Author of the Week, Shirley Jackson, June 13


Shirley Jackson

(Mysteries, Supernatural, Gothic Horror, “Quiet Horror”)

“In the country of the story the writer is king.”

“I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it, and make it work, and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.”

“I began writing stories about my children because, more than any other single being in the world, children possess and kind of magic that makes much of what they do so oddly logical and yet so incredible to grown-ups.”

Shirley Jackson is American novelist and short story writer.  The Lottery is her most famous short story but most of us admire her novel The Haunting of Hill House. She wrote six novels, two memoirs, and more than 200 short stories. The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle established her as a master of gothic horror and psychological suspense.

Listen to Shirley Jackson read her short stories,

The Lottery and The Daemon Lover:


The writing of Hangsaman, Shirley Jackson’s second novel, has inspired one of the most anticipated films of  2020. Shirley, won awards at Sundance Festival in January, is a psychological thriller that reflects on writing, womanhood and what it means to be a wife in 1950s America. Elisabeth Moss plays Jackson.

The film opens with a shot of the infamous short story The Lottery in The New Yorker. In actuality, Jackson started writing Hangsaman in 1950. The film focused on when Jackson was living in Bennington, Vermont, before she moved to Westport, Connecticut.


Hangsaman’s narrative structure descends into a shapeshifting ambiguity that left some critics at the time rather confused. But this is where Shirley really comes into its own in illustrating Jackson’s potential thought process behind the novel. “So what will become of your heroine?” asks Hyman, to which Jackson replies: “What happens to all lost girls: they go mad.”

Watch the trailer:

(Classic “Quiet Horror”)


Library of American interviews Joyce Carole Oates about Shirley Jackson (6 pages:

Click to access LOA_Oates_on_Jackson.pdf


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Filed under Author of the Week, book bloggers, Book Reviews, classic horror stories, dark fantasy, dark literature, fiction, fiction bloggers, free short stories online, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Ghosts, Gothic fiction, Gothic Horror, haunted houses, haunted mind, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, mysteries, paranormal, psychological horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, Reading Fiction Blog, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural, supernatural fiction, supernatural mysteries, supernatural tales, supernatural thrillers, tales of terror, Women In Horror, women writers

2 responses to “Author of the Week, Shirley Jackson, June 13

  1. I loved the film Shirley. I’m so glad I read her biography by Ruth Franklin ahead of time so I could follow the story better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Priscilla, you make a good point. When I watched the film, I was just a little muddled, not knowing the full background. A great performance by Elizabeth Moss. I liked the film a lot though. A great suggestion to read the biography. What a fascinating writer Jackson is. I am curious to read The Bird’s Nest for its multiple personality mystery. Jackson’s greatest skill is her characters’ psychological dramas. I am rereading the Haunting of Hill House and appreciating it so much more a second time.

      Liked by 1 person

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