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Hi – I’m Sam and I write fiction. Sometimes horror and ghost stories, sometimes gothic or historical, but always dark and atmospheric. Check out my work, and get in touch below.

Recent publications

The Hunting of the Masu’wa – strange rituals in an M.R. Jamesian style

Ghosts and Scholars M.R. James newsletter, issue 41. For subscriptions contact lostclub [at] btopenworld [dot] com or contact me using the form below.

Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

Blood, Fish and Bone – whatever is she feeding them?

Photo by Alina Sofia on Unsplash

Five per cent

“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” – HP Lovecraft

Photo by Daniel Olah on Unsplash

Rook – two stories of arrival in Oxford

In the printed anthology Departures and Arrivals by Oxford Writing Circle.

Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

Follower – who is this, who is coming?

Photo: Taofeek Obafemi-Babatunde on Unsplash

Dead End – a shadow hanging in a flash of light.

Photo by Leonardo Yip on Unsplash

Sold – can a folk horror ritual change the world?

Photo by Rosie Fraser on Unsplash

The Librarian – a gothic tale of books unopened.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič – @specialdaddy on Unsplash

This one was 3rd placed at the 2019 ChipLitFest short story competition but the webpage has disappeared for the moment.

Hurry Up Please, It’s Time – who are these travellers on a lonely road?

The Wrathful Sky – a tale of alienation in five acts

Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

Annunciation – angels don’t always bring welcome news

In the printed anthology Oxford’s Haunted by Oxford Writing Circle.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

My Work


My short stories and articles have been published in online magazines The Quiet Reader, Coffin-Bell,,,, as well as in the printed anthologies Oxford’s Haunted and Departures and Arrivals.


Highly commended in the 2019 Manchester Fiction Prize for “Dead End”.

My story “The Hunting of the Masu’wa” was longlisted for the Bath Short Story Award 2019.

“The Librarian” won 3rd prize in the ChipLitFest short story competition 2019, judged by Nicholas Royle.

Get in touch

Follow me on Twitter @SamDerby9 or get in touch via the contact form; or I can often be found at meetings of the Oxford Writing Circle.

About Me

I’ve studied, lived and worked in Oxford, UK, for about 25 years. My major inspirations are Shirley Jackson, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe and MR James though I am also a huge fan and occasional scholar of 18th century literature, especially Alexander Pope and Christopher Smart.

(If you were expecting to be reading something about educational publishing, try or