Book: 160 Black Women in Horror
Author: Sumiko Saulson
Publisher: Iconoclast Productions
Why You Should Read It
Excellent compilation of renowned Black women in the horror and SFF genres throughout history until present day.
Why I Liked It
About every other week or so I run across posts on social media asking questions like “where can I find horror books written by women?” or “where can I find books written by (XYZ) marginalized authors”? Often these posts are more prevalent around months meant to highlight and lift up women/marginalized authors, and while their intentions are good, the truth is, we should all be reading widely throughout the year.
Another truth is that even with the hard work of dedicated readers and horror enthusiasts, Black women and marginalized authors in the horror and SFF genres tend to be more overlooked and underrepresented than their non-marginalized peers. Black women have been storytellers since the beginning of time, but it’s no secret that their voices have been suppressed and their stories erased from history. It is still considerably harder for certain authors to find representation in publishing, but their stories need and deserve to be told and given a platform.
That’s why when I heard about Sumiko Saulson’s book 160 Black Women in Horror, I knew that I needed to add it to my horror non-fiction and reference personal library.
One part who’s who/yearbook, one part reference guide, 160 Black Women in Horror spans throughout history reaching back as far as the year 1900 all the way to today. Most authors' profiles include a photo as well as information about their publications, some of their personal information and where you can purchase or read their works. Included are many notable names that I was already familiar with from literary horror and SFF like Zora Neal Hurston, Octavia Butler and Tananrive Due. One of the most interesting entries was the profile of Paulina E. Hopkins, a renaissance-era author from Harlem who is thought to have had the first published African American mystery story.
I was also pleased to see many contemporary Black horror authors featured who’s works I’ve already enjoyed including Paula D. Ashe, RJ Joseph, Candace Nola and Donyae Coles, as well as others who are still on my TBR like Nuzo Onoh, Tamika Thompson and Zin E. Rocklyn. There are also touching tributes to authors who are no longer with us in the back, so that readers can discover talented and underrepresented authors we may not have otherwise heard of. All-in-all, I’m pleased to have a collected working list of authors that I can reference when I’m looking for something new to read. Be sure to check out 160 Black Women in Horror the next time you're looking to find a spooky new read!