Ali Fisher at Tor Teen has acquired, in an exclusive submission, The White Guy Dies First edited by Terry J. Benton-Walker—a YA horror anthology featuring 13 authors of color writing short stories in which the white guy always dies first. Publication is slated for Summer 2024; Patrice Caldwell at New Leaf Literary & Media did the deal for world English rights.
The White Guy Dies First is a collection of thirteen chilling and subversive horror stories for young adults that center characters of color and upend classic horror tropes. In addition to a contribution from Benton-Walker, the volume will include short stories from bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming authors of color: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Kalynn Bayron, Kendare Blake, H.E. Edgmon, Lamar Giles, Chloe Gong, Alexis Henderson, Tiffany D. Jackson, Adiba Jaigirdar, Naseem Jamnia, Mark Oshiro, and Karen Strong.
From the editor, Terry J. Benton-Walker:
Viewing Jordan Peele’s Get Out for the first time in a theater packed with other Black people was a visceral experience that many of us will remember for the rest of our lives. The atmosphere in the theater was palpable, as we all felt the cathartic joy of witnessing characters who looked like us, who we could identify strongly with, triumphing over the forces of evil and living our ancestors’ wildest dreams. This was something many of us had felt for the first time.
Artists like Peele, Green, and del Toro have mastered initiating tough conversations that can make people very uncomfortable but in an incredibly imaginative and theatrical way that still entertains diverse audiences. People of color have yearned for this type of representation for decades. We’d love to see Black people fight against a supernatural slasher like Michael Myers or Freddy Kreuger, or a group of Latinx friends working together to survive the zombie apocalypse like The Last of Us, or a South Asian cast battling evil spirits in a haunted house like The Haunting of Hill House. There are innumerable ways BIPOC can lead engaging narratives in horror. The industry’s showing signs of catching up with recent works like Lovecraft Country, Us, Black Box, Evil Eye, and the Curse of La Llorona—but horror audiences are craving more.
Terry J. Benton-Walker writes fiction for adults, young adults, and children, which also means he spends a lot of time holed up in coffee shops. Terry is the author of Blood Debts, his magical YA contemporary fantasy debut, coming from Tor Teen in the US on April 4, 2023 and from Hodder & Stoughton in the UK on April 6, 2023. Blood Debts is also publishing in Poland with Poznaski and We Need YA Books. Alex Wise vs the End of the World, his apocalyptic MG contemporary fantasy debut, is also coming from Labyrinth Road/PRH in Fall 2023. Terry grew up in rural GA and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master’s in Business Administration from Georgia State. He lives in Atlanta with his husband and son. When he’s not writing, he can be found gaming, eating ice cream, or both.