Gemma Files

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Gemma Files
Files at Readercon in 2016, holding her Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel
Files at Readercon in 2016, holding her Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel
Born (1968-04-04) April 4, 1968 (age 54)
London, England
Alma materRyerson Polytechnic University
Notable awardsInternational Horror Guild Award

Shirley Jackson Award

Sunburst Award

Gemma Files is a Canadian horror writer, journalist, and film critic. Her short story, "The Emperor's Old Bones", won the International Horror Guild Award for Best Short Story of 1999. Five of her short stories were adapted for the television series The Hunger.


Gemma Files was born in 1968 in London, England, to the actors Elva Mai Hoover and Gary Files.[citation needed] Her family relocated to Toronto in 1969, where she resides today.[citation needed] Files graduated Ryerson Polytechnic University in 1991 with a degree in journalism. She published her first horror fiction, "Fly-by-Night" in 1993.[1] Various freelance assignments eventually led to a continuing position with entertainment periodical Eye Weekly, where she gained local repute as an insightful commentator on the horror genre, independent films and Canadian cinema.[citation needed] She was listed by Cameron Bailey of NOW as one of the Top 10 Coolest People in Canadian Cinema for 1996.[citation needed] She has also written reviews for and for the Canadian horror magazine Rue Morgue.[citation needed]

In 2000 her award-winning story "The Emperor's Old Bones" was reprinted in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Thirteenth Annual Collection (ed. Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow). In 2010 her Shirley Jackson Award-nominated novelette "each thing i show you is a piece of my death" was reprinted in The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Two (ed. Ellen Datlow).[citation needed] Her short story "The Jacaranda Smile" was also a 2009 Shirley Jackson Award finalist.[2] Her first novel, A Book of Tongues, won the 2010 Black Quill award for "Best Small Press Chill" from Dark Scribe Magazine; it was followed by the sequels A Rope of Thorns (2011) and A Tree of Bones (2012), together comprising "The Hexslinger Series". A Rope of Thorns was considered a "powerful sequel" to A Book of Tongues by Publishers Weekly.[3]

Her book, We Will All Go Down Together (about a coven of witches and changelings), was given a favorable review by National Public Radio (NPR).[4]

Her novel Experimental Film (2015) won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel and the Sunburst Award for Best Canadian Speculative Fiction (Novel) in 2016.

Files was married in 2002 to science fiction and fantasy author Stephen J. Barringer (with whom she co-wrote "'each thing i show you is a piece of my death"").[1] They have one son, Callum Jacob, born in September 2004.[citation needed]


  • Kissing Carrion: Stories, Prime Books/Wildside Press, 2003. ISBN 1-894815-63-7
  • The Worm in Every Heart: Stories, Prime Books/Wildside Press, 2004. ISBN 1-894815-76-9
  • The Hexslinger series:
    • A Book of Tongues: Volume One in the Hexslinger Series, ChiZne Publications, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9812978-6-6.
    • A Rope of Thorns: Volume Two in the Hexslinger Series, ChiZine Publications, 2011. ISBN 978-1-926851-14-3.
    • A Tree of Bones: Volume Three in the Hexslinger Series, ChiZine Publications, 2012. ISBN 978-1926851570
    • The Hexslinger Omnibus (eBook Edition), ChiZine Publications, 2013, ASIN B00EXOT72Q (contains three new short stories)
  • We Will All Go Down Together: Stories of the Five-Family Coven, ChiZine Publications, 2014 ISBN 978-1771482011
  • Experimental Film, ChiZine Publications, 2015 ISBN 978-1771483490[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]
  • Drawn Up From Deep Places, JournalStone, 2018.
  • In That Endlessness, Our End, Grimscribe Press, 2021.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Gemma Files: The Sex and Death Show". Locus Online. 4 December 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  2. ^ "2009 Shirley Jackson Awards Winners". Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  3. ^ "A Rope of Thorns". Publishers Weekly. 258 (17): 119–120. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  4. ^ Heller, Jason (26 November 2014). "North-Of-The-Border Horror In 'Go Down Together'". NPR. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  5. ^ Langan, John (2016-07-13). "John Langan reviews Gemma Files". Locus Online. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  6. ^ Allan, Nina (2016-03-16). "Experimental Film by Gemma Files". Strange Horizons. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  7. ^ "The Past Comes Back to Haunt a Movie Scholar in Experimental Film". The Lineup. 2022-03-25. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  8. ^ Wallace, Kali (2022-01-31). "The Best Niche Genre? Creepy Books About F*cked Up Films That F*ck People Up". Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  9. ^ Westenfeld, Adrienne (2021-10-12). "10 Books About Ghosts That'll Scare the Sh*t Out of You—and Make You Smarter". Esquire. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  10. ^ McRobert, Neil (2022-05-09). "The 50 Best Horror Books of All Time Will Scare You Sh*tless". Esquire. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  11. ^ Centorcelli, Kristin (2016-02-10). "Five Questions With Gemma Files, Author of EXPERIMENTAL FILM". SF Signal. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  12. ^ MacLeod, Selene (15 February 2021). "Quick Six Questions With Gemma Files". Horror Tree. Retrieved 2021-02-15.

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