You have been warned - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
Michael Botur | Issue 216

Michael Botur

Denver Grenell | Issue 216

Denver Grenell

You have been warned by Madelaine Empson

“Denver and Michael are both 40-something males who stay young by unashamedly enjoying horror and performance.”

So says Michael Botur, the author of five acclaimed short story collections, four novels, the children’s book My Animal Family, and 2023’s Bloodalcohol: Ten Tales. The first Kiwi winner of the Australasian Horror Writers Association Short Story Award for Test of Death, Michael was born in Christchurch and now lives in Whangārei with his two kids. The deal is, “Kids, you can stay up late and I’ll tell you some dark tales, though you may become unnerved. You have been warned.”

Denver Grenell’s stories have been featured in various anthologies from Crystal Lake Publishing, Black Hare Press, Blood Rites Horror, and more. A lifelong horror hound who got back into writing after a long break, the Wairarapa local is enjoying making up for lost time by furiously expelling every idea that’s crossed his brain and collected inside his skull over the years. Releasing his debut collection of short stories The Burning Boy & Other Stories in 2021, Denver cordially invites you to wander through the wasteland of a fresh apocalypse in his latest book 20,000 Bloody Words – A Collection of Horror Flash Fiction.

For the special, spooky, scintillating Spilling Blood: An Evening of Dark Tales, Michael and Denver will come together to present chilling stories and dark poetry at Common Ground Gallery in Featherston on Saturday the 30th of March. While they work within the same genre and have some shared approaches to writing (as Michael outlines, they both take ordinary life experiences, follow the pathos, then have the characters encounter horror), their styles and stories do contrast. Denver hopes this will make the event fun, frightful, and unexpected.

“I would say that Michael’s writing has a strong undercurrent of gritty realism mixed in with the horrific elements, but he does it in such a way that they become beautifully intertwined and inseparable from each other. He really goes for the jugular in some of his short stories and they shake you up, in a good way”, Denver explains. “Whereas my writing, while not without its share of darkness and horror, is aiming to give you a feeling more akin to watching horror movies as an adolescent. I am always chasing that feeling of sneaking into the lounge when everyone is asleep and putting A Nightmare on Elm Street on the VCR and seeking those late-night illicit thrills.”

When it comes to Spilling Blood: An Evening of Dark Tales, Michael says the two love putting their work in front of audiences.

“And we both believe that horror has become a ‘smart’ genre. Anyone who still thinks horror is just about blood and guts and screaming hasn’t kept up with the news. We live in one of the most anxious times in the history of civilisation – and smart artists understand that horror is a genre which reflects this universal angst.”

View more articles from:
« Issue 216, March 26, 2024