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Whether you are a huge fan of horror or are ready to dip your toes into the world of horror, the Summer Scares list is an excellent way to experience the incredible depths of these books. This year’s list of Summer Scares 2021 winners is particularly exciting as it was open to both international and US writers given the reality of the pandemic and virtual connectivity.

In celebration of National Library Lover’s Day, the Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot and Booklist, is pleased to announce the third annual Summer Scares Reading List, which includes titles selected by a group of authors have been and librarians and is designed to promote horror as a great reading option for all ages in all seasons.

Each year three titles are selected in the categories “Adult”, “Young Adult” and “Middle Class”. For 2021 these are:

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The hunger of Alma Katsu [G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018]

Kathe Koja’s cipher [originally published 1991 by Dell but reissued Meerkat Press, 2020]

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, translator Jonathan Wright [Penguin Books, 2018]

Young adult

Cherie Dimaline’s marrow thieves [Dancing Cat Books, 2017]

The fortune tellers of Libba Bray [Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012]

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson [Razorbill, 2018]

Middle class

Ollie’s Odyssey by William Joyce [Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2015]

Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi [Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2017]

Fearsome creatures made of wood by Hal Johnson [Workman, 2015]

The aim of the Summer Scares program is to introduce school and library staff to horror titles to help them start conversations with readers that go beyond the books on each list and encourage reading for years to come. In addition to the annual list of recommended titles for readers of all ages, the Summer Scares Committee will also publish thematic lists of even more “readable” titles that libraries can use in suggesting books to readers this summer and year round. And to help libraries create closer links between books and readers, the Summer Scares Committee will work with both recommended list authors and horror authors from across the country to provide free programming to libraries. From writer visits (both in person and virtual) to book discussions and horror events, Summer Scares focuses on connecting horror creators with libraries and readers all year round.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, Summer Scares programming will be virtual in 2021 and will take place in conjunction with the Horror Writers Association’s annual StokerCon event (May 20-23, 2021). Authors and committee members will attend live and recorded sessions. Writers and committee members will be available virtually to libraries and schools year-round to promote the Summer Scares program and discuss the use of horror fiction as a tool to increase readership and promote the love of reading.

The Summer Scares program committee consists of bestselling author Silvia Morena-Garcia (Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Certain Dark Things, Untamed Coast), Becky Spratford (Library Advisor, Author of the Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror, 2nd ed .), Konrad Stump (local history associate for the Springfield-Green County Library and creator of the library’s popular “Oh, the Horror!” Series), Carolyn Ciesla (library director, academic dean, book critic), Julia Smith (senior editor at Booklist.) )), Kelly Jensen (Editor, Book Riot, author of [Don’t] Call me crazy: 33 voices start the conversation on mental health) and JG Faherty (program director of the HWA library, author of Sins of the Father, The Cure and Ghosts of Coronado Bay).

“The Summer Scares Programming Guide is back and full of ideas for library staff to engage their communities with these great titles, whether they’re planning book launches, hosting authoring events, or planning an entire Summer Scares series of programs,” said Konrad Stump, co-creator of the Programming manual. “It also shows the unique circumstances of programming during a pandemic.”

The HWA is a non-profit organization of writers and publishers and the oldest organization dedicated to the horror / dark fiction genre. One of the responsibilities of the HWA is to promote the appreciation of reading through extensive programs and partnerships with libraries, schools and organizations based on literacy.

For more information on the Summer Scares reading program, including how to get promotional materials and how to schedule events with the authors / committee members, visit the HWA Libraries website (, Becky Spratford’s Reader’s Advisory Horror Blog RA for Everyone: Horror or the Book Riot, Booklist or United for Libraries and Social Media websites.

You can also contact JG Faherty, Program Director of the HWA Library (Libraries) [at] Horror [dot] org), Becky Spratford or HWA secretary (bspratford [at] hot mail [dot] com) for more information and Konrad Stump (konrads[at]the library[dot]org for content programming and assistance.