Horror Homeroom Special Issue #8: Horror Literature

deadline for submissions: 
January 23, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Horror Homeroom
contact email: 

Horror literature’s resurgence in recent years has yielded huge results for the genre - not only a proliferation of new and diverse horror fictions but also an interest in reclaiming critically dismissed titles of the past. Whether disdained as pulpy trash or ignored for appealing to youth demographics, a large swathe of pre-2000s horror literature has frequently been deemed unworthy of critical analysis. But with developments that include the publication of Grady Hendrix’s popular Paperbacks from Hell, increasing numbers of film adaptations of horror youth literature, and decreasing rigidity between what constitutes high and low culture, titles that have long skirted the horror literature canon are increasingly being taken seriously as cultural documents speaking to societal norms and taboos as well as significant artistic works in their own right.

For this special issue on horror fiction, we invite submissions that critically reassess historically disregarded horror literature titles or that take up the works of new horror writers. We want to distinguish horror fiction from its more highbrow cousin, the gothic - and we are interested in horror. We do welcome, though, essays that self-consciously take up the critical difference between horror and the gothic. 

Emerging and advanced scholars, popular writers, and fans are invited to submit abstracts on any aspect of the sub-genre. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Reclamation efforts and broadening the horror lit canon

  • Paperbacks from Hell: https://www.valancourtbooks.com/paperbacksfromhell.html

  • Impact of Valancourt Books reissue efforts -  https://www.valancourtbooks.com/our-history.html - including their extensive list of horror translations

  • Mainstream vs independent horror fiction publishing

  • YA horror literature

  • Horror fiction as the site for performance and identity

  • Tension between horror literature that is intentionally ‘low-brow’ vs. ‘prestige’ horror

  • Horror fiction by historically underrepresented groups - and the emergence of, for instance, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and LGBTQ horror fiction

  • Influence of social media and booktube in recovering forgotten titles

  • Sub-genre crossovers

  • Fiction that engages with slasher film conventions

  • Horror fiction as a reflection of changing societal taboos

  • Studies of important horror writers - past and present

  • Adaptations of horror fiction for film and television

Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words along with a brief bio to Elizabeth Erwin (ele210@lehigh.edu) and Dawn Keetley (dek7@lehigh.edu) by January 16, 2023. We will select essays to include in the special issue within three weeks and notify everyone who submitted an abstract. Completed essays, which will be limited to 2,500 words, will be due by April 15, 2023, and should be written for a general audience. We welcome all questions and inquiries!