Fear in the black community takes on even more meanings and covers so much more than what is found in typical in the horror genre. Yet black horror fiction and black horror writers are under appreciated and often overlooked. But for this Halloween season CFTC is putting a spotlight on 5 legendary black horror writers and their work you should read to get a few good scares.
Considered by many to be the Queen of all things speculative fiction with an extensive catalog of classics, Butler is a literary force to be reckoned with. Some of her top works include sci-fi epic The Parables of the Sowers/Talent and Mind of My Mind (Patternist series) and her horror masterpiece Fledgling. It’s a story about a 10-year-old half-vampire and half-African-American human who is being stalked and hunted by a family of powerful pure-blood vampires who feel her presence is a desecration and threat to the purity of their vampire lineage. Mixing traditional scares and modern social issues, it’s a book every black horror fan should check out.
Banks was quite the prolific writer who ventured into various genres, including African-American literature, romance, women’s fiction, crime suspense, dark fantasy/horror and non-fiction. She won several literary awards during her career including the 2008 Essence Literary Awards Storyteller of the Year. Her horror opus was The Vampire Huntress Legend Series a twelve book series centered around a young woman named Damali Richards who is a spoken word artist by day and a Neteru (a human who is born once every thousand years to fight the Dark Realms) by night tasked with fighting vampires. The entire series is based on the never ending struggle between good and evil, religion, and surprisingly, love. Start with the first book in he series Minion which is considered a classic.
The daughter of civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due and civil rights lawyer John D. Due Jr. Due was working as a journalist turned author who has bounced between historical fiction and supernatural/horror novels. She’s written historical fiction about Madam C. J. Walker and Freedom in the Family, a non-fiction work about the civil rights struggle. Due has been twice nominated for Bram Stoker Awards for excellence in horror writing and her top horror work comes in the African Immortals novel series. The first book in the series, My Soul to Keep, is a hauntingly eerie contemporary story of immortality, innocence and death. It takes a gripping look into the depths of human nature asking biting moral questions of the reader we’ve all pondered about what price we would pay for eternal life. This is a novel that stay with it’s readers well after the final page is read.
Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born Canadian writer, editor, and teacher known for her ability to draw on Caribbean history and language, and its traditions of oral and written storytelling for her speculative fiction and horror novels. Her novel Brown Girl in the Ring deals with the themes of feminism in women of color and the use of magic, “Obeah,” or seer women are prevalent throughout this novel. Nalo Hopkinson presents strong female characters who take control of their fate to make change in the world and shows a realistic perception of the struggles women face as single mothers as well as the struggles women with different cultural beliefs face in society which can place women of color in harrowing snd frightening situations. However, it shows their ability to use their culture, background, and experiences as women to overcome obstacles and show the true strength women possess.
Mosley is a novelist, most widely recognized for his crime fiction. He has written a series of best-selling historical mysteries featuring the hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins, a black private investigator living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The Tempest Tales is his horror work and stars Tempest Landry, an everyday black man who is “accidentally” killed by a cop. Denied access to heaven, Tempest refuses to go to hell. Confounded, Saint Peter sends him back to Harlem, where a guiding angel tries to convince him to accept Saint Peter’s judgment, and even the Devil himself tries to win over Tempest’s soul. Through the street-smart Landry, Mosley poses the provocative question: Is sin for blacks the same as it is for whites? And who gets to decide?
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Written by @TalentedMrFord