Peter Straub

Peter Francis Straub (/straʊb/; born March 2, 1943) is an American novelist and poet. His horror fiction has received numerous literary honors such as the Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award.

Peter Straub
Straub in 2009
Straub in 2009
BornPeter Francis Straub
March 2, 1943 (age 76)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
OccupationNovelist, poet
Alma mater
Notable awardsBram Stoker Award, World Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award
RelativesEmma Straub (daughter)

Early life

Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Elvena (Nilsestuen) and Gordon Anthony Straub.[1][2] At the age of seven, Straub was struck by a car, sustaining serious injuries. He was hospitalized for several months, and temporarily used a wheelchair after being released until he had re-learned how to walk. Straub has said that the accident made him prematurely aware of his own mortality.[3]

Straub read voraciously from an early age, but his literary interests did not please his parents; his father hoped that he would grow up to be a professional athlete, while his mother wanted him to be a Lutheran minister.[4] He attended Milwaukee Country Day School on a scholarship, and, during his time there, began writing.[4]

Straub earned an honors B.A. in English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1965, and an MA at Columbia University a year later. He briefly taught English at Milwaukee Country Day, then moved to Dublin, Ireland, in 1969 to work on a Ph.D., and to start writing professionally.[5]


After mixed success with two attempts at literary mainstream novels in the mid-1970s (Marriages and Under Venus), Straub dabbled in the supernatural for the first time with Julia (1975). He then wrote If You Could See Me Now (1977), and came to widespread public attention with his fifth novel, Ghost Story (1979), which was a critical success and was later loosely adapted into a 1981 film starring Fred Astaire. Several horror novels followed, with growing success, including The Talisman and Black House, two fantasy-horror collaborations with Straub's long-time friend and fellow author Stephen King.

Peter Straub BBF 2010 Shankbone
Straub at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival for a panel on how far a writer can go between reality and fantasy.

After a fallow period, Straub re-emerged in 1988 with Koko, a nonsupernatural (though horrific) Vietnam novel. Koko was followed in the early '90s by the related novels Mystery and The Throat, which together with Koko make up the "Blue Rose Trilogy". These complex and intertwined novels extended Straub's explorations into metafiction and unreliable narrators.

The ambitious mainstream thriller The Hellfire Club was published in 1996; the novel applied the lessons learned in the Blue Rose period to a more overtly gothic plot. Mr. X followed in 1999 with a doppelgänger theme. In 2001, Straub and King reteamed for Black House, a loose sequel to The Talisman tying that book in with King's Dark Tower Series. 2003 saw the publication of a new Straub novel Lost Boy, Lost Girl followed by the related In the Night Room (2004). Both of these novels won Stoker awards.

Straub also edited the Library of America volume H. P. Lovecraft: Tales (2005). His novel Mr. X had paid tribute to Lovecraft, as the eponymous Mr. X wrote in a similar style.

Straub has also published several books of poetry. My Life in Pictures appeared in 1971 as part of a series of six poetry pamphlets Straub published with his friend Thomas Tessier under the Seafront Press imprint while living in Dublin. In 1972 the more substantial chapbook Ishmael was published by Turret Books in London. Straub's third book of poetry, Open Air, appeared later that same year from Irish University Press. The collection Leeson Park and Belsize Square: Poems 1970 – 1975 was published by Underwood-Miller in October 1983. This collection reprints much of Ishmael along with previously uncollected poems, but none of the poems from Open Air.

A critical essay on Straub's horror work can be found in S. T. Joshi's book The Modern Weird Tale (2001). At the Foot of the Story Tree by Bill Sheehan discusses Straub's work before 2000.

Straub also sits on the contributing editorial board of the literary journal Conjunctions, and he guest-edited Conjunctions: 39, an issue on New Wave Fabulism.[6]

Rob Hood-Peter Straub
Straub (right) with Rob Hood in 2007

In 2007, Straub's personal papers were acquired by the Fales Library at New York University.

