Anne Rice, Acclaimed Gothic Novelist, Dead at 80

She is best known for her fiction about vampires

Anne Rice
Portrait of American author Anne Rice as she poses in her garden, Berkeley, California, May 1976.
Janet Fries/Getty Images

Generations of readers mourned on Sunday after hearing the news that author Anne Rice had died at the age of 80. Her son, novelist Christopher Rice, took to social media to announce his mother’s death, following complications from a stroke. Rice’s 1976 novel Interview With the Vampire put her on the map for horror fiction, though her bibliography includes everything from erotica to fiction about the early life of Jesus Christ.

“As a writer, she taught me to defy genre boundaries and surrender to my passions,” her son wrote. And Rice’s range of work embodied that defiance — and inspired a host of writers over the years as well. As noted by The New York Times, Rice also had a vibrant community of fans, who gathered regularly at readings and other events. For a time, Rice’s phone number was also publicly available, which prompted several memorable reminiscences, including one from Blondie guitarist Chris Stein.

In a 2014 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rice spoke about finding an emotional resonance with the horrific elements of her fiction. “I agonize over some of the dark and cruel things that I write,” she said. “I want them, for me, to be effective and authentic and dramatic and moral, I guess.”

Rice’s influence as a writer can be seen from the vast array of tributes to her life and work pouring in on social media. She turned a very specific set of interests into a wildly successful career as a writer, and created a thriving community around her work before that was a popular phenomenon. She was a singular figure in the literary world, and she left a substantial influence on it.

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