WiHM 2023: The Best Horror Books Written by Women: A List of Must-Read Titles

The Best Horror Books Written by Women: A List of Must-Read Titles

by: Kaaron Warren 


I have a running list in my head and on my bookshelves of must-read (and re-read) horror books. Not all of them are by women, but many are, and for Women in Horror Month, I’ve jotted down just some of the books that have impressed, horrified, delighted, and influenced me.


Horror lends itself to short fiction. The terrifying image, the unbearable ending, the twist you didn’t guess; all of these are served well by short fiction. The novella also works well because you can explore further themes in a slightly longer piece, and add some layering to your plot and to your characters.

The horror novel is harder to pull off. You can’t rely on gimmicks if it is going to be good. So to impress the reader at this length is quite something.

These women all totally win the horror game. I’ve chosen one title for each author, but I recommend you seek out everything from them.



Lisa Tuttle Stranger in the House

Livia Llewellyn Furnace 

Celia Fremlin By Horror Haunted 

Lynda Rucker The Moon Will look Strange 

Chesya Burke Let’s Play White

R.J. Joseph Hell Hath No Sorrow Like a Woman Haunted

Patricia Highsmith Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes

Angela Slatter The Heart is a Mirror for Sinners



Lisa Morton The Talking Board

Elizabeth Hand Wylding Hall

Gemma Amor Dear Laura

Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper




Lucy A Snyder Sister Maiden Monster

Kate Maruyama Family Solstice

Kirstyn McDermott Madigan Mine

Daphne du Maurier Rebecca

Sarah Read Bone Weaver’s Orchard

Mary Shelley Frankenstein

Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House

Sarah Langan Good Neighbours

Gemma Files Experimental Film

Sarah Pinborough The Death House

Damian Angelica Walters The Dead Girls Club

Alison Littlewood The Unquiet House

Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine A Dark Adapted Eye 

Alma Katsu The Fervor

Catriona Ward The Last House on Needless Street

JS Breukelaar The Bridge

Karen Runge Doll Crimes

Maria Alexander Mr Whicker

Lauren Oliver Rooms

Agatha Christie Sleeping Murder

Toni Morrison Beloved

Kathe Koja The Cipher

Kathy Acker Blood and Guts in High School

Cynthia Pelayo Children of Chicago


You may also like...