The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is proud to welcome Nuzo Onoh, British-Nigerian writer and “The Queen of African Horror”

Onoh will present “African Horror: Shades of Superstition“, a class focused on the evolution and identity of the literary genre of African Horror, using the West African region as an anchor. Guiding the class through the representation, meaning, evolution, and great significance of African Horror lit, using examples ranging from folk tales to early published books to expand on its great scope and intimate connection to community and superstition.

This lecture aims to introduce students to the African Horror literary genre. While African Horror films have made great strides in recent years, thanks to the Nollywood film industry and the South African Horror Film Festival, African horror literary fiction is still to take its rightful place in the commercial horror market. There will be an exploration of the term “African Horror”, and how it is portrayed by the popular media before discussing its place as a bona-fide literary genre, similar to other regional horror genres and its classification by distributors. There will also be discussion around what constitutes African horror, and what makes it different from horror fiction written by people of African descent.

With over 4000 African tribes and counting, it would be impossible to study African Horror under one uniform blanket as each tribe has its own unique culture and lore. Onah will focus on the West African (specifically, Nigerian) region in discussing the evolution of African Horror from folk tales under the moonlight to early written works such as Amos Tutuolas’s The Palmwine Drinkard (1952), Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa’s Indaba, My Children: African Folktale (1964), to later African Horror works such as Ben Okri’s The Famished Road (1993) and Nuzo Onoh’s The Sleepless (2016).

There will be an examinination the mythos of African Horror, the lore, the superstitions that surround death, burial rites and the afterlife in African communities and the role colonialism, Christianity, politics, poverty and globalisation have played in creating situations that give rise to evils such as the harvesting of Albino body parts, the killing of child witches and the kidnapping of humans for witchcraft or political motives. These true-life horrors have all been bred by superstition, and these superstitions form the ethos behind most African Horror literature.

Onah will also look at African horror in relation to the genre pool, especially as relates issues of negative stereotyping of the continent and the prevalence of poverty and other true-life horror situations in the continent which has led some critics to question the relevance of African Horror genre amidst these real-life problems.


The African Horror: Shades of Superstition class will take place on April 11th at The Horse Hospital at 7pm. Find out more and book tickets here.