Thanet Writers’ Favourite Spooky Reads
Spooky season is upon us. If you’re not familiar with the term, spooky season is that nebulous time of year roughly spanning the end of September to the beginning of November, defined by a desire to drink lots of hot drinks, hoard candles, and consume all of the creepy, disturbing, strange, and grotesque stories it’s possible to find. (Note: for some people, every season is spooky season.)
Always searching for my next read, I asked the rest of the Thanet Writers team what their favourite spooky selections were.
Director Hannah Eden recommends Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake, a story of ghost hunting and vengeance. “The gruesome details and build up of apprehension will leave your heart thudding!”
Reviews Editor Nic James went for a classic – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. “It’s the ultimate taboo of man against god, of man thinking he can be god and get away with it.”
Director David Chitty’s favourite is Duma Key by Stephen King. “I’ve been a fan of horror movies most of my life but I’ve never really been a fan of horror books; they never scared me. Duma Key is one of the few exceptions. Never before have I been as scared by the written word. The build up to the horrifying climax is something that still makes my heart skip a beat when I think about it years later.”
Poetry Editor Kirsty Louise Farley’s spooky read is The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. “There are many reads I enjoy but I’ve chosen this one because it’s always scared me and I think that says a lot coming from a millennial obsessed with horror films!”
Managing Editor Melissa Todd has two recommendations, the first being Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. “On the surface a simple, bog standard horror about demons and innocent children, but open to so many interpretations and analysis about the nature of evil, corruption… I like stories where you’re never quite sure if there is a supernatural element or something more explicable and therefore ultimately more satisfying at work.” And secondly, Sarah Waters’ Affinity, “where the protagonist so badly wants something to be true she seems to hypnotise herself into believing it – or was there some other mysterious psychic explanation? The human mind is capable of creating demons to haunt itself far beyond any tedious horned fiery creature.”
And finally, as Fiction Editor, I recommend We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson. It’s a subtle horror story set in a small American town, perfectly displaying Jackson’s ability to build atmosphere and craft a sympathetic, layered, complicated protagonist. It’s gothic, there’s a cat, lots of good food, all crafted in Jackson’s assured, fluid prose.
What’s your favourite spooky read?
© 2020 Alice Olivia Scarlett
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Alice Olivia Scarlett is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Thanet with the seagulls and parakeets.