Straub to speak in defense of horror

The “grand master” of horror, Peter Straub, is adept at leaving people disturbed.

However, tonight at 7 in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Ballroom, Straub will be looking to leave his audience informed.

Due to weather conditions in New York, though, Straub may not be able to speak tonight. Check for more information.

Winner of six Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement and one Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Horror Writers Association, Straub will switch gears, with offering what organizers hope to be a witty defense of his genre, a speech titled “Why Would Anyone Read That Stuff?”

According to the results of an informal survey that Humanities Institute Director William Scheuerle conducted a few years ago, horror ranks second only to science fiction in terms of students’ favorite genres to read.

“What he’s going to do is talk about the defense of horror literature as well as discuss genre writing in general,” Scheuerle said. “I think students who are interested in reading and writing should hear as much as possible about different genres.”

Mass communications professor and USF special collections writer in residence Richard Wilber has known Straub for years. They met some years ago at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts.

According to Wilber, Straub’s appeal lies in more than just his skill and accessibility as writer. Straub’s allure is also found in his penchant for adapting painful situations from his own life into fictional hurdles for his characters.

“If something embarrasses you and humiliates you, then it’s what you should write about, because it could not help but be authentic,” Straub said in an interview with Locus magazine.