The Dream House' are both must reads if you're looking for hard-hitting queer reads.
Jewelle's most famous work is arguably 'The Gilda Stories', a subtly terrifying but powerful tale of a young black woman who escapes slavery and introduces to a world of vampires.
Aside from the representation within the narrative, I think most people forget at how unique of a vampire tale this is. It's so different than the usual story of traumatised, sexy blood suckers (although those are great too) as Jewelle dives into themes such as found family, finding oneself and finding your place in the world. All of this is told through a queer, black perspective which makes for a thought-provoking and captivating read.
(I also included some more examples of Jewelle's work below, they're not exactly horror but I do believe they are worth a read as well).
A very recognisable face in horror, Hailey seems to be an endless stream of horrifying, gut-wrenching horror novels that will leave you speechless. Whenever she's breathing life into old tropes such as her possession story ('The Possession of Natalie Glascow') or an utterly strange horror erotica tale about a vagina monster ('Queen of Teeth'), you can guarantee that Hailey's writing will be horrifying and very queer.
Ryan's debut YA supernatural novel 'The Taking of Jake Livingston' tackles a lot of heavy topics from racism to sexuality to school shooting to mental health, all portrayed through a truly lovable character that is forced to navigate these life challenges while battling a vengeful ghost.
Ryan is able to bring you into Jake's world with such a riveting coming-of-age tale that will delight any fan of YA horror.
More of Ryan's work is also due to feature in upcoming horror anthologies 'All These Sunken Souls', and 'Night of the Living Queers'.
Cassie has made a huge splash in the horror community with her signature spooky but colourful artwork. Her writing also reflects her vibrant aesthetic while mixing in plenty of gripping suspense and unforgettable gore.
Her short stories have been featured in a range of anthologies including the unmissable feminist horror collection 'We Are Wolves'. Her signature work, however, is the young adult horror novella 'Brutal Hearts' which features a pansexual protagonist, a camping trip gone wrong and creepy forest vibes.
Another well known face to the horror community, Eric knocked horror readers off their feet with 'Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke', a horrifying the gut wrenching tale of obsession and an online relationship gone incredibly wrong. Their latest work 'Everything The Darkness Eats' is coming from Clash Books THIS MONTH and follows the tale of "an insidious darkness threatens to devastate a rural New England village when occult forces are conjured and when bigotry is left unrestrained."
Rae had recently dropped her debut novel that is bound to be as haunted delight. The gothic psychological thriller entitled 'The Stradivarius' is haunted house novel with a gut-punching twist.
She also has a bunch of upcoming releases such as her sapphic horror novella, 'Merciless Waters' later this year, and 'Transatlantic', in early 2024 which is a a collaboration with the aforementioned April Yates.
Claire L. Smith (me :3)
Not going to say much except: 'here are my spooky queer books! They have ghosts and badass women.'
My first is 'Helena', a gothic horror about a female mortician who can see ghosts that I wrote while still in the closet and as a result, accidently poured so much of my repressed gayness into XD
The second, is 'When We Entered That House', a coming-of-age horror that follows the story of two troubled young girls has they navigate a haunted house and it's maddened occupants.
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