February 2010 saw the release of his latest thriller, A Dark Matter.[7]

In 2016, co-author Stephen King said that he and Straub have plans to write a third Talisman book in the future. King says that the collaboration for the series was “natural,” and that the two were excited to work together. On Straub’s contribution to horror fiction, King says, “he brought a poet’s sensibility to the field, creating a synthesis of horror and beauty” and “he writes a beautiful prose line that features narrative clarity, sterling characterization, and surprising bursts of humor.”[8]



Short story collections

  • 1990: Houses Without Doors (includes "A Short Guide to the City" and a shorter version of Mrs. God )
  • 2000: Magic Terror (includes "Pork Pie Hat (novella)")
  • 2007: 5 Stories; Winner of Bram Stoker Award
  • 2010: The Juniper Tree and Other Blue Rose Stories
  • 2016: Interior Darkness


  • 1982: The General's Wife
  • 1990: Mrs. God (collected in "Houses Without Doors")
  • 1993: The Ghost Village (collected in Magic Terror) (winner of World Fantasy Award) (1993)[22]
  • 1993 Bunny is Good Bread (collected in "Magic Terror")
  • 1997 Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff (collected in "Magic Terror")
  • 1999: Pork Pie Hat (collected in "Magic Terror")
  • 2010: A Special Place- The Heart of a Dark Matter (outtake from "A Dark Matter")
  • 2011: The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine
  • 2012: The Buffalo Hunter: A Novella (collected in "Houses Without Doors")
  • 2015: Perdido
  • 2017: The Process (is a Process All its Own)


  • 1971: My Life in Pictures
  • 1972: Ishmael
  • 1972: Open Air
  • 1983: Leeson Park and Belsize Square: Poems 1970 – 1975


  • 2006: Sides (collection of non-fiction essays)

Anthologies (as editor)

Omnibus editions

  • 1984: Wild Animals (collects the novels Julia, If You Could See Me Now, and Under Venus)

Limited editions

  • 2010: The Skylark (an earlier, longer draft of A Dark Matter)

Further reading

  • Hauntings: The Official Peter Straub Bibliography, Michael R. Collings
  • Tibbetts, John C. The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub. Jefferson: McFarland Publishers, 2016.


See also


  1. ^ Roberts, James P. Famous Wisconsin Authors, Badger Books Inc., 2002, pp. 167–173. ISBN 1-878569-85-6.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Morgan, John. "Stephen King scares up support for fallen friend", USA Today, Health section, published February 1, 2002. Retrieved April 29, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Roberts, p. 168.
  5. ^ "Official Web Site". Peter Straub. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  6. ^ Conjunctions:39 – The New Wave Fabulists. Fall 2002, edited by Bradford Morrow and Peter Straub.
  7. ^ Contest and Trailer for Peter Straub's A Dark Matter
  8. ^ Tibbetts, John C. The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers., 2016, pp. 167, 197. ISBN 978-1-4766-6492-7
  9. ^ "1981 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  10. ^ "1984 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  11. ^ "1985 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  12. ^ "1989 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  13. ^ "1993 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  14. ^ "1994 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  15. ^ "1996 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  16. ^ "1997 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  17. ^ "1999 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  18. ^ a b "2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  19. ^ "2003 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  20. ^ a b "2004 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  21. ^ "2010 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  22. ^ World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Retrieved Feb 4, 2011.
  23. ^
  24. ^

External links

Black House (novel)

Black House is a horror novel by American writers Stephen King and Peter Straub. Published in 2001, it is the sequel to The Talisman.

This is one of King's numerous novels, which also include Hearts in Atlantis and Insomnia, that tie in with the Dark Tower series. Black House was nominated to the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel.The novel is set in Straub's homeland of Wisconsin, rather than in King's frequently-used backdrop of Maine. The town of "French Landing" is a fictionalized version of the town of Trempealeau, Wisconsin. Also, "Centralia" is named after the nearby small town of Centerville, Wisconsin, located at the intersection of Hwy 93 and Hwy 35.

A chapter of the book is written around Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven".

Bram Stoker Award for Novel

The Bram Stoker Award for Novel is an award presented by the Horror Writers Association (HWA) for "superior achievement" in horror writing for novels.


Conjunctions, is a biannual American literary journal based at Bard College. It was founded in 1981 and is currently edited by Bradford Morrow. Morrow received the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing in 2007.

