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  • A.E. Santana

WiHM + Black History Month horror recommendations

In recent years, I have been pleased to see that February is being celebrated in honor of Black History and Women in Horror more so than the holiday-card version of love and romance. As a child, it seemed that cupids, hearts, flowers, and chocolate dominated the time between New Years Day and St. Patrick's Day; now I see amazing academic articles on Black American history and awesome promotions for women of all color and cultures who contribute to the horror genre.

Bridging Women in Horror and Black History Month together helps to curate a fantastic, long list of poetry, film, literature, and other horror media by Black women. As a testament to that, here are three of my favorite short horror story collections by Black women authors.

Let's Play White by Chesya Burke

This collection of eleven stories winds through themes of race, privilege, societal constructs, the choices we make, and the situations that are forced upon us. The stories creep between the real world and a realm of horrific supernatural, a place where the characters find themselves slipping between the cracks of an uncaring society.

My very favorite stories:

"Walter and the Three-Legged King"—Struggling to survive day to day, Walter considers taking advice from an unlikely source.

"Purse"—Manyara Ashu will hold on to what's most important to her, no matter what.

"CUE: Change"—A zombie apocalypse forces survivors to rethink their stance on assimilation.

Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson

Winner of the 2002 World Fantasy Award for Best Story Collection, Skin Folk blends reality, fantasy, horror, and science fiction together for a brilliant collection. A majority of Hopkinson's stories lift from her Caribbean roots and, like folk and fairy stories do, punctuate lessons or morals for those willing to see them.

My very favorite stories:

"Fisherman"—A tale of discovery and identity.

"A Habit of Waste"—After trading her body in for a different one, a young woman befriends a thoughtful and strategic older gentlemen.

"Greedy Choke Puppy"—An old woman and her granddaughter deal with a soucouyant.

Ghost Summer by Tananarive Due

In this collection of fifteen stories by award-winning author Tananarive Due, the reader spirals through horror, science fiction, and fantasy hitting a variety of themes, including family, survival, racism, and grief. In each of her stories, Due creates a haunting realm where the human experience is highlighted by what we are willing to do and not do for each other—and, most horrifically, to each other.

My very favorite stories:

"The Lake"—A teacher convinces a couple of high school boys to go for a swim with her.

"Like Daughter"—Paige has always carried the burdens of her delicate friend Denise, but is she willing to do so for Denise's clone?

"Herd Immunity"—Nayima is immune to the zombie virus and hopes she isn't the only one.

What are some of your favorite horror novels, anthologies, short stories, novellas, poetry by Black women?


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