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

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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…

“Inspired not only in the way it explores what the off-kilter, the monstrous and the half-known has meant to women for centuries but also in how it illuminates the often unusual lives of the women who crafted these dark worlds.”—BookPage

“Your necronomicon for all women writing horror.”—Book Riot

“The curatorial quality of a literary anthology, the historical rigor of an academic text, and the pleasure of a picture book.”—

“A great gift for anyone fascinated with genre writing.”—SFX Magazine

“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

“It's like if you've ever spent a night hopping from Wikipedia entry to Wikipedia entry...because you're just devouring entry after entry...It's so entertaining.”—BookRiot

“Presented in a breezy, conversational style that makes it easy to gobble up whole sections at a time...Anyone from casual fans to horror historians will benefit from reading this important book.”—Cemetery Dance

“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

“An engrossing, eye-opening encyclopedia on the pioneering women who went against convention and broke down barriers to mold the horror fiction genre, thereby inspiring generations of writers and even filmmakers with their works.”Geeks of Doom

“A fantastic dive into the literary world's spookiest stories and gives an impressive insight into the women behind such ghastly tales, all while laying out the history of horror.”But Why Tho?, 5 star review

“Unique, fascinating, extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library.”—Midwest Book Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9781683691389
ISBN-10: 1683691385
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: September 17th, 2019
Pages: 352