The journal publishes innovative fiction, poetry, criticism, drama, art and interviews by both emerging and established writers. It provides a forum for nearly 1,000 writers and artists "whose work challenges accepted forms and modes of expression, experiments with language and thought, and is fully realized art," according to the "Letter From the Editor" on its website. It aims to maintain consistently high editorial and production quality with the intention of attracting a large and varied audience. The project is meant to present a wide variety of individual voices. The publication is unusually thick, often containing about 400 pages per issue.Conjunctions' editorial approach is often collaborative. Both the editor and the distinguished staff of active contributing editors — including Walter Abish, John Ashbery, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Mary Caponegro, Elizabeth Frank, William H. Gass, Peter Gizzi, Jorie Graham, Robert Kelly, Ann Lauterbach, Norman Manea, W.S. Merwin, Rick Moody, Joanna Scott, Peter Straub, William Weaver and John Edgar Wideman — rely on the advice of fellow writers across the country. Final selection of the material is made by the editor.

Donald M. Grant, Publisher

Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. is a fantasy and science fiction small press publisher in New Hampshire that was founded in 1964. It is notable for publishing fantasy and horror novels with lavish illustrations, most notably Stephen King's The Dark Tower series and the King/Peter Straub novel The Talisman.

Fales Library

New York University's Fales Library and Special Collections is located on the third floor of the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library at 70 Washington Square South between LaGuardia Place and the Schwartz Plaza, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It houses nearly 200,000 volumes, and 10,000 feet (3,000 m) of archive and manuscript materials. It contains the Fales Collection of rare books and manuscripts in English and American literature, the Downtown Collection, the Food and Cookery Collection, and the general Special Collections from the NYU Libraries.

The Tracey-Barry Gallery offers public exhibits of materials from the Library's collections.

The Fales Collection was given to NYU in 1957 by DeCoursey Fales in memory of his father, Haliburton Fales. It is especially strong in English literature from the middle of the 18th century to the present, documenting developments in the novel. Other related collections held in Fales include the Berol Collection of Lewis Carroll Materials, the Robert Frost Library, the Nelson F. Adkins collection of American Literature, and the manuscript collections of Elizabeth Robins, Peter Straub, E. L. Doctorow and Erich Maria Remarque.

The Downtown Collection documents the downtown New York city art, performance, film, and literary landscape from 1975 to the present. In addition to thousands of published books and magazines, the Downtown Collection includes extensive holdings of archival and manuscript material; film and video; original artwork; theatrical models; and other realia. Archival holdings range from the personal papers of writers such as Dennis Cooper, Richard Foreman and Lynne Tillman to the papers of publishing ventures such as High Risk Books and Between C & D to the archives of organizations such as Creative Time and Mabou Mines and the Gonightclubbing Archive of late 1970's punk rock video, photos, interviews and ephemera.

An area of recent growth in Fales is the Food and Cookery Collection of well over 15,000 books. The personal libraries of James Beard, Cecily Brownstone, and Dalia Carmel form the core of this collection which continues to expand.

The Fales Library preserves manuscripts and original editions of books that are rare or important not only because of their texts, but also because of their value as artifacts.

The Fales Library holds the personal papers and/or archives of the following, among others:

John Canemaker

Jerome Charyn

Dennis Cooper

E. L. Doctorow

Richard Foreman

Robert Hammond

Elizabeth Robins

Peter Straub

Lynne Tillman

David Wojnarowicz

Kathleen Hanna

Sarah Jacobson

Pat Ivers

Emily Armstrong

Floating Dragon

Floating Dragon is a horror novel by American writer Peter Straub, originally published by Underwood-Miller in November 1982 and G.P. Putnam's Sons in February 1983.

Full Circle (1977 film)

Full Circle (a.k.a. The Haunting of Julia) is a 1977 British-Canadian horror film directed by Richard Loncraine. Based on the novel Julia by Peter Straub, it is the first film realization of one of his books. In the movie, Mia Farrow plays a woman fleeing an unhappy marriage and her daughter's death, and being haunted by the ghost of a vengeful little girl.

Ghost Story (Straub novel)

Ghost Story is a horror novel by American writer Peter Straub. It was published on January 1, 1979 by Coward, McCann and Geoghegan. The book was adapted into a film by the same name in 1981, minus the novel's fifth protagonist character, Lewis Benedikt.

