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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Spotlight on Hell's Hundred

Frankie Harnett, Natalie Klinkenberg, Chloë Marshall and Alice Fusai


Founded in 1986, New York-based publisher Soho Press has been around for a number of

decades, publishing between 80–100 titles a year across its various imprints. Most recently

established is Hell’s Hundred, named in reference to the Soho neighbourhood’s bleak

history as an industrial wasteland prone to fires and dedicated to the publication of “bold

visions of horror.” The imprint will be publishing everything from the classic to the

contemporary: horror stories which entertain the supernatural, indulge glamorously in gore,

and bring back relics from the genre’s past with renewed perspective and vigour. Horror

stories have long fascinated humanity: their psychological complexity and characteristic

exploration of repressed emotions and taboo topics allows an opportunity for catharsis in a

controlled environment. Fear and excitement bring us together; horror stories are apt to

generate a cult following, meaning Hell’s Hundred are certainly on the right track by

curating a selection of today’s most terrifying tales.


Hell’s Hundred wasn’t an idea that Soho Press had any plans for bringing to life. Instead,

after an increase in the number of horror/horror-adjacent submissions at Soho Press, the

rise in cultural fixation with horror from the public, and the passion of editors Taz Urnov and

Nick Whitney – the Monster Squad of Soho Press – raised Hell’s Hundred from the ground

up.


Soho Press was consistently seeing a lot of horror submissions that didn’t exactly fit one of

their existing imprints but that they loved, nonetheless. With encouragement from

Publisher Bronwen Hruska, the Monster Squad began their deep dive into the world of

horror. Hell’s Hundred’s creation came after Urnov and Whitney did their homework. They

read countless books and began to research the market and what people were itching to read, ultimately deciding that the best course of action was to create a new imprint to solidify a

place in publishing’s haunted house.


With over 120 horror movies coming out globally alone in 2023, it’s safe to say that the

Monster Squad’s decision to launch a new imprint came at the right time. Whitney

specifically references Jordan Peele and his impact on the genre for why this is the perfect

time for Hell’s Hundred to come to life. In the foreword of Out There Screaming, Peele’s

edited anthology of Black horror authors, he writes, “Horror is a catharsis as

entertainment.” Horror is something that audiences are reaching for to experience a thrill

and a release no other genre can provide – and Hell’s Hundred’s bold books will be able to

do so, providing the “fertile ground for new nightmares to take root” (Hell’s Hundred.)

Hell’s Hundred is launching itself into the market with a bold new list. At the forefront of

this is their republication of Sara Gran’s 2003 cult classic Come Closer, which eerily follows

Amanda through her everyday life while she starts realising she is experiencing demonic

possession. The story escalates from little incidents like strange dreams and writing

obscenities about her boss to gruesome violence that Amanda cannot remember when she

wakes up.


The publishers have also acquired up an exciting lineup of original stories to be published

over the next two years. One of their first books to break into the market is E. K. Sathe’s

Youthjuice, which can be best as a sinister modern-day Dorian Gray. Protagonist Sophia is

desperately searching for an escape from the monotony of her everyday life and becomes

addicted to the skincare of a luxury wellness company, where she discovers the terrible cost

of everlasting beauty. Sathe’s story acts not only as a compelling horror story with elements

that leave you shaken but also as a satirical critique of the beauty industry and modern-day

influencers, making it a must-read after its, release this spring.


As a stark break from these contemporary works, next year’s release The Butcher’s

Daughter by David Demchuk and Corrine Leigh Clark explores horror in a historical

landscape, taking place in Victorian England. This story unravels a gruesome mystery

through decades in an exchange of letters between journalist Emily and a confined elderly

woman who may be responsible for a string of particularly brutal murders. While Hell’s

Hundred has yet to finish establishing themselves, it’s undeniable that their upcoming book

list is one to watch out for.


As the imprint prepares to carve its niche in the literary landscape, it stands poised to

become a beacon for horror enthusiasts, offering a rich tapestry of nightmares to explore

and enjoy. With Hell’s Hundred, Soho Press ventures into the shadows, embracing the

darkness with courage and conviction, and inviting readers to join them on an unforgettable

journey into the heart of terror.

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