Caitlín R. Kiernan
|Caitlín R. Kiernan|
Kiernan in 2011
|Born||26 May 1964
|Pen name||Kathleen Tierney|
|Genre||Science fiction, dark fantasy, weird fiction|
|Notable works||Silk; Threshold; Alabaster; The Red Tree; The Drowning Girl|
Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan (born 26 May 1964) is the author of science fiction and dark fantasy works, including ten novels; many comic books; and more than two hundred published short stories, novellas, and vignettes. She is also the author of scientific papers in the field of paleontology.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, she moved to the United States as a young child with her mother. Much of her childhood was spent in the small town of Leeds, Alabama, and her early interests included herpetology, paleontology, and fiction writing. As a teenager, she lived in Trussville, Alabama, and, in high school, began doing volunteer work at the Red Mountain Museum in Birmingham, Alabama and spending summers on her first archaeological and paleontological digs.
Kiernan attended college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying geology and vertebrate paleontology, and she held both museum and teaching positions before finally turning to fiction writing in 1992.
In 1988, she co-authored a paper describing the new genus and species of mosasaur, Selmasaurus russelli. Her first novel, The Five of Cups, was written between June '92 and early '93, though it wasn't published until 2003. In 1998 her first published novel, Silk, was released. Her first published short story was "Persephone," a dark science fiction tale, released in 1995. Her most recent scientific publications are a paper on the biostratigraphy of Alabama mosasaurs, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (2002) and "First record of a velociraptorine theropod (Tetanurae, Dromaeosauridae) from the Eastern Gulf Coastal United States." The Mosasaur (2005).
Kiernan has had short fiction selected for Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and The Year's Best Science Fiction, and her short stories have been collected in several volumes (see Bibliography). To date, her work has been translated into German, Italian, French, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, Finnish, Czech, Polish, Russian, Korean, and Japanese. In May 1996, Kiernan was approached by Neil Gaiman and editors at DC/Vertigo Comics to begin writing for The Dreaming, a spin-off from Gaiman's very successful title, The Sandman. Kiernan wrote for the title from 1996 until its conclusion in 2001, working closely with Gaiman and focusing not only on pre-existing characters (The Corinthian, Cain and Abel, Lucien, Nuala, Morpheus, Thessaly, etc.), but also on new characters (Echo, Maddy, the white dream raven Tethys, etc.). In 2012, Kiernan returned to comics, scripting Alabaster: Wolves (based on her character Dancy Flammarion) and continuing with Alabaster: Boxcar Tales (2013) and Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird (2014). She wrote the novelisation for the Beowulf film (scripted by Gaiman and Roger Avary).
Style and genre
In her blog she stated, "I'm getting tired of telling people that I'm not a 'horror' writer. I'm getting tired of them not listening, or not believing. Most of them seem suspicious of my motives." "I've never tried to fool anyone. I've said I don't write genre 'horror.' A million, billion times have I said that." "It's not that there are not strong elements of horror present in a lot of my writing. It's that horror never predominates those works. You may as well call it psychological fiction or awe fiction. I don't think of horror as a genre. I think of it – to paraphrase Doug Winter – as an emotion, and no one emotion will ever characterize my fiction." Additionally, much of her earlier work, such as Silk, is set among or alludes to the aesthetics of the goth subculture, an interest which becomes less pronounced in her later novels.
Kiernan has also stated, regarding the role of plot in creative writing: "anyone can come up with the artifice/conceit of a 'good story.' Story bores me. Which is why critics complain it's the weakest aspect of my work. Because that's essentially purposeful. I have no real interest in plot. Atmosphere, mood, language, character, theme, etc., that's the stuff that fascinates me. Ulysses should have freed writers from plot."
Kiernan has garnered a reputation as one of the foremost authors of contemporary weird fiction. In his review of her novel 2009 The Red Tree, H. P. Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi writes: "Kiernan already ranks with the most distinctive stylists in our field – Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Dunsany, Thomas Ligotti. With Ligotti's regrettable retreat into fictional silence, hers is now the voice of weird fiction."
