Why Do I Write Horror?
By Georgina Bruce
I didn’t choose horror. Horror chose me.
Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved ghost stories, stories of hauntings and possessions. But that’s not really horror, right? I was drawn to the Gothic, to women trapped in the sinister machinations of houses and families. That’s literature, I thought. I read The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and stayed awake for three nights, terrified by the idea of reality’s infinite recursions, the threat of being unmoored from sanity. But that’s science fiction, right? Not horror.
Horror was Stephen King and Dean Koontz, commercial fiction that didn’t interest me. Horror was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, the schlock bizzaro pornified misogyny and violence I hated. Horror was zombies, vampires, the black kids dying first in every film, the hot girl being punished for her sexuality. Not for me, I thought. Horror has nothing to do with anything I’m interested in.
Even when my story ‘White Rabbit’ was published in Black Static magazine, I still didn’t think I was writing horror.
But it didn’t matter what I thought I was writing, because horror readers knew what they were reading.
At first, I was just bowled over by the enthusiasm and generosity of the horror community. There really is a sense of community among writers, readers, and fans, and I was welcomed with open arms. Okay, I thought. These are good people. Horror is more than just the weirdos writing about torturing and mutilating women. Those guys have a loud, intimidating presence, but they don’t own horror. I realised that horror was a lot more diverse, interesting and experimental than I’d ever given it credit for.
I saw the women who were changing the face of horror. The marginalised voices for whom horror was a home. I realised that writers I loved – Shirley Jackson, Angela Carter, Tanith Lee, Daphne du Maurier, to name but a few – wrote books that belonged to horror as much as anything produced by the purveyors of slash and gore. Then there were all the amazing weird fictioneers like Lynda E. Rucker, S.P. Miskowski, Cate Gardner, Simon Bestwick, Priya Sharma, Tracy Fahey, and many more, writing stuff that expanded and keeps expanding my ideas of what horror can be.
I came to see that horror gave me space and freedom to explore fears and nightmares in all sorts of extreme and imaginative ways. I realised that horror is as politically complex and diverse as any other kind of literature, if not more so. And I learned that all forms of resistance can thrive in horror writing.
In short, I fell in love with horror.
I still don’t know if I qualify as a horror writer. I still don’t really know what horror is. I still haven’t read anything by Stephen King. But if horror readers and writers want to claim me, I’m honoured and delighted. I’m proud to be called a horror writer. I may not have chosen horror, but I’m so grateful that horror chose me.
This House Of Wounds
The devastating debut short story collection from British Fantasy Award-winning author Georgina Bruce. Haunting and visceral tales for the lost and the lonely. An emotional and riveting debut.
Advance praise for Georgina Bruce’s ‘This House of Wounds.’
“An astonishing, totally absorbing debut collection. Edgy, disturbing and delicious in equal parts. Georgina Bruce plays with myth and horror beautifully.”
-Kerry Hadley-Pryce, Author of Gamble, and The Black Country
“The stories in This House of Wounds strike me as both an emotional and intellectual examination of pain, from how it spreads and is passed on to others to how it can easily turn us into different, crueller creatures. Each act formed in pain leads to another, then another, and this makes for twisted, beautiful reading. Georgina Bruce is a courageous and compelling writer.”
-Aliya Whiteley, Author of The Loosening Skin, and The Beauty
Georgina Bruce is a writer and teacher. Her writing lives in various dark corners of the internet. Her short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and have been longlisted for the Bridport and Mslexia short story prizes. In 2017, her story “White Rabbit” won the British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction. Her debut collection, “This House of Wounds,” is out now.
You can find out more about Georgina by visiting www.georginabruce.com
You can follow Georgina on Twitter @monster_soup