Introducing Poppy Z. Brite

His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood by Poppy Z. BriteWith Halloween only days away and an unfortunate excess of literary deaths already experienced in 2013, this feels like the perfect time to introduce a long-standing horror writer I’ve only recently had the pleasure of encountering.

I discovered the vivid, grotesque, sensuous writing of Poppy Z. Brite via a Penguin 60s picked up in my local Oxfam bookshop. This miniature book was too intriguing not to take home.

His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood and Other Stories comprises four extraordinary tales that are now seared into my brain. At once utterly insidiously delectable and hideously repulsive, they offer up visions in which rotten corpses rise from floodwater sodden graves, and statues of goddess lure you to enter “a gash in the universe” that is  “rimmed in blood and ash.”

There’s so much beauty intertwined with the horror of these tales, so much opulence among the shit and gore, that you emerge entranced and disgusted, and disconcertingly hungry for more.

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Learn to battle zombies

Zombie Science lectureWhat would you do if a zombie epidemic struck your home town? How would you keep yourself and your loved ones from joining the shambling, infected masses?

Not sure (other that hiding in the wardrobe and hoping for the best)? Me neither. Fortunately, World renowned Theoretical Zombiologist Doctor Austin is premiering his Zombie Science: Brain of the Dead lecture at the London Horror Festival this October.

Taking place at The Etcetera Theatre, Camden High Street on 28 and 29 October 2013, the night includes interactive demonstrations and multi-media presentations designed to teach you everything you need to make it through a zombie attack.

Doctor Austin Zombie lecturer“You won’t survive a Zombie outbreak if you don’t know your science”, explains Doctor Austin, “A real Zombie might have a compulsion to continually eat, but they would eat anything, not just human flesh and brains. Hollywood has propagated serious misinformation about Zombies, just to sell tickets. I’m here to tell the truth. And sell tickets.”

He adds: “For the new lecture, Zombie Science: Brain of the Dead, our aim is to provide an insight into the human brain. The human brain is one of the most complex and mysterious things in the universe. We know so much about it, and at the same time so little.”

Brain of the Dead is the third show in the Zombie Science series, which has attracted audiences of over 30,000 at more than 400 lectures across the UK and Ireland. As no audience members have yet fallen foul of a zombie attack, it seems to be a resounding success too. Can you really risk not attending?

Book tickets online at For more details about the lecture series, visit

Face your zombie fears

Zombies_Asylum_cr_SlingshotThe folks behind 2.8 Hours Later are spawning a new stream of zombie experiences with their new venture, Asylum, and it may just be the perfect pre-Halloween writing fuel.

In case you’ve missed this phenomenon (or, quite rightly, been too busy hiding behind your sofa to partake), the zombie infestation fiesta launched in Bristol in 2010, attacking 200 participants eager to immerse themselves in dread and gore, and wearing orange armbands to differentiate themselves from innocent passerbys.

The event has since spread to Edinburgh and London, and is now mutating into a brand new version – Asylum. Continue reading

How to write horror

AJ Kirby, author of the horror novels Sharkways, Paint This Town Red and Bully, among others, invites us into the dark world of horror writing.

Artwork cr Louise Boulter

Artwork © Louise Boulter

My name is Andy Kirby and I am a horror writer. And I suppose you could say that I have a habit: I’ve written around ten published horror short stories and several horror novels, including Bully and Paint This Town Red. Continue reading