Skip to content

[Guest Post] Five Women in Horror from Alison Littlewood

2013 February 20
  • Next up in our Women in Horror Recognition Month series, we’re thrilled to welcome author Alison Littlewood to the guest slot. Alison’s debut novel, A Cold Season, is out now. (Wanna join the guest blogging fun? Send your pitches to [email protected].)

womeninhorror2013logoI was delighted when Bad Reputation asked me to recommend the work of five women working in horror, to coincide with Women in Horror Recognition Month. It’s the perfect time to celebrate each other’s work and shout about what women have achieved in the field. So here are five personal picks…

1. Thana Niveau, short story writer

fromhelltoeternityI first came across Thana’s work in various anthologies, including several editions of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, where her work had rightfully been selected as among the most outstanding of the year.

Most recently though, I read her first collection of short stories, From Hell to Eternity (published by Gray Friar Press, with an introduction penned by none other than Ramsey Campbell).

From Hell to Eternity is a wonderful read. I particularly loved the opening story, ‘The Curtain’, with its eerie underwater world, and ‘Stolen to Time’, with a photography session that captures more than is bargained for. This is a strong debut, and definitely marks Thana out as one to watch.

Furthermore… this is a lady who really lives the life. As her bio says, she ‘lives in a crumbling gothic tower in Wicker Man country. She shares her life with fellow horror scribe John Llewellyn Probert, in a Victorian library filled with arcane books and curiosities.’

Her online home (‘a little dusty, little dark, a little strange,’) is at

2. Marie O’Regan, anthologist


Marie is another talented short story writer as well as a top-flight anthologist. She has also worked behind the scenes of the FantasyCon gathering, putting programming together and bringing some fantastic guests of honour to the event.

One of her latest titles is The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (published by Robinson), a project aimed at showcasing the work of women writers in the field. It includes stories dating back to the nineteenth century through to contemporary ghostly tales. I have a story in there too, and can vouch that Marie is a pleasure to work with.

With husband Paul Kane, Marie also edited Hellbound Hearts (Pocket Books), a Clive Barker tribute anthology that includes stories by Neil Gaiman, Sarah Pinborough, Conrad Williams, Tim Lebbon, Barbie Wilde, Kelley Armstrong and many more, and features a foreword by Clive Barker.

Next up on my ‘to be read’ pile is The Mammoth Book of Body Horror (Robinson), which includes more big names and potentially more visceral fare…

Find Marie at

3. Sarah Pinborough, novelist

mayhemSarah Pinborough has published a number of novels, including The Hidden, Tower Hill, The Reckoning and Breeding Ground, a wonderfully chilling book that reimagines motherhood and birth in an entirely different way.

Her novella, The Language of Dying (PS Publishing) is an intimate and harrowing account of a father’s terminal illness. The fantasy elements are interwoven with the lightest touch – this is more akin to true-life horror, and brought me to tears. It won the 2010 British Fantasy Award for Best Novella.

The Dog-Faced Gods series (Gollancz) is a widely acclaimed trilogy combining crime with the supernatural. Coming up is a duology of historical novels that again combine crime with horror: Mayhem and Murder (Jo Fletcher Books). Sarah also has a movie, Cracked, in development, and is making inroads into writing for television, with an episode of New Tricks under her belt. Her short story ‘The Confessor’s Tale’ was among my favourites in the Marie O’Regan/Paul Kane anthology, Hellbound Hearts.

See more from her at

4. Angela Slatter, short story writer

girlwithnohandsWinner of a British Fantasy Award and two Aurealis Awards, Angela Slatter is an Australian writer of dark fantasy and horror. She has a Masters (Research) in Creative Writing and a PhD in Creative Writing.

2010 saw not one but two short story collections published – Sourdough and Other Stories (Tartarus Press) and The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales (Ticonderoga).

Sourdough is full of dark fairy tales, where babies are fashioned from bread and dolls are given souls. The Girl with No Hands has retold stories, including The Little Match Girl and Bluebeard.

I tend to think of fairy tales as the original horror stories, and Angela’s work is ideal for anyone who likes their dark fiction with a good measure of the magical and folkloric.

It’s good to hear that she is currently working on an urban fantasy novel, Brisneyland by Night.

5. Muriel Gray, novelist and TV presenter

tricksterMuriel Gray was a special guest at FantasyCon last year, where she brought boundless enthusiasm to the role (and the biggest grin that I’ve ever seen!). She originally hails from East Kilbride, Scotland. She graduated from the Glasgow School of Art, played in a punk band and went on to be a successful TV presenter as well as an author. She also founded one of the UK’s leading independent television production companies.

Her writing career began in 1995 with the bestselling horror novel The Trickster, which was followed by Furnace and The Ancient (all HarperCollins), which Stephen King described as “scary and unputdownable”.

She has also contributed many short stories to anthologies and magazines, the most recent including The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women and A Carnivàle of Horror: Dark Tales from the Fairground (PS Publishing).

Apparently Muriel was a horror fan from childhood, when she hid The Pan Book of Horror Stories under her bed covers and read it with a torch.


A Cold Season

  • Alison Littlewood’s latest novel, Path of Needles, will be out in June 2013. Her first novel, A Cold Season (Jo Fletcher Books) was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, where it was described as “perfect reading for a dark winter’s night.” Her short stories have been picked for the Best Horror of the Year and Mammoth Book of Best New Horror anthologies, as well as The Best British Fantasy 2013 and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 10.
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS