World Horror Convention 2013 GoH Interview #7: Ramsey Campbell

Photo by Peter Coleborn

The Oxford Companion to English Literature describes Ramsey Campbell as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer”. He has been given more awards than any other writer in the field, including the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention and the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild.

HWA President Rocky Wood said, “Ramsey is a truly a legend in horror. As one of our Lifetime Achievement Award winners we couldn’t be more pleased to confirm him as our first Guest of Honor for the Weekend. He has kindly agreed to participate in all aspects of the Convention, including a one-on-one in-depth interview, panels, our mass signing, and presenting during the iconic Bram Stoker Awards® Banquet. It is also pleasing that we continue our expanding international focus with a major British Guest, building on such innovations as hold the Awards Banquet in England in 2010, Canada in 2007 and significant membership growth in countries such as Italy and Australia.”

Among Ramsey Campbell’s novels are The Face That Must Die, Incarnate, Midnight Sun, The Count of Eleven, Silent Children, The Darkest Part of the Woods, The Overnight, Secret Story, The Grin of the Dark, Thieving Fear, Creatures of the Pool, The Seven Days of Cain and Ghosts Know. Forthcoming is The Kind Folk. His collections include Waking Nightmares, Alone with the Horrors, Ghosts and Grisly Things, Told by the Dead and Just Behind You, and his non-fiction is collected as Ramsey Campbell, Probably. His novels The Nameless and Pact of the Fathers have been filmed in Spain.

His regular columns appear in Prism, All Hallows, Dead Reckonings and Video Watchdog. He is the President of the British Fantasy Society and of the Society of Fantastic Films. Ramsey Campbell lives on Merseyside in the UK with his wife Jenny. His pleasures include classical music, good food and wine, and whatever’s in that pipe. His web site is at

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Over the course of the coming months leading up to the Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend Incorporating the World Horror Convention 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana, I will feature a series of interviews with each of the Guests of Honor.

Darkeva: To quote the Oxford Companion to English Literature, you’re “Britain’s most respected living horror writer,” which is a great esteem. What do you feel have been some of the great honors of your writing career so far?

RC: Well, that was certainly one. The Lifetime Achievement awards from HWA and WHC were two spectacular ones, and some years ago I was honoured in Rome at the Fantafestival with a similar career award, together with the great Ennio Morricone, no less. But having my own issue of Weird Tales – a magazine that had been magical for me ever since I coveted a copy I saw in a shop window when I was seven – was special, and so of course was being published by Arkham House all those years ago, alongside such heroes of mine as Robert Bloch, John Metcalfe and William Hope Hodgson. I’ve had quite a lot of dreams come true over the decades. May more do so!

Darkeva: Have you ever been to New Orleans? What do you like most about the city? What were some of your favorite places or things you did?

RC: I’ve been there several times, but not since Katrina. I love the place – among other things, it’s one of my favourite places to eat in the world. Over the years we’ve had breakfast at Brennan’s (Jenny and me and our children, then quite little) and I’ve experienced some of the delights of the splendid Commander’s Palace. Jenny and I very much look forward to finding new places too, not least to sampling Chris Debarr’s cuisine at Serendipity. And we’ll be off to the French Quarter again for sure.

Darkeva: What’s on your reading list right now?

RC: I’m writing the introduction to a reissue of Thomas Hinde’s splendid comedy of paranoia The Day the Call Came, so that’s what I’m reading at the moment. Next up may well be some E. M. Forster, since I recently reread Howard’s End for the first time for almost fifty years and was amazed by its concision and inventiveness.

Darkeva: What part of being a Guest of Honor at the Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend Incorporating the World Horror Convention 2013 are you most excited about?

RC: Meeting all you folk.

Darkeva: What other projects do you have on the horizon?

RC: I’m just rewriting a new novella, The Pretence, and should be working on the rewrite while I’m in New Orleans. After that a new novel, Bad Thoughts, though I mean to write at least one short story first.

A huge thank-you to Ramsey Campbell for agreeing to be part of this feature. Be sure to visit his website.

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