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Authors Guild Remembers Master Horror and Supernatural Writer Peter Straub

We mourn the loss of our friend and fellow author Peter Straub, who passed away on Sunday, September 4, at the age of 79.

Before he became known as a master of literary horror, Straub began his career as a poet. Forays into gothic fiction followed, and his early novels such as Julia, Ghost Story, Shadowland, and Floating Dragon cemented his place among the greats of horror and fantasy. The Talisman, cowritten with Stephen King and released in 1984, earned the World Fantasy Award and the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. In 2001, Straub and King collaborated on Black House, a celebrated sequel.

Across subjects that ranged from psychological to the supernatural, Straub imbued his tales with a remarkable degree of humanity that made the horror all the more frightening. His body of work can be read as commentary on the power of storytelling to confront the traumas of real life. The near-death experience of being hit by a car in first grade caused him to suffer from nightmares for more than 30 years until he began to write horror stories.

In a 2009 interview with NPR’s Weekend Edition, Straub said that scary stories can do more than just give people the shivers. “In America, we don’t like darkness, really,” he said, “but there is an immense quantity to be learned there, and we all experience it in our lives.”

Straub was a perennial nominee for the Horror Writers Association’s coveted Bram Stoker Award, winning it eleven times, most recently in 2011 for The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine. Other Stoker Award-winning novels and story collections include The Throat; The Hellfire Club; Mr. X; Lost Boy Lost Girl; In the Night Room; Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff, Magic Terror; and A Dark Matter. He also won the British Fantasy Award for Floating Dragon. Other honors include the World Fantasy Convention Lifetime Achievement Award, Poets & Writers’ Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award, the International Horror Guild’s Living Legend Award, and the Horror Writers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Straub joined the Authors Guild in 1977 and served on the board of the Authors Guild Foundation from 2011 to 2016.

The Authors Guild sends our deepest condolences to Straub’s family and friends, including his wife Susan, his son Benjamin, and his daughter, the novelist Emma Straub, who is also a member of the Authors Guild.