Between 1996 and 1997, Kiernan also fronted an Athens, Georgia-based "goth-folk-blues band," Death's Little Sister, named for Neil Gaiman's character, Delirium. She was the band's vocalist and lyricist, and the group enjoyed some success on local college radio and played shows in Athens and Atlanta. Other members included Barry Dillard (guitars), Michael Graves (bass), and Shelly Ross (keyboards). Kiernan has said in interviews that she left the band in February 1997 because of her increased responsibilities writing for DC Comics and because her novel Silk had recently sold. She was briefly involved in Crimson Stain Mystery, a studio project, two years later. CSM produced one EP to accompany a special limited edition of Silk, illustrated by Clive Barker (Gauntlet Press, 2000).
In December 2005, she began publishing the monthly Sirenia Digest (otherwise known as MerViSS) consisting of vignettes and short stories: "The MerViSS Project is a continuation of Kiernan's exploration of the fusion of erotic literature with elements of dark fantasy and science fiction, creating brief, dreamlike fictions." It is currently illustrated by Vince Locke. The digest includes the occasional collaboration with Sonya Taaffe.
- International Horror Guild Award, Best First Novel 1998 (Silk)
- Barnes and Noble Maiden Voyage Award, Best First Novel 1998 (Silk)
- International Horror Guild Award, Best Novel 2001 (Threshold)
- International Horror Guild Award, Best Short Story 2001 ("Onion")
- International Horror Guild Award, Best Mid-Length Fiction 2005 ("La Peau Verte")
- James Tiptree, Jr. Award Honoree, 2010 ("Galápagos")
- James Tiptree, Jr. Award Winner, 2012 (The Drowning Girl: A Memoir)
- Bram Stoker Award, Best Novel 2012 (The Drowning Girl: A Memoir)
- Bram Stoker Award, Best Graphic Novel 2013 (Alabaster: Wolves)
- Locus Award, Best Short Story 2014, ("The Road of Needles")
- World Fantasy Award, Best Short Story 2014, ("The Prayer of Ninety Cats")
- World Fantasy Award, Best Collection 2014, (The Ape's Wife and Other Stories)
Nominated (partial list)
- Bram Stoker Award 1995, Best Short Story ("Persephone")
- Bram Stoker Award, Best First Novel 1998 (Silk)
- British Fantasy Award, Best First Novel 1998 (Silk)
- Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Award, Best Graphic Novel 1998 (The Girl Who Would Be Death)
- International Horror Guild Award, Best Collection (Tales of Pain and Wonder)
- Bram Stoker Award, Best Graphic Novel 2001 (The Dreaming No. 56, "The First Adventure of Miss Caterina Poe")
- International Horror Guild Award, Best Graphic Novel 2001 (The Dreaming No. 56, "The First Adventure of Miss Caterina Poe")
- International Horror Guild Award, Best Short Form 2002 ("The Road of Pins")
- International Horror Guild Award, Best Collection 2005 (To Charles Fort, With Love)
- World Fantasy Award 2006, Best Collection 2005 (To Charles Fort, With Love)
- World Fantasy Award 2006, Best Short Fiction 2005 ("La Peau Verte")
- International Horror Guild Award, Best Mid-Length Fiction 2006 ("Bainbridge")
- Locus Award 2010 (40th Annual), Best Fantasy Novel (The Red Tree)
- Locus Award 2010 (40th Annual), Best Collection (A is for Alien)
- Shirley Jackson Award (3rd Annual, 2010), Best Novel (The Red Tree)
- World Fantasy Award 2010, Best Novel (The Red Tree)
- Shirley Jackson Award (4th Annual, 2011), Best Short Story ("As Red as Red")
- World Fantasy Award 2011, Best Collection 2010 (The Ammonite Violin & Others)
- Bram Stoker Award 2011, Best Collection (Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Volume 1)
- Bram Stoker Award 2011, Best Long Fiction ("The Collier's Venus ")
- Locus Award 2012, Best Collection (Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Volume 1)
- World Fantasy Award 2012, Best Collection (Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Volume 1)
- Nebula Award 2012, Best Novel (The Drowning Girl: A Memoir)
- British Fantasy Award 2012, Best Fantasy Novel (The Drowning Girl: A Memoir)
