We spoke with Amanda Manns, cofounder and publisher of Creature Publishing, in our latest Member Spotlight.
Creature Publishing developed in response to a slew of interesting works across literature and film that my cofounder, Olivia Batker Pritzker, and I felt embodied the idea of feminist horror—Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado; the short films coming out of the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival; the movie A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night; The Vegetarian by Han Kang; My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite; and more. We formed Creature in 2019 to serve as a home for works of social commentary and catharsis, stories that could be called horror or could be called life—at least the lives of women and the underrepresented. We sought to challenge the traditional horror genre and provide a platform for these stories, enlarging the scope of what horror can be and who can make it.
What is feminist horror, and why is it important to platform these stories?
Feminist horror can be a range of things—from literature that subverts typical horror tropes to more dark speculative renderings to experimental explorations to realistic literary fiction—all highlighting the female or queer experience in exciting ways. At Creature we believe it’s important to push the historical boundaries of the horror genre to showcase stories that embody other experiences, other aspects of life, that can be scary and worthy of the name horror, and in doing so to restore power to the oppressed and suppressed.
Can you tell us about some of your recent or forthcoming titles?
We most recently published two collections of short stories. Mine: An Anthology of Body Autonomy Horror, edited by Nico Bell and Roxie Voorhees, explores the ownership and control—or lack thereof—that we have over our bodies. Out of Aztlan, by V. Castro, is a collection of beachy and seafaring tales that includes the story “Palm Beach Poison,” in which a Latina mother deals head-on with an Epstein-esque man in order to protect her child.
Older titles include Bram Stoker Award finalist Goddess of Filth by V. Castro, in which an Aztec goddess visits a teenage girl in an unholy tale of possession-gone-right; Foreword INDIES finalist The Gold Persimmon by Lindsay Merbaum, in which twin tales of atmospheric hotel horror shed insight into the queer experience; Bram Stoker Award finalist Three Days in the Pink Tower, by EV Knight, a reclamation of power through the mechanism of autofiction and the mythology of the tarot after an event of abuse; and Foreword INDIES finalist Edendale, by Jacquelyn Stolos, a literary fiction ecohorror that follows the lives of four twenty-somethings in an update to Girls.
In fall 2024, Creature will publish Necrology by Meg Ripley, a feminist folk horror set in a fantastical alternate Upstate New York during the aftermath of the Salem witch trials, in which women have signed a contract to swear off their innate magic in return for freedom from the violence of non-magical men. It will be up to an eight-year-old orphaned girl to unleash the bloody revolution that will restore the women’s right to wield their power.
Creature Publishing will celebrate its fifth anniversary next year. What have been some of the rewards and challenges of establishing a new small press? What are your goals for your fifth year?
Establishing a small press has been an experience! Rewards abound: Getting to work with new and established authors on the visions for their stories, the satisfaction of bringing those visions into the world in physical form, the thrill and joy of hearing from readers and bookstore owners who love the books and of sharing that enthusiasm with our authors. The challenges are inherent to any small press endeavor: becoming known, wearing many hats, handling cash flow. In the coming year, we will continue publishing voices in feminist horror, and we are actively looking for our 2025 titles. We continue to seek out a range of stories, always hoping to uncover someone doing something cool and necessary and invigorating that is not yet represented in our catalog.
How can interested writers submit their work to Creature Publishing?
Submission information is available on our website. Writers may submit to us via Submittable during our open submissions period, which in 2024 will be from February 1 to March 31. Writers can also DM Creature on our social media platforms year-round. Agents can contact us year-round at [email protected].
We love working with unagented and agented writers, and we now pay advances on all titles we acquire. If you think you have a story we would be interested in, reach out! We don’t bite, even if your characters do.