Tonight’s Read: A World of Horror, An Anthology of Dark & Speculative Fiction from Around the World, ed. by Eric J. Guignard, 2017 (Intro + TOC + Links)

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Praise for A World of Horror

“Guignard’s editorial prowess is evident throughout; he has selected works that are as shocking as they are thought-provoking. This breath of fresh air for horror readers shows the limitless possibilities of the genre.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A fresh collection of horror authors exploring monsters and myths from their homelands.” —Library Journal

“A cultural tour in the sacred art of horror—definitive proof that ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and more are equally terrifying in every corner of the world.” —Fanbase Press

“This is the book we need right now! Fresh voices from all over the world, bringing American audiences new ways to feel the fear. Horror is a universal genre and for too long we have only experienced one western version of it. No more. Get ready to experience a whole new world of terror.” —Becky Spratford; librarian, reviewer, RA for All: Horror


Introduction: Diversity in Fiction

THIS, ANTHOLOGY, A WORLD OF HORROR, MARKS THE SIXTH I have edited (fifth published, with another forthcoming). Most of those books involved quite a bit of “slush reading,” meaning thousands of submissions coming in from hopeful authors around the world that I would evaluate and discard or accept. Although when I say “around the world,” what I mean is that roughly 95% of the submissions came from the same geographic areas of predominantly-speaking English nations (North America, England, and Australia) with a few outliers from elsewhere. It makes sense: I’m posting for stories in English, offering to print in English, and so English-speaking writers respond.

Yet at the same time, I also despair of reading the “stock voice,” meaning similar stories of plot structure, similar characters and situations, similar belief systems, similar fears; by no means does that imply what I’m reading is “bad,” but just that sameness leads to apathy of literature.

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In general, I think there’s a lack of cultural diversity in horror fiction, and I also think that’s something audiences want to see changed . . . at least I think that based on my own perspective: I love reading stories from authors around the world, because I love stories. I love fresh voices, unique ideas, I love discovering lesser-known monsters or fables, I love reading about history and civilizations and other peoples’ perceptions and conventions. And, while I think all this, I realize I’m part of the problem. Because of what came in via slush submissions on my prior projects, I didn’t look beyond, and I ended up publishing and promoting that very sameness of English-speaking authors who are all generally white, educated, and economically advantaged, and who, really, make up only a small percentage of the global population. Truly, there’s no shortage of tales to be shared from the rest of the world, but not everyone has the opportunity.

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A Poem a Day—#1: “The Dream of a Common Language” by Leigh Stein

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The Dream of a Common Language

after Adrienne Rich

On Wednesdays I take the train past Yankee Stadium,
to a place where it is never a given that I speak the language,
to a place where graffiti covers the mural they painted to hide
the graffiti, to a place where the children call me Miss Miss
Miss Miss Miss
and I find in one of their poems, a self-portrait,
the line I wish I was rish. The dream of a common language

is the language of one million dollars, of basketball, of plátanos.
Are the kids black? my boyfriend wants to know. Dominican.
It’s different. When asked to write down a question
they wish they could ask their mom or dad, one boy writes,
Paper or plastic? A girl in the back of the class wants to know
Why don’t I have lycene, translating the sound of the color

of my skin into her own language. The best poet
in sixth grade is the girl who is this year repeating
sixth grade. When I tell her teacher of her talent
she says, At least now we know she’s good
at something
. To speak their language, I study
the attendance list, practice the cadence of their names.

Yesterday I presented a black and white portrait of a black man,
his bald head turned away from us, a spotted moth resting
on one shoulder. I told them this is a man serving a life
sentence in Louisiana. Is this art? Without hesitation,
one girl said no, why would anybody
want to take a picture
of that.

—Leigh Stein

from Poem-a-Day, 365 Poems for Every Occasion, Abrams Image, 2015


Leigh Stein is the author of the poetry collection Dispatch from the Future (Melville House, 2012). She lives in Brooklyn and teaches poetry in New York City’s public schools. She has also written a memoir: Land of Enchantment; and a novel: The Fallback Plan. Stein is co-founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit literary organization Out of the Binders. For her advocacy work, she has been called a “leading feminist” by the Washington Post, and a “woman of influence” by New York Business Journal.

From The Phantom Ship by Frederick Marryat, with Art by H. R. Millar, 1896

The Phantom Ship ... Illustrated by H. R. Millar. With an introd

From Una and the Red Cross Knight & Other Tales from Spenser’s Faery Queene, 1905

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From The Adventures of Prince Prigio and His Son, Prince Ricardo by Andrew Lang, 1900

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