This is a list of some (not all) notable writers in the horror fiction genre.
Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks, or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing". It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural, though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.Jack Ketchum
Dallas William Mayr (November 10, 1946 – January 24, 2018), better known by his pen name Jack Ketchum, was an American horror fiction author. He was the recipient of four Bram Stoker Awards and three further nominations. His novels included Off Season, Offspring, and Red, which were adapted to film. In 2011, Ketchum received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award for outstanding contribution to the horror genre.James Herbert
James John Herbert, OBE (8 April 1943 – 20 March 2013) was an English horror writer. A full-time writer, he also designed his own book covers and publicity. His books have sold 54 million copies worldwide, and have been translated into 34 languages, including Chinese and Russian.Joseph Payne Brennan
Joseph Payne Brennan (December 20, 1918 – January 28, 1990) was an American writer of fantasy and horror fiction, and also a poet. Of Irish ancestry, he was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and he lived most of his life in New Haven, Connecticut, and worked as an Acquisitions Assistant at the Sterling Memorial Library of Yale University for over 40 years. Brennan published several hundred short stories (estimates range between four and five hundred), two novellas and reputedly thousands of poems. His stories appeared in over 200 anthologies and have been translated into German, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish. He was an early bibliographer of the work of H.P. Lovecraft.
Brennan's first professional sale came in December 1940 with the publication of the poem "When Snow Is Hung", which appeared in the Christian Science Monitor Home Forum, and he continued writing poetry up until the time of his death. As a fiction witer, Brennan started out writing westerns stories for the pulps, then switched to horror stories for Weird Tales in 1952. He began publishing his own magazine Macabre, which ran from 1957 to 1976. Several of his short story collections concern an occult detective named Lucius Leffing in the vein of Carnacki and Algernon Blackwood's John Silence.
His 1958 collection Nine Horrors and a Dream, containing the stories "Slime" (which has been reprinted at least fifty times) and "Canavan's Back Yard", is celebrated in an essay by Stephen Gallagher in the book Horror: 100 Best Books, edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman. Stephen King has called him "a master of the unashamed horror tale". Don D'Ammassa considers that "His stories were noteworthy for their effective development of suspense and terror without the excesses of violence which characterise modern horror fiction".Brennan's personality was described in an interview as "reserved: he is friendly but not flamboyant. He is most comfortable with his wife (Doris) and his dog (Chaucer). He is a gentle, softspoken, modest man. But beware, for beneath that ordinary exterior lurks the mind of a modern master of fright."List of 20th-century writers
This is a partial list of 20th-century writers. This list includes notable artists, authors, philosophers, playwrights, poets, scientists and other important and noteworthy contributors to literature. Literature (from Latin litterae (plural); letters) is the art of written works. Literally translated, the word literature means "acquaintance with letters" (as in the "arts and letters"). The two most basic written literary categories include fiction and non fiction.List of 21st-century writers
This is a partial list of 21st-century writers. This list includes notable authors, poets, playwrights, philosophers, artists, scientists and other important and noteworthy contributors to literature. Literature (from Latin litterae (plural); letters) is the art of written works. Literally translated, the word literature means "acquaintance with letters" (as in the "arts and letters"). The two most basic written literary categories include fiction and non fiction.Nicholas Grabowsky
Nicholas John Grabowsky (born May 7, 1966) is a horror/fantasy author and screenwriter.Ormond Robbins
Ormond Orlea Robbins (March 14, 1910 – July 21, 1984) was an American author of hardboiled detective fiction and weird fiction. His work was primarily published in the Popular Publications catalog of pulp fiction. The most part of his work for Popular Publications was attributed to his pen names Dane Gregory and, occasionally, Breck Tarrant.
In The Shudder Pulps, Robert Kenneth Jones places Dane Gregory's detective fiction in the vogue of the "defective detective" in the late nineteen-thirties and early forties. Recurring characters in Dane Gregory's fiction included Rocky Rhodes, ex-convict turned private investigator, and Satan Jones.Ormond Robbins' brother Wayne Robbins also wrote fiction for the pulps. The two brothers even collaborated on a western story, Murder Boss Of The Poverty Pool that was featured in 10 Story Western Magazine in September 1941.Poppy Z. Brite
Billy Martin (born May 25, 1967), known professionally as Poppy Z. Brite, is an American author. He initially achieved notoriety in the gothic horror genre of literature in the early 1990s by publishing a string of successful novels and short story collections. His later work moved into the genre of dark comedy, with many stories set in the New Orleans restaurant world. Martin's novels are typically standalone books but may feature recurring characters from previous novels and short stories. Much of his work features openly bisexual and gay characters.Robert E. Howard
Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. He is well known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre.
