Author Spotlight: Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson


Who was she

Shirley Hardie Jackson (December 14, 1916 - August 8, 1965) was an American horror and mystery author. Her first novel “The Road Through the Wall” (1948) was about her childhood in California and launched a career that saw her publish six novels and over 200 short stories!

She was a private and enigmatic figure who kept herself out of the eye of the public as best she could, allowing her books to speak for themselves.

Netflix and “The Haunting of Hill House”

Just in time for Halloween Netflix released a ten part series adaptation of “The Haunting of Hill House” perhaps Jackson’s best known work.

It has received very positive reviews but we at BLG weren’t very impressed with the series as it didn’t stay true to the wonderful book at all.

The Haunting of Hill House has been on the silver screen twice before. Once in 1963 and once in 1999 both with the title “The Haunting”. The ‘99 film starring Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones was met with a poor critical reception for being too overtly supernatural and missing the psychological elements that really make the book special.

Other Adaptations

Her short story “The Lottery” has been described as “one of the most famous short stories in American literature” and has seen numerous incarnations on radio, television and the stage. In addition to this a total of three films have been made with another in production this year (2018)

1962’s “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” was made into a broadway play and a musical in 1966 and 2010 respectively. The ‘66 play had a short run of only 11 nights but the musical is still performed by regional theatre companies to this day. Michael Douglas’ production company “Further Films” released a film adaptation in September 2018

Critical acclaim

Jackson’s work has received much critical acclaim. Stephen King in “Danse Macabre” his non-fiction review of the horror genre marks “The Haunting of Hill House” as “one of the finest horror novels of the late 20th Century”.

Jackson received multiple awards for her works across her career including several New York Times Book Awards and The Edgar Allan Poe Award for best American short stories.

In 2007 the people in charge of her estate established an award in her honour celebrating outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror and the dark fantastic.

Halloween Reading

Don’t just take our word for it or be put off by a few bad movie reviews!  Why not head over to the shop where copies of “The Haunting of Hill House” and our “Don’t judge a Book by its movie” bags are available now!

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