something of the strange and supernatural

December 28, 2017

a glimpse of the future

In weird fiction I am a great admirer of many classic writers in the genre. If I had to pick out one, apart from those you mention, it would be Walter de la Mare. He is today perhaps best known for his poetry, in particular his sublimely creepy poem “The Listeners”. However, he was a great short story writer and deserves to rank alongside, Chekhov, Maupassant and Kipling as one of the supreme masters of the short form. Most of his best tales have something of the strange and supernatural about them (the same incidentally applies, if to a slightly lesser extent, to Kipling, Maupassant and Chekhov): “All Hallows”, “Mr Kempe”, “Crewe”, “Seton’s Aunt” and “A Recluse” are among his finest. Other writers important to my formation as a writer are playwrights such as Pinter and Ayckbourn, Dickens of course, Saki, Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh. Finally I was greatly influenced by my aunt the novelist and poet Stella Gibbons whose biography I wrote and who encouraged my writing at an important early stage.

Reggie Oliver
Interview for Fata Libelli

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