The HWA has designated February their Women in Horror Month, which is an excellent idea. We also just completed a Sexism in Horror Roundtable over at the HWA, which further opened my eyes to something I hadn’t realized but now want to do something about.
I’ve read a hell of lot of short stories written by female writers, but only a handful of novels. Over all my years of reading, to have only read so few books written by female writers is appalling. But it wasn’t intentional, and it sure as shit wasn’t because I’m a sexist prick. I just don’t think about the sex of the author, to tell the truth. If the book looks and sounds good, I’ll read it. Half of the time, I don’t know if an author is male or female, and I don’t care (heck, for a long time, I thought Kim Newman was a female!). Yet somehow, I’ve always navigated towards male writers.
It’s odd, because the novels I have read by female writers have all been damn good (eg, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, The Missing by Sarah Langan, The Infernal by Kim Wilkins, Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott, Slights by Kaaron Warren, Retribution by Jilliane Hoffman, Birdman by Mo Hayder, Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite, Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs)
So I’m designating 2014 as my year of righting the imbalance. Last year, I set myself a short story challenge to read 200 short stories during the year, which I managed. This year, 2014, I’m going to read novels by female horror writers. I already have quite a list to work through, but if you want to recommend any particular book, please do.
Right then, to the bookshop!