Howard was born and raised in Texas. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains, with some time spent in nearby Brownwood. A bookish and intellectual child, he was also a fan of boxing and spent some time in his late teens bodybuilding, eventually taking up amateur boxing. From the age of nine he dreamed of becoming a writer of adventure fiction but did not have real success until he was 23. Thereafter, until his death by suicide at age 30, Howard's writings were published in a wide selection of magazines, journals, and newspapers, and he became proficient in several subgenres. His greatest success occurred after his death.
Although a Conan novel was nearly published in 1934, Howard's stories were never collected during his lifetime. The main outlet for his stories was Weird Tales, where Howard created Conan the Barbarian. With Conan and his other heroes, Howard helped fashion the genre now known as sword and sorcery, spawning many imitators and giving him a large influence in the fantasy field. Howard remains a highly read author, with his best works still reprinted.
Howard's suicide and the circumstances surrounding it have led to speculation about his mental health. His mother had been ill with tuberculosis his entire life, and upon learning she had entered a coma from which she was not expected to wake, he walked out to his car and shot himself in the head.Sheridan Le Fanu
Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (; 28 August 1814 – 7 February 1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic tales, mystery novels, and horror fiction. He was a leading ghost story writer of the nineteenth century and was central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. M. R. James described Le Fanu as "absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories". Three of his best-known works are Uncle Silas, Carmilla, and The House by the Churchyard.Wayne Robbins
Windom Wayne Robbins (July 22, 1914 – January 18, 1958) was an American author of horror and weird fiction. His work was primarily published in the Popular Publications catalog of weird menace pulp fiction. His first published short story was Horror's Holiday Special in the July 1939 issue of Dime Mystery Magazine.
Robert Kenneth Jones reported that Robbins "excelled in explosive chaos," and remarked on his "credible" speculative fiction, namely Test Tube Frankenstein, from the May 1940 issue of Terror Tales, a tale of biological mimicry along the lines of Don A. Stuart's Who Goes There?. Test Tube Frankenstein is featured in Sheldon Jaffery's anthology Sensuous Science Fiction of the Weird and Spicy Pulps, where it is offered as his prime example: "one of the best of its kind to be published."Weird menace stories often dealt with conventional themes required by the publisher, themes in which an author might specialize. Stories involving "Inescapable Doom" were supplied by Donald Dale (Mary Dale Buckner); Mindret Lord handled the "Woman Without Volition"; Ray Cummings delivered stories about the "Girl Obsessed"; and many of Wayne Robbins' stories portrayed the "Man Obsessed," and a subsequent descent into madness.Wayne Robbins' published works are usually attributed to Wayne Robbins or W. Wayne Robbins, but he occasionally used the pen name Wyndham Brooks, a variation on his own given name and his mother's maiden name.
Wayne Robbins' brother, Ormond Robbins, also wrote horror, hardboiled, and western fiction for Popular Publications. Ormond Robbins used the pen names Dane Gregory and Breck Tarrant.William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty (January 7, 1928 – January 12, 2017) was an American writer and filmmaker best known for his 1971 novel The Exorcist and for the Academy Award-winning screenplay of its film adaptation. He also wrote and directed the sequel The Exorcist III. After the success of The Exorcist, Blatty reworked Twinkle, Twinkle, "Killer" Kane! (1960) into a new novel titled The Ninth Configuration, published in 1978. Two years later, Blatty adapted the novel into a film of the same title and won Best Screenplay at the 38th Golden Globe Awards. Some of his other notable works are the novels Elsewhere (2009), Dimiter (2010) and Crazy (2010).
Born and raised in New York City, Blatty received his bachelor's degree in English from Georgetown University in 1950, and his master's degree in English literature from the George Washington University. Following completion of his master's degree in 1954, he joined the United States Air Force, where he worked in the Psychological Warfare Division. After service in the air force, he worked for the United States Information Agency in Beirut.