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Top 5 Gothic books to read in lockdown

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

Nicholas Royle knows a thing or two about Gothic literature.

He is a reader in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, head judge of the Manchester Fiction Prize and an editor forSalt Publishing. Royle also somehow finds the time to runs Nightjar Press, publishing original short stories as signed, limited-edition chapbooks.

Oh, and did we mention he is an author of seven novels, two novellas and three volumes of short fiction​ and has edited 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

Just as if you’re sad, you should listen to melancholy music, so in lockdown it can be a good idea to read stories of isolation and unhappiness. Autobiographical tales tell of Kavan’s poor relationship with her parents and husband, and her attraction to death-defying racing drivers.

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New Terrors II, edited by Ramsey Campbell

One of my favourite horror anthologies because it contains great stories by some of my favourite writers including Christopher Priest, Giles Gordon and M John Harrison as well as – bonus ball – my favourite Stephen King story.

Pharos by Alice Thompson

King was a fan of this brilliant historical ghost story that feels timeless, like it could be happening today. It probably is.

The Leaping by Tom Fletcher

Fletcher has a new novel out – Witch Bottle – which I haven’t read yet, but if it’s even half as good as his debut, this terrifying werewolf novel set in the Lake District, it will be essential reading.

The Architecture of David Lynch by Richard Martin

Normally, when examining one, I find the abstract prose of a PhD thesis a gothic nightmare in itself, but the subject here could not be closer to the damp chambers of my heart. Reading this is like rewatching Lynch’s films with someone who loves them as much as I do and keeps whispering fascinating observations about his sets and spaces in my ear.

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

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