Charlotte Riddell (1832-1906)

4 Riddell“I could positively declare my heart did cease beating as I listened, looking out into the night with the shadow of that darkness projecting itself upon my mind” – The Uninhabited House (1875)

Charlotte Riddell (1832-1906)—who often published as “Mrs. J.H. Riddell”—was born in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim. In 1855 she moved to London and began producing numerous popular novels, most of which are now out of print. However, it is for her Christmas ghost stories that she is still widely read. Many of her best ghostly fictions were collected in the landmark volume Weird Stories (1882), while her uncollected tales remain a staple of supernatural anthologies to this day. Though she experienced financial hardships later in life, Riddell was still well-regarded and received a pension from the Royal Literary Fund from 1900 until her passing six years later.

Riddelluninhabited2Novels and Collections

The Uninhabited House (1875)

The Haunted River (1877)

Weird Stories (1882)

Short Stories

“The Banshee’s Warning” (1867)

“A Strange Christmas Game” (1868)

“The Old House in Vauxhall Walk” (1882)

“Walnut-Tree House” (1882)

Find out more about Irish Writers of the Fantastic.


Green Book 09If you’re interested in learning more about Charlotte Riddell, you might like to check out Issue 9 of our journal, The Green Book. In “Hauntings and Haunted: Charlotte Riddell’s Weird Stories”, Mike Barrett gives a wonderful overview of Riddell’s supernatural writings. Supplementing Barrett’s essay is an indispensable checklist of Riddell’s ghostly fiction.

In the same issue, you’ll also find articles about Elizabeth Bowen, Shirley Jackson, Rosa Mulholland, Dorothy Macardle, and Caitlin R. Kiernan.

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Charlotte Riddell (1832-1906)

Irish Writers of the Fantastic

2017-08-05-Irish-Writers-PoA good while back I posted the image of a poster designed by myself and long-time Swan River conspirator Jason Zerrillo. It features a line-up of Ireland’s most recognisable and possibly most influential writers of fantastic literature. I explained the impetus for the poster’s creation in an earlier post.

While I’m pleased with the results, it was not easy choosing who to include and who to leave off. Much as I wanted to indulge in the most obscure and overlooked (Oliver Sherry, anyone?), there is also merit in showcasing the luminaries: a reminder of this island’s contributions to worlds of unbridled imagination.

Ultimately, this poster is meant as a gateway for exploration. So you can imagine my delight when Alison Lyons of Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature agreed to produce copies of the poster to distribute for free around Dublin this autumn. The goal had always been to make this poster available to libraries, schools, bookshops, to anywhere that loves to promote good literature, and to anyone who loves to read it.

To augment this poster, I also wrote a series of capsule biographies and recommended reading for each authors. You can find it over on the Dublin City of Literature website.

And so how do you get a copy of the poster? Easy! Go into any Dublin City Library branch and ask! Better yet, have a browse around for these authors’ books. Librarians will be happy to help!

Irish Writers of the Fantastic

Irish Writers of the Fantastic

Final

I’m sure you’ve seen the ubiquitous “Irish Writers” poster around Dublin. It depicts the usual suspects: Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, et cetera. A while back the Irish Times published a reply to that poster, again entitled “Irish Writers”, but this time featuring only women (as the original featured only men). You can view both posters here.

Despite the strengths of these two posters, I felt there were still a few conspicuously absent faces.

As Swan River Press is Ireland’s only publishing house dedicated to what might broadly be termed “literature of the fantastic”, I felt it up to us to submit our own entry into the cavalcade of Irish literary posters.

As our treat to you this Halloween, I’d like to present Irish Writers of the Fantastic.

The poster was designed to give an overview of these worthy and often overlooked Irish authors. Some you will recognise, others you will not. Some, such as Bram Stoker and Lord Dunsany, have had a profound impact on international literature. Others, like Fitz-James O’Brien and Dorothy Macardle, will be more obscure. But each one is worth discovering or revisiting this Halloween season.

Ultimately I hope you will find something of interest among them. There are both men and women included in our poster. Writers who are world renowned and those who are less well known. There’s horror, fantasy, science fiction, supernatural, satire . . . You’ll find here writers from both the Republic and Northern Ireland, and their contributions to literature span the better part of two centuries.

However, as is the nature of lists, I hope you will disagree with this one. With any luck, you’ll be only too eager to point out someone that deserves to be included, but was not. And I hope you do. And when you do in the comments below, tell us why you think they should be included (and might they bump someone off the list?) Don’t grunt, elucidate! That second part is the most important bit. Because, above all, this poster is meant to get people talking about these writers . . . and then running to the nearest bookshop or library to read their works. In the meantime, Swan River Press will continue to lead the way in their rediscovery.

Anyone with a further interest in Ireland’s contributions to the genre might want to check out our twice-yearly journal The Green Book, which features commentaries, articles, and reviews on Irish gothic, supernatural, and fantastic literature. Until then . . .

Happy Halloween from the Swan River Press!


Some Reading Suggestions from Swan River Press

large_reminiscences1large_gb1Insect Literature

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Irish Writers of the Fantastic