Critics of the horror story have frequently called Clive Barker the "British Stephen King". Born in Liverpool in 1952, Barker attended the University of Liverpool but moved to London in 1977, where he worked as a commercial artist and became involved with the avant-garde theatrical community. Primarily a playwright during this period, he also produced short fiction that he would eventually publish as part of his six-volume collection titled Books of Blood (1984-85). More than any other author of contemporary horror fiction, Barker has had a major impact on the direction of the genre. He has introduced strong elements of sex and graphic violence into his fiction, but these elements are employed with an artistic objective. Barker underscores his work with complex subtextual metaphors and artistic allusions. Preoccupied with the craft of writing and with its effect on the reader, Barker is an innovator of formula and genre, often parodying the former in order to change the philosophical contour of the latter. Barker has achieved commercial success not only with his short fiction but also with his novels, which tend to be epic in scope and to blend elements of horror with those of high fantasy. Barker is one of the more influential voices in horror cinema, having written and directed a number of films.
Ray Bradbury is the author of more than 30 books, including "The Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451". Recipient of a National Book Award for his lasting contribution to American literature, he lives in Los Angeles, California.
Shirley Jackson, a prolific American writer, was born in San Francisco in 1919. Much of her writing was done during the years she was raising her children. She is perhaps best know for the short story "The Lottery" first published in 1948 and adapted for television in 1952 and into play form in 1953. Jackson's published works include articles, nonfiction prose, plays, poetry, two family books, seven novels, and fifty-five short stories. Among her best-known novels are We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House, which was adapted to film. Jackson died in 1965 after years of poor health.