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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WiHM: Shirley Jackson's Legacy and Award

Women writing horror today have much to owe to Shirley Jackson.  When "The Lottery" was written in 1948, she jolted America into the reality of the sinister actions lurking just under the surface of bucolic, small town America.  She was not the first person to set a scary tale in a small town, but she was doing it as a woman, which in and of itself was shocking.

In order to honor Jackson's legacy and importance, her estate has set up an award:
In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic. 
Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work. National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novelist Jonathan Lethem has called Jackson “one of this century’s most luminous and strange American writers,” and multiple generations of authors would agree.
One of the nice side effects of this award is that while it is not officially only bestowed upon female writers, it is conscious of the contribution of women in a way no other major dark fiction award is.

As a result, the lists of past nominees and winners includes a ton of female writers of dark fiction!  This is an excellent resource to use to identify Women in Horror, specially those on the edges of pure horror, which tends to be very male dominated both in readers and critically acclaimed writers.

But as we all know, there are plenty of women who love horror.

So, while WiHM may be winding down this week, you can identify excellent women who are writing terrifying tomes all year long with a quick click here.

And as a special help to us librarians, these are going to be among the most mainstream options.  These are titles you probably already have in your collections.  Now you have no excuse not to suggest some great scary titles.

What are you waiting for?

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