The novel was a watershed in Straub's career. Though his earlier books had achieved a limited amount of critical and commercial success, Ghost Story became a national bestseller and cemented the author's reputation.

If You Could See Me Now (Straub novel)

If You Could See Me Now is a horror novel by American author Peter Straub. It is his third novel and his second work of gothic or supernatural fiction. The book was published by Jonathan Cape in June 1977 – the same London publisher who published Julia in 1976. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan published an American edition also in June 1977.

In the Night Room

In the Night Room is a 2004 horror-thriller novel by American author Peter Straub, a sequel to his 2003 book Lost Boy, Lost Girl. The work was first published in hardback on October 26, 2004 through Random House and it won the 2004 Bram Stoker Award for Novel. Straub encountered some difficulties while writing In the Night Room and had written several different passages for the work before growing bored with each version before writing it using the same technique he used for its predecessor in which he "reached down inside the book and turned it inside out."

Julia (novel)

Julia is a 1975 novel by American writer Peter Straub. The work is Straub's first novel to deal with the supernatural and was published through Coward, McCann & Geoghegan. Julia was later adapted into the 1977 film The Haunting of Julia (occasionally referred to as Full Circle) starring Mia Farrow.The work is Straub's third novel and his second published novel, as Under Venus was not officially published until 1984. Straub began writing Julia at the advice of his literary agent after Under Venus was rejected by his publishers, as his agent recommended that he try writing a gothic novel.

Koko (novel)

Koko is a mystery novel written by Peter Straub and first published in the United States in 1988 by EP Dutton, and in Great Britain by Viking. It was the winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1989.

Lost Boy, Lost Girl

Lost Boy, Lost Girl is a 2003 horror/suspense novel by American writer Peter Straub. The book won the 2003 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel and was a 2004 August Derleth Award nominee.A sequel, In the Night Room (2004), follows.

Peter Straub (politician)

Peter Karl Otto Straub (born 8 September 1939) is a politician from Germany, and served as president of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) of the European Union (EU) from 2004 to 2006.

Secret Windows

Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing is a collection of short stories, essays, speeches, and book excerpts by Stephen King, published in 2000. It was marketed by Book-of-the-Month Club as a companion to King's On Writing. Although its title is derived from a King novella (Secret Window, Secret Garden), it is not otherwise related to that novella or the film adaptation, Secret Window.

Secret Windows is a collection of stories and essays written by King that are primarily concerned with writing and the horror genre. Several of the entries have been published elsewhere, including introductions King had written for other authors' novels, as well as introductions and essays from King's previous books. This volume also includes several short works that had not been previously published elsewhere, including lectures given by King, an interview with King conducted by Muriel Gray, a never-before-published short story by King, titled "In the Deathroom," and an introduction written by Peter Straub.

Shadowland (Straub novel)

Shadowland is a novel by Peter Straub, first published in 1980 by Coward, McCann and Geohegen. It is a horror novel that has strong elements of fantasy. It was the first book Straub wrote following his highly successful Ghost Story.

The Talisman (King and Straub novel)

The Talisman is a 1984 fantasy novel by American writers Stephen King and Peter Straub. The plot is not related to that of Walter Scott's 1825 novel of the same name, although there is one oblique reference to "a Sir Walter Scott novel." The Talisman was nominated for both the Locus and World Fantasy Awards in 1985. King and Straub followed up with a sequel, Black House (2001), that picks up with a now-adult Jack as a retired Los Angeles homicide detective trying to solve a series of murders in the small town of French Landing, Wisconsin.

The book is dedicated to the authors' mothers: "This book is for Ruth King, Elvena Straub."

The Talisman (comics)

The Talisman is a comic book adaptation published by Del Rey of the novel of the same name written by Stephen King and Peter Straub.The first issue, a limited edition #0, was released at Comic-Con in July 2009. This prequel issue was published in non-limited release on October 21, 2009. The script is by Robin Furth, pencils/inks by Tony Shasteen, colors by Nei Ruffino & JD Mettler, and lettering by Bill Tortolini. The cover art work is by Massimo Carnevale. A hardcover collection has been published on May 4, 2010 (ISBN 978-0345517982).

The second story arc, The Talisman: A Collision of Worlds was announced for release in June 2010 but was put on hold by the publishers and has yet to be released.

Works by Peter Straub

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