March 8 was International Women’s Day, and I wanted to celebrate by sharing 3 female horror authors who need to be on your radar. There are so many excellent female horror authors out there to discover, and while the horror genre has long been male dominated, it is nice to see how many more female horror authors are taking the genre by storm. The following 3 horror authors are some of my absolute favorites, and I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I do!
When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.
When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.Synopsis on Goodreads
Amy Lukavics is a young adult horror author, but all of her novels are extremely brutal and haunting. I first discovered her when I read her debut novel Daughters Unto Devils back in 2016, and it has stuck with me ever since. I find that Lukavics’ novels are all very genuine and unique, and this author deserves more credit than she receives. Try her out. You are in for a treat!
Carmen Maria Machado
Carmen Maria Machado is an author who draws on science fiction, fantasy, feminism, and horror. Her short story collection Her Body and Other Parties has taken the genre by storm recently, and it is a collection that will stay with you for years to come.
In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella Especially Heinous, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.
Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.Synopsis on Goodreads
Horror is one of my favorite genres because it’s so limber. In some ways, it’s regressive—it’s still very male and white. . . . On the other hand, horror can be a very transgressive space. It reflects so many of our anxieties and fears. When you enter into horror, you’re entering into your own mind, your own anxiety, your own fear, your own darkest spaces. When horror fails, it’s because the writer or director isn’t drawing on those things. They’re just throwing blood wherever and seeing what sticks. But horror is an intimate, eerie, terrifying thing, and when it’s done well it can unmake you, the viewer, the reader. That tells us a lot about who we are, what we are, and what we, individually and culturally, are afraid of. I love the ability of stories to have spaces in them where the reader can rush in. That is the work I am most interested in, and that is the work I am most interested in writing.Carmen Maria Machado
A woman’s mysterious death puts her husband and son on a collision course with her demonic family.
A young father and son set out on a road trip, devastated by the death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travel to her ancestral home, where they must confront the terrifying legacy she has bequeathed: a family called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of immortality.
For Gaspar, the son, this maniacal cult is his destiny. As the Order tries to pull him into their evil, he and his father take flight, attempting to outrun a powerful clan that will do anything to ensure its own survival. But how far will Gaspar’s father go to protect his child? And can anyone escape their fate?
Moving back and forth in time, from London in the swinging 1960s to the brutal years of Argentina’s military dictatorship and its turbulent aftermath, Our Share of Night is a novel like no other: a family story, a ghost story, a story of the occult and the supernatural, a book about the complexities of love and longing with queer subplots and themes. This is the masterwork of one of Latin America’s most original novelists, “a mesmerizing writer,” says Dave Eggers, “who demands to be read.”Synopsis on Goodreads
Mariana Enriquez is an Argentine author and journalist. Her new novel, Our Share of Night, was translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell. It is filled with horror, fantasy, and LGBTQIA+ queer themes, and the writing style is bizarre and enchanting.
There are so many female horror authors to discover, and this is just a taste. I hope that you take the time to read more horror pieces by female authors, not just to celebrate International Women’s Day, but to celebrate every day.