- World Fantasy Award 2012, Best Novel (The Drowning Girl: A Memoir)
- Mythopoeic Award 2012, Adult Literature (The Drowning Girl: A Memoir)
- Shirley Jackson Award 2012, Best Novel (The Drowning Girl: A Memoir)
- Bram Stoker Award 2013, Fiction Collection (The Ape's Wife and Other Stories)
- World Fantasy Award 2014, Best Novella (Black Helicopters)
- World Fantasy Award 2014, Best Short Story ("The Prayer of Ninety Cats")
- World Fantasy Award 2014, Best Collection (The Ape's Wife and Other Stories)
- Silk, Penguin-Putnam, 1998, ISBN 978-0-451-45668-7 (1999, Gauntlet Press)
- Threshold (2001, Penguin-Putnam) ISBN 9780451461247
- The Five of Cups, Subterranean Press, 2003, ISBN 978-1-931081-80-1
- Low Red Moon, Penguin-Putnam, 2003, ISBN 978-1-931081-84-9
- Murder of Angels, Penguin-Putnam, 2004, ISBN 0-451-45996-2
- Daughter of Hounds, Penguin-Putnam, 2007, ISBN 978-0-451-46157-5
- Beowulf (2007; HarperCollins; novelisation of 2007 film) ISBN 9780061543388
- The Red Tree (2009; Penguin-Putnam) ISBN 9780451463500
- The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (March 2012; Penguin-Putnam) ISBN 9780451464163
- Blood Oranges (writing as Kathleen Tierney; February 2013, Penguin-Putnam) ISBN 9780451465016
- Red Delicious (writing as Kathleen Tierney; 2014, Penguin-Putnam) ISBN 9780451416537
Short fiction collections
- Tales of Pain and Wonder (2000, Gauntlet Press; 2002, Meisha Merlin; 2008, Subterranean Press)
- Wrong Things (with Poppy Z. Brite; 2001; Subterranean Press)
- From Weird and Distant Shores (2002; Subterranean Press)
- To Charles Fort, With Love (2005; Subterranean Press)
- Alabaster (2006; Subterranean Press; illustrated by Ted Naifeh; reissued by Dark Horse Comics, February 2014, as Alabaster: Pale Horse)
- A is for Alien (2009; Subterranean Press; illustrated by Vince Locke)
- The Ammonite Violin & Others (2010; Subterranean Press)
- Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan (Volume One) (2011; Subterranean Press)
- Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (2012; Subterranean Press)
- The Ape's Wife and Other Tales (2013; Subterranean Press)
- Irvine, Alex (2008). "The Dreaming". In Dougall, Alastair. The Vertigo Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 64–65. ISBN 0-7566-4122-5. OCLC 213309015.
- Kiernan, Caitlín R. (3 February 2002). "Chapter Two proceeds apace". Low Red Moon journal. Retrieved 18 May 2007.
- Kiernan, Caitlín R. "It's a death trap. It's a suicide rap.". Dear Sweet Filthy World. Livejournal.com. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- VanderMeer, Jeff. "Interview: Caitlín R. Kiernan on Weird Fiction". "Deep time is critical...". Weird Fiction Review. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- Dead Reckonings (No. 6, Volume 2009, pp. 28–30)
- Musical projects
- Kiernan, Caitlín R. "sirenia". Retrieved 18 May 2007.
- Caitlín R. Kiernan's MySpace page accessed 29 March 2007.
- "The 2013 Bram Stoker Awards Winners". Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- 2012 Nebula Awards Nominees Announced, SFWA, 20 February 2013
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Caitlin Kiernan.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Caitlín R. Kiernan|
- Official website
- Caitlín R. Kiernan at the Internet Movie Database
- Caitlín R. Kiernan at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Traveling Through Dreams: Sequential Tart interview with Caitlín R. Kiernan (February 1999)
- Universal Studios Horror Online Interview with Caitlín R. Kiernan (April 2000)
- Pain, Wonder, and Really Old Things: An Interview with Caitlin R. Kiernan (October 2001)
- Caitlin R. Kiernan discusses Sirenia Digest at the Wayback Machine (archived 14 February 2012) (originally published December 2006)
- Caitlín R. Kiernan, Atlanta Dark Fantasy Novelist (January 2007)
- Finding the Language I Need: A Conversation with Caitlín R. Kiernan at Clarkesworld Magazine (June 2010)
- A Pale Rider Approaches: Interview with Caitlin R. Kiernan at The Morton Report (5 April 2012)