Who was William Gay? 10 things about the author of Little Sister Death

Let the horror in this Halloween, with the most terrifying novel you’ll read all year . . .


Little Sister Death jacketWilliam Gay was born in Hohenwald, Tennessee. After high school, he joined the United States Navy and served during the Vietnam War. For many years he made his living as a carpenter, drywall-hanger and house painter before publishing, in 1998, his first novel, The Long Home, at the age of 57. He went on to publish the story collection I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down and two further novels, Provinces of Night and Twilight, in his lifetime.

Little Sister Death is his stunning ‘lost’ horror novel. Inspired by the famous nineteenth-century Bell Witch haunting of Tennessee, it follows the unravelling life of David Binder, a writer who moves his young family to a haunted farmstead to try and find inspiration for his faltering work.

Beautifully written and structured, Little Sister Death is a loving and faithful addition to the field of classic horror writing, eschewing any notions of irony or post-modern tricks as it aims, instead, straight for your soul.


Here are ten things to know about the late, great William Gay:

1. He loved AC/DC as well as William Faulkner
2. He joined the United States Navy and served during Vietnam
3. He was once memorably described as ‘looking like a man who had been shot at’
4. Suttree was his favourite Cormac McCarthy novel, a writer he corresponded with long before publishing his own work
5. His classic short story ‘The Paperhanger’ has been anthologised half a dozen times to date
6. He was 55 when his first novel, The Long Home, was published in the US in 1998
7. Stephen King chose Twilight as his Best Book of 2007 for Entertainment Weekly
8. Little Sister Death comes from a line in the William Faulkner story, ‘Mayday’
9. As a child he first read about the Bell Witch in a Life magazine piece about the seven greatest American ghost stories
10. His final novel, The Lost Country will hopefully still be published . . .