Pride Month 2023 is now in the rearview mirror, which means that for the rest of the year, you probably won’t be seeing too many articles that spotlight LGBTQ+ authors. In the same way that female authors tend to get the most spotlight during Women in Horror Month, queer authors usually only get a lot of features during June.
Obviously, it doesn’t have to be this way; we could—and should!—be celebrating diverse fiction year-round. Sure, it’s a blast to celebrate horror during Pride Month and Women in Horror Month, but we all should be doing a little bit more to ensure that we don’t lose sight of the wide array of incredible authors who are writing today.
So let’s just say this loud and clear, even though we’re not in Pride Month: queer women in horror are creating some of the most vibrant and interesting work in the genre today. To celebrate their inimitable contributions, here are four incredible authors who are both female and queer—and who just so happen to be writing some of the best fiction out there.
And since we’re celebrating a group of writers who don’t normally get their due, let’s focus on a medium that also doesn’t get the credit that it deserves: the fabulous but underrated novella. Rest assured, this quartet of novellas will keep you up at night—and maybe even break your heart in the process.
Here are four horror novellas by queer women.
If you’re a fan of rock music—and in particular stories that focus on scrappy bands trying to make their way in the world—then Sleep Alone is for you. And if you love a good succubus tale, then I can all but guarantee you’re going to adore this incredibly inventive take on an underdog band whose members just happen to be a very special kind of monster.
I was fortunate enough to blurb an early ARC of this book, and all I can say is seriously wow. J.A.W. McCarthy’s style is unlike any other author, and her work draws you in and keeps you entranced until the very end. Needless to say, I adore this novella, and I am very confident you will too. Add this one to your reading list as soon as possible!
If she isn’t already, Angela Sylvaine is a name that needs to be on your horror radar. Her voice is utterly unique, and her stories always take you in directions you never see coming. And if you’re looking for a place to start with her work, look no further than Frost Bite.
As this one clocks in at a little over 250 pages, it might technically be a novel. However, with its brisk pace, it feels like a novella, and since I want to sing its praises before its October release, let’s include it on this list, shall we? Set in the 1990s, this fantastic book even comes with its own featured playlist. A horror novella written by a queer author, and one that’s interactive, too? You know you want to add it to your TBR, and I highly recommend that you do exactly that.
House of Pungsu
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: K.P. Kulski is one incredible writer. Every chance I get, I recommend her work to horror readers. She’s the real deal, and this novella is just further proof of why she’s among the most vital voices in the genre today.
Based on a Korean folktale, this beautiful and haunting tale focuses on the relationship between three generations of women and the things that haunt their lives, both within their home and beyond it. This novella might only clock in at 86 pages, but its impact will linger with you far beyond the final pages. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Shagging the Boss
Rebecca Rowland is both an author and editor extraordinaire, and she’s crafting some of the best horror books on the market today. Her anthology from Dark Ink, Unburied: A Collection of Queer Dark Fiction, brought together an amazing table of contents of queer authors back in 2021, to much acclaim. Her most recent anthology, American Cannibal, has been making the rounds, and while not exclusively queer, it also features numerous LGBTQ+ authors (including myself).
But if you’re looking specifically for a novella, then I can unreservedly recommend her 2022 book, Shagging the Boss. A recent college grad accepts what appears to be the opportunity of a lifetime, only to realize too late that her new boss might just be the boogeyman incarnate. This is one exceptional and unforgettable horror novella, so run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy today.
Featured photo: Yuri Efremov / Unsplash