Alison Littlewood is a horror author from Yorkshire, England who’s penned several novels and short stories over the past couple decades. She initially followed a career in marketing before her love for writing fiction led to her making the move to full-time authorship. Since then she’s been nominated for multiple high profile literary awards including ones for both British Fantasy and Shirley Jackson Awards. In 2015 she won a Shirley Jackson Award for her short story “The Dog’s Home”. I really enjoyed each of those stories but favorites here would be “The Empty Spaces”, “4 A. M. When the Walls Are Thinnest”, “In The Quiet And In The Dark”, “The View From The Basement”.
Stories (listed by publication date):
1. “The Empty Spaces” (2010) – Bill and Laurie move in together after their wives, who’d been sisters, suffered a sudden and tragic death. Laurie has issues with his vision which causes his mind to create false images of things which aren’t actually there. When he begins to see his deceased wife Joan, he starts to think it’s her ghost, accusing him of being responsible for her death. There’s maybe some truth in this belief. Listen here for free: https://talestoterrify.com/episodes/tales-to-terrify-no-149-littlewood-kaysen/
2. “4 A. M. When the Walls Are Thinnest” (2010) – A prison inmate likes to fabricate elaborate stories about how he lost the tip of his finger, but his story changesoften. He eventually confides the truth to a fellow inmate and talks of his plan to escape. This is a great story with an interesting character and a creepy, supernatural finale. Listen here for free: https://podverse.fm/episode/AFX-4CMpErS
3. “In The Quiet And In The Dark” (2012)– After being forced to move in with her father because her mother met someone new and she no longer fit in with their plans, a shy girl meets two locals who befriend her. They like going to visit an ancient ring of standing stones called Rollrights. Legends say these stones were once knights who were transformed into immobile stones by a witch. It’s also said that no man can count them all three times and get the same number, but if they could then they would gain their heart’s desire. A thin but handsome young man named Kix begins showing up and flirting with her, but there’s something strange about him that she can’t quite place. Listen here for free: http://farfetchedfables.com/far-fetched-fables-no-118-alison-littlewood-and-jay-lake-ruth-nestvold/
4. “Like Suffolk, Like Holidays” (2012) – A loving couple enjoy a holiday in a beautiful area of East Anglia. It isn’t long before the husband begins to notice how idyllic and perfect everything is. The problem lies in it being just too pristinely, maddeningly perfect.
5. “The View From The Basement” (2015) – A traveling salesman takes his first vacation without his much more regimented wife, booking a room at a seedy, no-frills place called The Hyde Hotel. He enjoys the freedom of being able to make all his own decisions. He’s quickly moved from his originally assigned room to a smaller, bleaker one in the basement. Several subtle things seem to change regularly inside the hotel, as something isn’t quite right there. This is a very well written, eerie tale.
6. “The Entertainment Arrives” (2017) – A traveling entertainer who specializes in a very special version of a Punch and Judy puppet show is drawn to a specific hotel to put on his unique performance.
7. “Ways to Wake” (2018) – A man living in a home for people who are dying from cancer is suspicious of the resident house cat named Jack. Jack has been featured on the news for its ability to sense when someone is about to die, prompting it to curl up on their chest. He begins to believe that it, and the head nurse, may be hurrying those deathsalong through witchcraft. Listen or read here for free: https://www.nightmare-magazine.com/fiction/ways-to-wake/
8. “The Halloween Monster” (2018) – On Halloween, some local bullies force Cam to crawl into a tight space in order to pull a scared cat out for them because they say it’s a witch. Cam is reluctant to do so because they obviously have ill-intentions toward the animal. This act leads to the genesis of a true Halloween monster.
Alison’s Website: http://www.alisonlittlewood.co.uk
Alison’s U.S. Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Alison-Littlewood/e/B005VO5DJI%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
Alison’s U.K. Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alison-Littlewood/e/B005VO5DJI%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
Article by Matt Cowan