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Black Horror novelist Tananarive Due captivates us by weaving fact and fiction

Tananarive Due is a novelist who writes in the genre of Black horror. She’ll be presenting two books at the Book Fair this weekend, including her latest The Reformatory.

The author Tananarive Due wrote a haunted, terrifying horror novel where the people are much scarier than the ghosts.

Her book, The Reformatory, is historical fiction about the infamous Dozier School for Boys in North Florida. Real boys were sent there to the brutal work camp and prison that was disguised as a reform school. They were whipped. Some were killed. And many times, they were buried out back in unmarked graves.

That’s a horror story that’s hard to top, except Due's great-uncle was sent there. And he never came home.

in The Reformatory, Due weaves fact and fiction together. A civil rights lawyer is modeled after her dad, and a tough young woman who fights for her younger brother sent to the school, is modeled after her late mom.

She added ghosts and supernatural elements to the story. And that’s how people know her work, in the genre of Black Horror, like Octavia Butler and Jordan Peele.

Due has been writing in this genre for more than 25 years. Her stories continue to captivate and terrify us. Not because they’re strange, but because they’re familiar.

She’ll be at the Miami Book Fair on Saturday and Sunday.

On the Nov. 14 episode of Sundial, we talk scary stories with Due.

On Sundial’s previous episode, we spoke with Edwidge Danticat. She is the author of several books including Krik Krak and Brother, I’m Dying, which were finalists for the National Book Awards. She’s being honored at the Miami Book Fair’s 40th anniversary celebration.

We’re celebrating books by talking to authors all week. We’ll finish with a taping of Sundial before a live audience when we speak with Carl Hiaasen.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple PodcastsStitcher and Spotify.

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.