Brite, Poppy Z.

Brite, Poppy Z. (1967–)

(pop culture)

Novelist Poppy Z. Brite emerged in the 1990s as the literary representative of the gothic punk culture, usually thought of as centering on goth music and the nightclubs where it flourishes. She also highlighted the vampiric element of that subculture through her first novel, Lost Souls (1992), which was nominated for Best First Novel of 1992 by the Horror Writers of America and for The Lambda Literary Award.

Brite was born and raised in New Orleans, where she returned after attending college at the University of North Carolina. While establishing herself as an author she held a number of odd jobs, including a stint as an exotic dancer, and still occasionally models. Her first stories appeared in the now-defunct magazine, The Horror Show between 1985 and 1990.

Lost Souls traces the modern adventures of a small group of vampires headed by Zillah, a 100-year-old vampire who, as the result of a one-night stand with a vampire, became the father of Nothing. As the alienated Nothing grew into adolescence, he left the parents who adopted and raised him and headed out to find his roots. He eventually encountered the ageless Zillah, learned the story of his origin, and returned to the French Quarter and the room where he was conceived. Brite followed her initial success with equally fine (if nonvampiric) novels: Swamp Foetus, Drawing Blood, and Exquisite Corpse, and a biography of rock musician and actress Courtney Love-Cobain.

Brite returned to vampires in two anthologies, hailed as among the finest collections of contemporary vampire stories: Love in Vein (1994) and Love in Vein II (1996), but has done very little in the genre since.

Sources:

Brite, P. Z. Lost Souls. New York: Asylum/Delacorte, 1992. 359 pp. Rept. New York: Dell, 1992. 355 pp.
———, ed. Love in Vein. New York: HarperPrism, 1994. 405 pp.
———. Love in Vein II. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
“Interview: Poppy Z. Brite.” Journal of the Dark 6 (Spring 1996): 7–8.