Exploring Black Women In Horror With +Eden Royce #BlackHistoryPlus

Eden Royce's 28 Black Women in Horror History Collection profiles horror authors and succeeds in giving exposure to a demographic that is often overlooked. We spoke with Eden about her series and what inspired her to create it.

Could you tell us a little bit about your background as a writer? Specifically, what got you into writing, and what type of writing do you do?

"I grew up with a culture of oral storytelling. While I’ve written in many genres, speculative fiction—horror, sci-fi, dark fantasy—has the strongest hold on me. Most of my work is Southern Gothic, based in the culture and mores of the South."

Are there any Black writers that inspired you to pursue this? Who are they and what about them or their work inspired you?

"I struggled to find dark fiction books by Black writers when I was growing up, as works tended to get lumped into a general “African-American Interest” category, instead of being grouped into specific genres. But I’ve always loved books by writers like J. California Cooper and Zora Neale Hurston who don’t shy away from using dialect or from portrayals of Blacks in and outside of the poverty narrative. A big inspiration was receiving the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds grant, which made me want to do something more to showcase other women’s voices in dark speculative fiction."

Why did you launch the 28 Days Of Black Women In Horror series?

"During a book signing, I mentioned I was featured in the book 60 Black Women in Horror Writing, and an audience member said, “I didn’t know there were sixty Black women writing horror.” After that I reached out to Ashlee Blackwell, owner of the blog Graveyard Shift Sisters to start a series featuring these women writers. It was her suggestion to have February as a feature month for the women we celebrate all year long—she’s focusing on film and TV, while I’m focusing on literature."

If you could recommend two books (one fiction, and one non-fiction) by Black writers, what would they be, and why?

Fiction: Skin Folk, a collection of short stories by Nalo Hopkins. A blend of rich language and vivid characters, draped in an authentic voice. You feel as though Hopkins is next to you, telling you a story with a message you’d better not miss."

Non-fiction: Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison, which among other things, shows how the African-American presence was essential to the foundation and formation of American literature.

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