African-American Writers of Gothic Literature

February is Black History Month, which we observe in the U.S. by celebrating the lives and achievements of African-Americans throughout the country’s history. In this vein, I wanted to highlight some of the black writers—particularly female writers—who have made significant contributions to the Gothic genre. The Gothic is generally regarded as a Eurocentric genre, created by upper class Englishmen in their extravagant estates and adopted by those who wished to imitate them. But like any good genre, the Gothic is adaptive. Its elements have been co-opted by American writers of urban horror, such as Edgar Allan Poe, and transformed into the unique subgenre of Southern Gothic by the country’s more rural authors. It is no surprise, then, that the black literary community has embraced the Gothic as well, though usually in forms less immediately recognizable than your typical tales of women in nightgowns fleeing from monsters in a castle. Read on for a list of prominent black authors who have incorporated the Gothic into their works. Continue reading African-American Writers of Gothic Literature

Shadowshaper Review–Representation in Urban Fantasy

Shadowshaper coverThe murals are weeping. This is the first thing that tips Sierra off that something strange is going on in her Brooklyn neighborhood in Daniel José Older’s fantastic urban fantasy Shadowshaper. I’d been meaning to read this book since I first heard Older speak on a panel at Book Expo America last summer and its gorgeous cover kept staring at me from large, blown-up posters. I finally got a chance to listen to the audiobook, read by Anika Noni Rose, which I highly recommend! Continue reading Shadowshaper Review–Representation in Urban Fantasy