The New Abject: Tales of Modern Unease with York St John University

11 May 2021 - 7.00PM

Tuesday 11th May

7-8pm (UK time)

FREE – register via Eventbrite.


Join us for a showcase of the latest addition to our award-winning modern horror series, followed by a Q&A.


Something has fallen away... We have lost a part of ourselves, our history, what we once were. That something, when we encounter it again, look it straight in the eyes, disgusts us, makes us retch. This is the horror of the abject. 


Saleem Haddad and Gaia Holmes, contributing authors of The New Abject, join us in conversation with Rob O'Connor, Lecturer in Creative Writing and Creative Industries at York St John University. We will discuss their stories and experiences writing horror short fiction inspired by the abject. Becca Parkinson (Comma Press) will then briefly speak about her experience in publishing. Closing with an opportunity for questions from the audience with the panellists.


The New Abject brings together parallel theories of the abject resulting in visceral short stories of modern unease. As we become increasingly desensitised to the world around us, our ability to tolerate difference or 'other', atrophies. Like all good horror writing, these stories remind us that exposure to what unsettles us, even in small doses, is always better than pretending it doesn’t exist. 


Saleem Haddad is the author of the novel, Guapa (2016), which won the 2017 Polari Prize and was awarded a Stonewall Honour. His essays have appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, LitHub, The Baffler and the LARB, among other places, and his short fiction in Palestine + 100 (Comma, 2019). Saleem lives between Lisbon and Beirut.


Gaia Holmes is a freelance writer and creative writing tutor who works with schools, universities, libraries and other community groups throughout the West Yorkshire region. She runs ‘Igniting The Spark’, a weekly writing workshop at Dean Clough, Halifax, and is the co-host of ‘MUSE-LI’, an online writing group. She has had three full length poetry collections published by Comma Press: Dr James Graham’s Celestial Bed (2006) Lifting The Piano With One Hand(2013), Where The Road Runs Out (2018) and Tales from the Tachograph, a collaborative work with Winston Plowes (Calder Valley Poetry, 2017). Gaia is currently turning her attention towards writing short stories. 


This event is presented as a collaboration between Comma Press, York St John University, York Centre for Writing and York Literature Festival.