Horror writer Campbell has more than scary stories

Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:32pm EDT
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By Martin Roberts

GIJON, Spain (Reuters Life!) - Simply scaring his readers is not enough for horror fiction writer Ramsey Campbell -- he wants to make them think too.

Described by the Oxford Companion to English Literature as "Britain's most respected living horror writer," Campbell has star billing at the Semana Negra book fair this week in Spain, which draws a million visitors each year.

"I'm trying to make you look again at things you've taken for granted," Campbell said. "I don't think horror fiction requires an abandonment of rationality."

Campbell has won a string of British Fantasy Awards for Best Novel in half a century of writing which began by paying homage to renowned U.S. horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, from whom he still draws inspiration.

"What I think he was trying to convey was a sense of alienness of the universe ... and how, if there are forces which are inhuman out there, they will either be utterly uninterested in us or will do away with us by accident."


Campbell began reading horror fiction at six and writing it when he was 11 to escape from life with a father who refused to speak to or see him, although they lived under the same roof, and an undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic for a mother.

"My childhood was a place of horror," the Liverpudlian writer said. "The fiction I read was what saved me. My imagination was somewhere I could go."   Continued...

<p>British writer Ramsey Campbell poses during the XXIV Semana Negra (Black Week) book fair in the northern Spanish town of Gijon July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso</p>