A long time ago, I once posed the issue to the genre whether or not we, as black writers, would be better off trying to break into the largely ignored black (audience) market rather than concentrate on being well known in the horror community. Maybe the debate isn’t limited to whether or not black writers, as opposed to all of us horror writers, should pigeon-hole ourselves into the relatively small horror buying market that barely seems to keep the small presses afloat. After all, isn’t the point to reach as large an audience as possible? What is a black thing is the issue may be more important for us since we as black writers, we as a black audience, and our stories are largely ignored in the genre.

So I thought why bother with more of my ramblings on the topic. Why not get some of my friends to talk about what they think? The joke has been that there are enough of us (black horror writers) now that we can actually do panels on the topic. From established pros like Tananarive Due to hot up an comers like Andre Duza, I think we are riding the first wave of black horror authors. Enjoy the pressure folks, because we are the experiment, the pioneers, in a lot of ways. Pioneers to not having a conversation about being black horror writers as opposed to being horror writers.

In the mean time, quick, name five black horror writers.

I’ll wait.

Nevermind, I’ll introduce you to a few:

Brandon Massey is the author of several novels, a collection of short stories, and editor of the DARK DREAMS series. He lives with his wife near Atlanta. He just published a new novel, THE OTHER BROTHER, so look for that one in stores. Next up is a short novel, entitled VICIOUS, that he is publishing independently in October.

Wrath James White. “I’ve been toiling away in this damnable genre for the past six years though I’ve technically been writing horror since the eighties. I just didn’t start publishing until ’99. I’ve published one novel, Succulent Prey (2005 from Bloodletting Press), two novellas Teratologist co-written with Ed Lee (2002 from Medium Rare Books) and Poisoning Eros co-written with Monica O’Rourke (2003 from 3F Publications). I’m trying to find a publisher for my new novel Yaccub about a kid growing up on the streets of Philadelphia who gets involved in drug violence and a cosmic battle between God and a demonic drug dealer created by an evil geneticist thousands of years ago. This book deals heavily with issues of race, poverty, crime and religion. I don’t expect it to be an easy sell to a publisher, but I’ve gotten some great feedback on it from a few well-respected authors. It has been said that it’s the best thing I’ve written so far. It would be tragic if it was never published. I’m confident that when it is published, if it is marketed right, it would be a huge success. You never know with these things though.”

Lawana Holland-Moore‘s historically-based short stories have been featured in all three Dark Dreams anthologies. She’s still plugging away on her novel.

Michelle Mellon just finished a screenplay as part of an application for a fellowship program. She won’t hear about that till the end of the year, so she’s back to work on her short story collection and submitting stories outside of the collection to get her name out there.

Chesya Burke has been writing professionally for several years. Her work has appeared in The African American National Biography, published by Harvard University and Oxford University Press, and in a variety of distinguished magazines and anthologies, such as Dark Dreams: Stories of Horror and Suspense by Black Writers, I, II and III, Would That It Were, The Best of Horrorfind and many more. Chesya received the 2003 Twilight Tales Award for fiction and an honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction: 18th Annual Edition.

Linda Addison: “I am the oldest of nine children, grew up in Philadelphia where I graduated from Germantown High School (I wrote an essay and won a scholarship in my junior year from the World Youth Forum to travel to Western Europe for two months). I graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a B.S. in Mathematics and have lived in New York since 1975. I’m a founding member of a writers group, CITH (Circles In The Hair), since 1990. My poetry collection, Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes, received the HWA Bram Stoker award.” She’s currently working on my next poetry collection, “Being Full of Light, Insubstantial”, (Space & Time) for 2007.

L. R. Giles is a Virginia native whose work has appeared in DARK DREAMS and VOICES FROM THE OTHER SIDE: DARK DREAMS II. His serial novella NECROMANCE was featured at www.awarenessmagazine.net and his full-length novel THE DARKNESS KEPT is currently seeking a home. He’s working on a novel called SEE/SAW.

Writing as L.A. Banks, the University of Penn and Temple University Film School grad is the author of several BET romance novels and the hit Soul Food book series based upon the popular Soul Food TV show by Paramount/Showtime. Banks has just made history as the first African-American female author to develop a vampire series. This four-book series is the first vampire huntress series with a multi-ethnic, multi-religion cast of characters anywhere in print developed by an African American editor and author. There are only two other African-American horror writers in the U.S. and both have positively endorsed Bank’s book. Upcoming projects include Scarface 2, books 10, 11, 12, in the Vampire Huntress series, werewolves… more crime…

I’ll be spending the week picking their brains.

The Black Horror Writers Round-Table Discussion Guide:

Black Horror Writers I – A Little Help from My Friends
Black Horror Writers II – Defining Ourselves
Black Horror Writers III – The Black Market?
Black Horror Writers IV – What We Do
Black Horror Writers V – Black Characters
Black Horror Writers VI – The “N” Word and Other Obstacles

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