A few months ago we asked who was worthy of ‘national treasure’ status from Liverpool and, to our surprise, no-one mentioned horror writer Clive Barker.

Barker’s one of those Liverpool alumni who goes under the radar somewhat, perhaps because he upped sticks and moved to the States 25 years ago following his famed The Hellbound Heart novella and the Books of Blood anthology that spawned Hellraiser and Candyman respectively, the latter inspired by a short story set in Toxteth.

Hellbound Hearts: The Influence of Clive Barker on 21st Century Horror will aim to counter Barker’s relatively low profile in his home city and constitute the UK’s official launch of the Hellbound Hearts anthology – a collection of stories that explore the Hellraiser mythology.

“Clive’s significance to the cultural life of Liverpool is underplayed, with very little reference to his connections to the city these days,” says Twisted Tales organsier David McWilliam.

“Ramsey Campbell was the first Liverpudlian to write horror for a wide audience and to great critical acclaim; he was also one of Clive’s formative influences as a horror author.

“Clive’s meteoric rise helped to publicize Ramsey’s work to an international audience, most notably through his introduction to the Books of Blood.”

Campbell will also be on hand to discuss Barker’s work, along with Mark Morris who contributed to Hellbound Hearts, edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan. All three will give readings of their stories from the anthology.

Despite the obvious Liverpool connection, McWilliam is in no doubt as to Barker’s significance in the wider world of horror.

“Without doubt, the release of the Books of Blood in the mid-1980s changed the parameters for commercially successful horror.

“From interviewing many horror authors, Clive is referenced time and again as a major influence. It’s hard to overstate his significance to the genre.”

The event will examine of one of Liverpool’s “greatest cultural exports”, says McWilliam – an export unlikely to be commemorated in Liverpool’s museums any time soon.

Hellbound Hearts: The Influence of Clive Barker on 21st Century Horror
Waterstones, Liverpool ONE
6pm, Friday 5 August
Entry is £2 but redeemable against horror books in the store

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