Richard Laymon

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Richard Carl Laymon
Born(1947-01-14)January 14, 1947
Chicago, Illinois, U.S
DiedFebruary 14, 2001(2001-02-14) (aged 54)
Los Angeles, California, U.S
Notable worksThe Cellar, The Beast House, The Midnight Tour, Island, The Traveling Vampire Show

Richard Carl Laymon (January 14, 1947 – February 14, 2001[1]) was an American author of suspense and horror fiction, particularly within the splatterpunk subgenre.

Life and career[edit]

Laymon was born and raised outside of Chicago, Illinois, then lived in Tiburon, California, as a teen. He graduated from Redwood High School, then pursued a BA in English Literature from Willamette University in Oregon and an MA in English Literature from Loyola University in Los Angeles.

His works include more than sixty short stories and more than thirty novels, a few of which were published under the pseudonym Richard Kelly. Twenty of his stories were published as part of the Fastback Mystery series—single short stories released in book form.

Early in his career, Laymon found greater commercial success in the United Kingdom and Europe, despite praise from prominent writers from within the genre, including Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Laymon believed that this was a result of a badly-edited first release of The Woods Are Dark, which had had over fifty pages removed. The poor editing and unattractive cover art also stalled his career in America after the success of The Cellar. Starting in 1999 and an association with Leisure Books, Laymon found delayed recognition in his homeland. Laymon's original version of The Woods Are Dark[2] was finally published in July 2008 by Leisure Books and Cemetery Dance Publications after being reconstructed from the original manuscript by his daughter, Kelly.

His novel Flesh was named Best Horror Novel of 1988 by Science Fiction Chronicle, and both Flesh and Funland were nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, as was his non-fiction work A Writer's Tale. He won this award posthumously in 2001 for The Traveling Vampire Show.

Richard was president of the Horror Writers Association (2000-2001).

The tribute anthology, In Laymon's Terms,[3] was released by Cemetery Dance Publications during the summer of 2011. It featured short stories and non-fiction tribute essays by authors such as Bentley Little, Jack Ketchum, Gary Brandner, Edward Lee, and many others.


Laymon died in 2001 of a heart attack. He was 54.



  1. ^ Adrian, Jack (March 19, 2001). "Obituary: Richard Laymon". The Independent. p. 6.
  2. ^ "The Woods are Dark (The Original, Uncut Version): Cemetery Dance Publications". Archived from the original on May 5, 2008.
  3. ^ "In Laymon's Terms: Cemetery Dance Publications". Archived from the original on May 10, 2006.
  4. ^ "The Woods are Dark (The Original, Uncut Version): Cemetery Dance Publications". Archived from the original on May 5, 2008.
  5. ^ "In Laymon's Terms".

See also[edit]

External links[edit]