These 6 Female Horror Authors Prove That the Genre Isn't a Boys' Club

Female Horror Authors, three books by female horror authors, books
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Seven women who are killing it in the horror game!

Female Horror Authors

In this article, we're going to delve into six fantastic female horror authors that deserve at least as much - if not more - recognition than the male authors who get the credit for the genre.

People like to be scared. On the surface, it may not make sense, but Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, professor of social and organizational psychology at the University of Utrecht, says people enjoy horror because they "want it to affect" them "emotionally."

While Dr. Goldstein is referring to horror movies, it can easily applied to horror books too, especially the works of female horror authors who often have very different perspectives of the world based on the world treats them. It gives female horror authors something of an edge, an insight that other writers may not have.

1. Shirley Jackson

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No list of women horror authors is complete without Shirley Jackson, especially when you consider an award was named for her. The Shirley Jackson Awards was created to honor writers for "outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror and the dark fantastic." Since their release, her novels and short stories have haunted readers and will continue to do so for decades to come.

Check out these incredible novels by Shirley Jackson:

The Lottery and Other Stories

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

The Haunting of Hill House

2. Tananarive Due

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Tananarive Due lives, breathes, and eats horror. Not only is she an incredible horror writer, but she's also teaches Black Horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA. Through her website, the public can access non-credit versions of the class. Tananarive also is executive producer for Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, a documentary on the horror streaming service Shudder.

Give these Tananarive Due novels a read:

The Good House

My Soul to Keep: African Immortals series book 1

The Between

3. Jennifer McMahon

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Though she studied poetry in college, Jennifer McMahon found her calling writing horror, mystery, and suspense when her first novel, Promise Not to Tell, came out in 2007. Her book, Dismantled, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and she's had books top bestsellers lists. Fun fact: Jennifer McMahon lives in an old Victorian home her neighbors think looks like it belongs to the Addams family. That's dedication to the genre!

Add these Jennifer McMahon novels to your reading list!

The Invited

The Winter People

The Night Sister

4. Daphne du Maurier

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If we're talking about classic female horror writers, Daphne du Maurier deserves a place on the list. Her novels may not be what we think of horror today, but they're definitely dark, gothic, mysterious, and suspenseful - all common traits in modern horror.

Here are three Daphne du Maurier book you need to read:

My Cousin Rachel


Jamaica Inn

5. Rin Chupeco

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If you're interested in horror, paranormal, mystery, and dark fiction, young adult author Rin Chupeco is someone you need to read as soon as possible. Rin's series, The Girl from the Well, is the most straight-up horror she's written, described as "Dexter meets The Grudge" with roots in a Japanese ghost story, but The Bone Witch series is also one to check out!

Check out these novels by Rin Chupeco:

The Girl From the Well

The Suffering

The Bone Witch

6. Mary SanGiovanni

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A Bram Stoker Award nominee, Mary SanGiovanni is known for her incredible occult horror novels that keep you on edge until the very last page. She immerses herself in horror by co-hosting the podcast The Horror Show with Brian Keene and even has her own podcast on cosmic horror called Cosmic Shenanigans. Give them a listen!

Add these three Mary SanGiovanni to your reading list:


Behind the Door

Savage Woods

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