50 Facts About Ramsey Campbell


Ramsey Campbell was born on 4 January 1946 and is an English horror fiction writer, editor and critic who has been writing for well over fifty years.


Ramsey Campbell is the author of over 30 novels and hundreds of short stories, many of them winners of literary awards.


Ramsey Campbell was educated by Christian Brothers at St Edward's College, Liverpool.


Ramsey Campbell's father became a shadowy presence more often heard than seen.


Ramsey Campbell intended to submit to Phantom, but his mother, who regarded literary success as a possible way of financing her escape from her disastrous marriage, persuaded him to wait until he had a whole book to show to publishers.


Campbell submitted Ghostly Tales to "numerous publishers" including Tom Boardman publisher; Boardman rejected it as they did not publish ghost stories, but his rejection letter included encouragement to Campbell to keep writing.


At the age of twelve, Ramsey Campbell attempted to write a novel titled Broken Moon, influenced by Arthur Machen, but it petered out after fifty pages.

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Ramsey Campbell had read Arthur Machen's major horror stories by this age, and some works by John Dickson Carr, which led him to write, at 14 years old, a 100-page Carr pastiche titled Murder By Moonlight.


On leaving school at age sixteen, Ramsey Campbell went to work in the Inland Revenue as a tax officer.


In December 1961, Ramsey Campbell completed the story "The Church in High Street" which he sent to August Derleth at Arkham House, an imprint singlehandedly responsible for preserving the legacy of H P Lovecraft.


Ramsey Campbell wrote various other tales of the Cthulhu Mythos between 1961 and 1963.


Subsequently Ramsey Campbell briefly disavowed Lovecraft, while working on the radically experimental tales which would be published as the collection Demons by Daylight; but he later acknowledged Lovecraft's lasting influence, and his subsequent Cthulhu Mythos tales, collected in Cold Print, confirm the transition from pastiche to homage, most notably in such tales as "The Faces at Pine Dunes" and the eerily surreal "The Voice on the Beach".


Ramsey Campbell finished the collection that would become Demons by Daylight in 1968, but it would not see print until 1973.


Ramsey Campbell worked in the Liverpool Public Libraries as a library assistant and was acting librarian in charge.


Ramsey Campbell continued to write short stories, mainly supernatural, receiving the World Fantasy Award for "The Chimney" and "Mackintosh Willy".


Ramsey Campbell has been a lifelong enthusiast of film; early stories such as The Reshaping of Rossiter show the influence of directors such as Alain Resnais, and as early as 1969 Ramsey Campbell had become the film reviewer for BBC Radio Merseyside.


Ramsey Campbell worked in Merseyside on the Friday edition of "Breakfast" and less frequently on Claire Hamilton's Sunday show.


Ramsey Campbell wrote novelisations and introductions for a series of novelisations of Universal horror films.


Three further novelisations which appeared under this house name were not by Ramsey Campbell but written by other authors.


Ramsey Campbell became even more prolific during the 1980s, issuing no less than eight novels and three short story collections.


Obsession involves a group of childhood friends making a wish apiece concerning their futures, the manifestations tormenting them in later life; however, as is common in Ramsey Campbell's work involving aberrant mental states, it is not entirely apparent that these events have a supernatural origin.


In 1987, Ramsey Campbell published Scared Stiff, a collection of "sex and horror" short stories.


Ramsey Campbell contributed numerous articles on horror cinema to The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural.


The 1990s again saw Ramsey Campbell publish eight novels, though in the second half of this decade he moved away from traditional horror to explore crime and tales of social alienation.


Ramsey Campbell had earlier published a non-supernatural novel called The One Safe Place, which uses a highly charged thriller narrative to examine social problems such as the deprivation and abuse of children, and in 1998 he turned away for a more sustained period from the supernatural work with which he was associated.

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In 1999, Ramsey Campbell was awarded both the Grand Master Award from the World Horror Convention and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association.


Ramsey Campbell reviewed films and DVDs weekly for BBC Radio Merseyside until 2007, and began to contribute a monthly film column, "Ramsey's Ramblings", for Video Watchdog magazine.


The Darkest Part of the Woods successfully evokes the cosmic terrors of H P Lovecraft and was the first of Ramsey Campbell's work published by PS Publishing; the author would go on to enjoy a long-term relationship with the UK imprint, granting first print rights to most new work.


In Secret Stories Ramsey Campbell returned to the crime genre with a blackly comic study of a serial killer whose written accounts of his crimes inadvertently win a fiction competition, resulting in further murders.


In 2007, Ramsey Campbell was awarded the Living Legend Award from the International Horror Guild.


In 2010, Campbell was commissioned to write the novelisation of the movie Solomon Kane, which was based on the swords and sorcery stories of Robert E Howard.


In 2015, Ramsey Campbell received the World Fantasy Award's Life Award, and in 2017, in Spain, he was awarded the Premio Sheridan Le Fanu for his career achievements.


Ramsey Campbell's latest novel Fellstones is oriented around the author's love of classical music and is squarely in the tradition of British folk horror, as a young man suffers in later life unwanted attention from a family that adopted him in childhood and that still lives in a village occupied by seven standing stones; the novel is a return to themes of cosmicism.


Ramsey Campbell has recently completed a new novel, The Lonely Lands, and is currently working on his next, provisionally entitled Its Gift is Dread.


Ramsey Campbell's style is characterised by an idiosyncratic use of language.


Indeed, Ramsey Campbell celebrates James's concentrated prose, choice of detail, and ability to hint at disquieting material much larger than what is explicitly revealed.


Ramsey Campbell has described much of his own later work as "comedies of paranoia", as his characters experience an existential bewilderment that borders on the absurd.


Four tribute anthologies of stories inspired by Ramsey Campbell's work have been released to date.


In 2012, Ramsey Campbell attracted a spoof collection of horror stories edited by fellow writer Rhys Hughes.


Three of Ramsey Campbell's novels have been adapted into films to date, all in Spain.


Ramsey Campbell has edited a number of anthologies, including New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos ; New Terrors and New Terrors II, a groundbreaking two-volume anthology series; and the first five volumes of the annual Best New Horror series.


Ramsey Campbell is extremely well-read in the horror field, and some of his own literary influences are demonstrated by his selections for the 1988 anthology Fine Frights: Stories That Scared Me.


The Folio Book of Horror Stories, the first collection Ramsey Campbell had edited in 15 years, draws together classic tales from the last 200 years.


Ramsey Campbell commonly describes his wife as the "best part" of himself.


Ramsey Campbell is fond of fine dining, travel, and classical music.

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Ramsey Campbell is very active as a public speaker and greatly enjoys giving readings of his fiction at literary events.


Ramsey Campbell is eloquent and jolly, and he has claimed that if he hadn't become a horror writer, he might have been a stand-up comedian.


Ramsey Campbell is fiercely opposed to censorship, claiming that the suppression of contentious material can result in it returning in an even worse form.


Ramsey Campbell has been very generous in support of newer writers, frequently writing introductions to their work.


For many years Ramsey Campbell was the President of the British Fantasy Society.