Writer Mark West came up with the fun idea of curating a ‘Brit Horror Mixtape‘ by asking writers in the field to recommend a short story by a British horror writer that influenced their work.
It’s pretty hard to pick one favourite – as I have many – so I decided to select based on the spirit of the mixtape: which is to collate a distinctive range of interesting work from a variety of people. I was unaware of what writers other people were going to choose, but I decided not to pick a ghost story or one that featured a supernatural event. When the entire, massive field of British horror is available, it helps to impose limits to narrow down the work.
Pondering upon some great fiction I choose ‘The Birds’, by Daphne du Maurier, since it’s an outstanding example of ecological horror that has become enmeshed with our cultural memory. And when you examine Du Maurier’s catalogue of work it’s amazing to see how much of it has been adapted into other media – and some of them are outstanding versions on their own merits (such as Hitchcock’s film adaptation of ‘The Birds’).
Du Maurier was not only an excellent writer, but many of the core concepts and themes of her novels and stories contain a timeless human relevance that makes them popular to this day.