Top 5 Gothic books to read in lockdown

After some Gothic literature to keep you entertained throughout the lockdown and beyond? Fear not, Nicholas Royle has you covered

Nicholas Royle knows a thing or two about Gothic literature.

He is a reader for creative writing at the Manchester Writing School from Manchester Metropolitan University, Senior Judge of the Manchester Fiction Prize and Editor of Salzverlag. Royle also somehow finds the time to run Nightjar PressPublication of original short stories as signed, limited scrapbooks.

Oh, and did we mention he’s the author of seven novels, two short stories, and three volumes of short stories, and published twenty anthologies of short stories?

Here are his top five must-read Gothic books to enjoy during lockdown and beyond.

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Julia and the bazooka by Anna Kavan

As if you were sad you should listen to melancholy music. In Lockdown, reading stories about isolation and unhappiness can be a good idea. Autobiographical stories tell of Kavan’s poor relationship with her parents and husband and her attraction to death-defying racing drivers.


New Terrors II, edited by Ramsey Campbell

One of my favorite horror anthologies because it has great stories from some of my favorite authors including Christopher Priest, Giles Gordon and M John Harrison, and – Bonus Ball – my favorite Stephen King story.

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Pharos of Alice Thompson

King was a fan of this brilliant historical ghost story that feels timeless as it could happen today. It is possible.


Jumping over Tom Fletcher

Fletcher brought out a new novel – Witch Bottle – that I haven’t read yet, but if it’s even half as good as its debut, this horrific Lake District werewolf novel is going to be important read.


The architecture of David Lynch by Richard Martin

Usually when I am examining abstract prose from a doctoral thesis I find a Gothic nightmare in itself, but the subject here couldn’t be closer to the damp chambers of my heart. Reading this is like watching Lynch’s films again with someone who loves them as much as I do and who keeps whispering fascinating observations about his sets and rooms in my ear.

London Gothic by Nicholas Royle is out now (Cōnfingō Publishing, £ 12.99)

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