Shirley Hardie Jackson was best known for her short story titled ‘The Lottery,’ published in 1948. This story outraged a lot of people because of its depiction of the darker side to humanity. It is also the story that launched her status as a master of the horror tale. Many people may have also heard of her novel ‘The Haunting of Hill House,’ published in 1959. This novel is the classic example of a haunted house story.
Shirley was born on December 14th 1916 and died at the age of 48 in 1965. Heart failure was the cause of her death. Being overweight and a heavy smoker contributed too many health issues that Shirley had. She was married to Stanley Edgar Hyman who was a noted literary critic. They had four children together Laurence, Joanne, Sarah and Barry. They often became fictionalised versions of themselves in their mother’s stories.
Here are some interesting facts about Shirley Jackson:
According to an article by The New Yorker, Shirley was a practicing amateur witch and boasted about placing hexes on prominent publishers.
Many biographies on Shirley describe Stanley as being a very controlling husband in all areas of their marriage. He was also frequently unfaithful with many of his students and chastised Shirley when she expressed any unhappiness with the situation.
Shirley claimed to be born in 1919 opposed to her birth records, just so she could appear younger than her husband.
Shirley had severe anxiety.
She refused to be interviewed believing that her work would speak for itself over the years.
She has been an influence for many writers such as Neil Gaiman, Stephen King and Richard Matheson.
Both her and her husband, being book lovers had a personal library of over 100 000 books!
Shirley’s adopted home of North Bennington celebrates Shirley Jackson Day every year on June 27th – The same day that ‘The Lottery’ took place in her short story.
Some of Shirley Jackson’s writing that you should check out:
· The Haunting of Hill House
· We Have Always Lived in the Castle
· The Road Through the Wall
· The Bird’s Nest
· The Sundial
Collections of Short Stories by Shirley:
· The Lottery and Other Stories
· Dark Tales
· Just an Ordinary Day
· The Magic of Shirley Jackson
· Let Me Tell You
· Come Along with Me