Summer Scares Is Back For Another Haunt!

The Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Library Journal/School Library Journal, is proud to announce the second annual Summer Scares Reading Program. Summer Scares is a reading program that provides libraries and schools with an annual list of recommended horror titles for adult, young adult (teen), and middle grade readers. It introduces readers and librarians to new authors and helps start conversations extending beyond the books from each list and promote reading for years to come.

Award-winning author Stephen Graham Jones and a committee of four librarians will select three recommended fiction titles in each reading level, totaling nine Summer Scares selections. The goal of the program is to encourage a national conversation about the horror genre, across all age levels, at libraries nationwide and ultimately attract more adults, teens, and children interested in reading. Official Summer Scares designated authors will also make themselves available at public and school libraries.

“The first stories told around campfires forever ago,” Jones says, “were about monsters the hunting party had seen one valley over, and when the hunter describing this creature raised their arms to re-enact this scary encounter, the shadow the flames threw back from those upraised arms went for millennia. We’re still cowering in that shadow. To be afraid is to be human. Horror gifts that back to us with each story, each book, each movie, each story told around all our many campfires.”

The committee’s final selections will be announced on February 14, 2020—National Library Lover’s Day. Jones, along with some of the selected authors, will appear on a panel to kickoff Summer Scares at a special stand-alone Librarians Day on May 7, 2020, at the Naperville, Illinois, Public Library. Details on the event and sign up materials will be available in January 2020. 

Between the announcement of the titles and the kickoff event, the committee and its partners will publish lists of more suggested titles for further reading. Official Summer Scares podcasting partner, Ladies of the Fright Podcast, will also record episodes in conjunction with Summer Scares.

Look for more information coming soon in Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Book Riot, as well as from United for Libraries and at the HWA’s website: www.horror.org. For more information about Summer Scares, contact JG Faherty, HWA Library Committee Chair (libraries@horror.org), or Becky Spratford, HWA Secretary (bspratford@hotmail.com)

In addition, this year the Summer Scares program is pleased to welcome Konrad Stump as the new Summer Scares Library Programming consultant. Konrad is the Local History Associate for the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Missouri. Library workers and authors who are interested in cultivating horror programming can contact Konrad at konrads@thelibrary.org for free assistance.

Summer Scares Committee Members:

Stephen Graham Jones is a former library worker and the author of sixteen or seventeen novels—including Mongrels, a previous Summer Scares selection—six collections, some comic books and novellas, and better than three-hundred short stories. Next are The Only Good Indians, Night of the Mannequins, and Memorial Ride. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he’s a Professor of Distinction and the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has won the Texas Institute of Letters Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in fiction, the Bram Stoker Award, and four This is Horror awards.

Becky Spratford is a library consultant and the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror, second edition, and is currently working on the third edition. She reviews horror for Booklist Magazine, is the horror columnist for Library Journal and runs the Readers’ Advisory Horror blog, RA for All: Horror. Becky is also a Library Trustee member of United for Libraries and is currently serving as Secretary for the Horror Writers’ Association.

Carolyn Ciesla is a library director and academic dean at Prairie State College in the Chicago suburbs. She has worked as a teen librarian and reference librarian, and reviews horror titles for Booklist Magazine. She’s currently enjoying providing all the scary books to her teen daughter, and revisiting a few along the way.

Kiera Parrott is the reviews director for Library Journal and School Library Journal, where she oversees the review of more than 14,000 titles annually. Before joining the Journals, Kiera was head of children’s services at Darien Library (CT), and began her career as a librarian at the New York Public Library. Kiera is a lifelong horror fan and loves nothing more than curling up with a blood-curdling read on a rainy day. You can find her on Twitter @libraryvoice.

Kelly Jensen is a former librarian who works as an Editor for Book Riot (bookriot.com), where she runs the bi-weekly “What’s Up in YA?” young adult newsletter and cohosts the popular “Hey YA” podcast about young adult literature Her books include the award-winning (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health and Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, both from Algonquin Young Readers. She’s also a well-known and long-time co-blogger at Stacked (stackedbooks.org). A life-long lover of all things scary, she finds herself eager to scream about horror reads for teens with those who love good thrills and chills.


Don’t miss out on last year’s Summer Scares picks and enjoy yourself something eerie this season!

The latest and greatest from the world of horror
By signing up you agree to our Terms of Service