1.  Jackson, who was probably born Dec. 14, 1916 (some sources say 1919) and died August 8, 1965, is of course best known for her chilling short story “The Lottery.”

2.  Her six completed novels include the horror classic The Haunting of Hill House, as well as the rather sinister We Have Always Lived in the Castle and the end-of-the-world The Sundial.  (The first two are fairly easy to find; the last is worth searching out.)

3.  We Have Always Lived in the Castle was adapted for the stage for a short Broadway run in the 1960s; more recently, it has been musicalized by Adam Bock and Todd Almond and received a production at Yale Repertory Theatre.  (An interesting choice, but hey – so was Sweeney Todd.)

4.  Jackson married Stanley Hyman, who became a noted literary and jazz critic.  They met while they were students at Syracuse University.

5.  When “The Lottery” was published in the June 26, 1948 issue of The New Yorker, it created an unexpected furor, with many readers cancelling their subscriptions in anger.  The country of South Africa banned it altogether (which Jackson felt was a compliment.)

6.  Jackson was also well known for her short stories which dealt with domestic and family issues, many of which had some basis in her own life.  (Written kind of like Erma Bombeck, if she’d had a slightly wicked little imp sitting on her shoulder.)

7.  She enjoyed her writing work, describing it one time as “the only way I can get to sit down.”  (One gets the impression that the domestic life was not always her favorite.)

8.  Jackson’s death was due to heart failure, likely brought about by both her smoking habit and her weight problems.

9.  Established in 2007, the Shirley Jackson Awards honor works in several categories (e.g., novella, novella, short fiction, etc.) in the area of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.  The most recent novel winner is Witches on the Road Tonight by Sheri Holman.

10.   Talking about the opening paragraph of The Haunting of Hill House, Stephen King once wrote that “there are few if any descriptive passages in the English language that are any finer than this; it is the sort of quiet epiphany every writer hopes for: words that somehow transcend the sum of the parts.”

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