Charis Books and More Logo

Queer Horror Across Time: Gwendolyn Kiste and Lee Mandelo in Conversation

Event date: 
Wednesday, March 20, 2024 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

This event takes place in person at Charis and on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. This event is free, but registration is required for virtual attendance. Click here to register to attend virtually. Please read the in-person event guidelines at the bottom of this page to be sure you can participate in the event.

Charis welcomes Gwendolyn Kiste in conversation with Lee Mandelo for a celebration of their respective novels, The Haunting of Velkwood and The Woods All Blackeach is a queer horror story across time.  The Haunting of Velkwood (Kiste) is a chilling novel about three childhood friends who miraculously survive the night everyone in their suburban hometown turned into ghosts—perfect for fans of YellowjacketsThe Woods All Black (Mandelo) is equal parts historical horror, trans romance, and blood-soaked revenge, all set in 1920s Appalachia.

The Velkwood Vicinity was the topic of occult theorists, tabloid one-hour documentaries, and even some pseudo-scientific investigations as the block of homes disappeared behind a near-impenetrable veil that only three survivors could enter—and only one has in the past twenty years, until now. Award-winning author Gwendolyn Kiste has created a suburban ghost story about a small town that trapped three young women who must confront the past if they’re going to have a future. 

The Woods All Black is a story of passion, prejudice, and power — an Appalachian period piece that explores reproductive justice and bodily autonomy, the terrors of small-town religiosity, and the necessity of fighting tooth and claw to live as who you truly are.

Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award­–winning author of The Rust MaidensAnd Her Smile Will Untether the UniversePretty Marys All in a RowThe Invention of GhostsBoneset & Feathers, and Reluctant Immortals. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Tor’s NightfireVastarienBlack StaticDaily Science FictionUnnervingInterzone, and LampLight, as well as Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy series, among others. Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts.

LEE MANDELO is a writer, critic, and occasional editor whose fields of interest include speculative and queer fiction, especially when the two coincide. His debut novel, Summer Sons, which has been featured in NPR and the Chicago Review of Books, is a contemporary Southern gothic dealing with queer masculinity, fast cars, and ugly inheritances. Other work can be found in magazines such as Tor.com, Uncanny, and Nightmare; he has also been a past nominee for awards, including the Nebula, Lambda, and Hugo. Aside from a stint overseas learning to speak Scouse, Mandelo has spent his life ranging across Kentucky, currently living in Louisville and pursuing a PhD at the University of Kentucky.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage

In-person event guidelines: 

  • All attendees must wear a face mask at all times inside the building 

  • We will begin seating people at 7:00 PM ET.

  • This event will be live-streamed via crowdcast. Click here to register to attend virtually.

  • As a reminder: If you are not feeling well, please do not come to the event.

  • If you have any questions regarding these guidelines or to request specific accessibility accommodations, please contact info@charisbooksandmore.com or call the store at 404-524-0304

If you would like to watch the virtual event with computer-generated captions, please watch in Google Chrome and enable captions. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to info@chariscircle.org. We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we continue to connect across distances.

By attending our event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to info@chariscircle.org immediately.

Event address: 
A Charis Hybrid (in-person + virtual) Event
184 S. Candler Street
Decatur, GA 30030
The Haunting of Velkwood By Gwendolyn Kiste Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781982172374
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: S&S/Saga Press - March 5th, 2024

From Bram Stoker Award­–winning author Gwendolyn Kiste comes a chilling novel about three childhood friends who miraculously survive the night everyone in their suburban hometown turned into ghosts—perfect for fans of Yellowjackets.

The Velkwood Vicinity was the topic of occult theorists, tabloid one-hour documentaries, and even some pseudo-scientific investig


The Woods All Black By Lee Mandelo Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250790316
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tordotcom - March 19th, 2024

The Woods All Black is equal parts historical horror, trans romance, and blood-soaked revenge, all set in 1920s Appalachia


Reluctant Immortals By Gwendolyn Kiste Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781982172350
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: S&S/Saga Press - August 23rd, 2022

2023 Lambda Literary Award Winner
2023 Bram Stoker Award Finalist for Superior Achievement in a Novel

For fans of Mexican Gothic, from three-time Bram Stoker Award–winning author Gwendolyn Kiste comes a novel inspired by the untold stories of forgotten women in classic literature—from Lucy Westnera, a victim of Stoker’s Dracula, and Bert


Feed Them Silence By Lee Mandelo Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250824509
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tordotcom - March 14th, 2023

Lee Mandelo dives into the minds of wolves in Feed Them Silence, a novella of the near future.


Summer Sons By Lee Mandelo Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250790293
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tordotcom - August 16th, 2022

Lee Mandelo's debut Summer Sons is a sweltering, queer Southern Gothic that crosses Appalachian street racing with academic intrigue, all haunted by a hungry ghost.


Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction By Lee Mandelo (Editor) Cover Image
By Lee Mandelo (Editor)
$20.00
ISBN: 9781590210055
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lethe Press - May 1st, 2012

Speculative fiction is the literature of questions, of challenges and imagination, and what better to question than the ways in which gender and sexuality have been rigidly defined, partitioned off, put in little boxes?


Event Summary: 
Charis welcomes Gwendolyn Kiste in conversation with Lee Mandelo for a celebration of their respective novels, The Haunting of Velkwood and The Woods All Black, each is a queer horror story across time.