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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Spooky tales for Halloween

If you're planning to curl up this Halloween with a good ghost story then here are my top 5 spooky tales (in no particular order):

  • The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore - a novella. A sinister (not-quite-a-love story) set just after WW2, this lingered with me for weeks after reading. Wonderful lyrical writing as always from Helen Dunmore
  • The July Ghost by A S Byatt - a short story (I found it in The Penguin Book of Modern Women's Short Stories edited by Susan Hill, an excellent anthology). A poignant story of a child ghost.
  • Revenant as Typewriter by Penelope Lively - a short story from her collection Pack of Cards. One of the most unnerving ghost stories about possession, quietly disturbing.
  • Whee! by Patrick Gale - a short story from his collection Dangerous Pleasures. An unusual tale of a malevolent child spirit. Across his two collections (the other is Gentleman's Relish) are a smattering of ghost/possession stories told with his deliciously dry wit.
  • The Woman in Black by Susan Hill - a famous novella which probably everyone knows from the stage play or films, but do read the original. A satisfying traditionally told ghost story. So traditional that on first reading I thought it must have been written in the 1900s and not 1980s!
  • The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill - a novella. For me Susan Hill has a terrific talent for telling ghost stories and this is another classic. People becoming trapped in paintings is almost a recurring nightmare for me, perhaps triggered by some spooky paintings I remember for relatives' homes as a child.
And if you are still hungry for more spine tingling then Kath McGurl's book Ghost Stories and How to Write Them is FREE to download until 2 Nov. 

What are your favourite ghost stories?


  1. The only one of those I've read is Kath's book. I enjoyed that.

  2. Same as Patsy - I've only read Kath's.

  3. Only read The Woman in White and I have Kath's book - thanks for this list, Tracy!