After a brief stint in the US Army overseas, where he began writing horror stories to entertain fellow soldiers, he moved to Colorado where he launched his career in publishing to much success. By the mid-nineties he received the coveted Bram Stoker Award — the highest accolade in the horror genre — for his first novel, Grave Markings. Shortly thereafter, he went on to earn a Master’s degree while working on his second novel, soon followed by his Ph.D. in English at the University of Oregon, where he studied horror and nostalgia in 20th century culture in a dissertation called The Popular Uncanny.
Michael Arnzen now lives near Pittsburgh with his wife and cats. He is a tenured Professor of English at Seton Hill University, where he teaches in an innovative MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. His latest works include Proverbs for Monsters (winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Fiction Collection), Audiovile (a unique spoken word CD featuring original music), and Many Genres, One Craft (an instructional guide for novelists, co-edited with Heidi Ruby Miller). The Gorelets Omnibus — a new compendium of twisted “gorelets” poetry and weirdisms from Raw Dog Screaming Press — features the best of his online work via this website and elsewhere over the past dozen years.
Arnzen also runs Mastication Publications, an umbrella imprint for creative ephemera, chapbooks, collector’s items and independently published ebooks.
“In a little over a decade, Michael A. Arnzen has achieved what few writers manage in a lifetime. He has become the master of a brand of literature that is uniquely his own, and I do not doubt that his approach to horror will soon (if not already) be referred to as ‘Arnzenian.’ When you begin an Arnzen story, you embark on a journey where the old maps do not apply. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory, barreling through landscapes more fascinating and twisted than any previously encountered. Be assured: you will be amazed, startled, amused, and creeped out along the way, but whatever the road has in store, you will not be able to stop reading until the story ends. Horrifying, captivating, ironic — Arnzenian! — the works of Michael A. Arnzen are in a class all their own. Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride!” Lawrence C. Connolly, author of Veins
Major Awards and Career HighlightsLiterary Awards:
- Bram Stoker Award for Fiction Collection (Proverbs for Monsters), 2007.
- Bram Stoker Award for Poetry Collection (Freakcidents), 2005.
- Bram Stoker Award for Alternative Forms (The Goreletter), 2003.
- Bram Stoker Award for First Novel (Grave Markings), 1994.
- International Horror Critics Guild Award for First Novel (Grave Markings), 1994.
- Best Fiction Writer, Genre Writers Association, 1995.
- Best New Writer, Small Press Writers and Artists Organization, 1992.
- Bram Stoker Award Finalist: Fiction Collection (100 Jolts, 2004); Poetry Collection (Gorelets: Unpleasant Poems, 2003; Paratabloids, 2001); Alternative Forms (The Goreletter, 2004).
Academic Career Highlights:
- Professor of English and Faculty member, MFA in Writing Popular Fiction (Seton Hill University), 1999-Present.
- Chair of the Humanities (Seton Hill University), 2009-15.
- Professor of the Year Award (Seton Hill University), 2010-11.
- Eye Contact literary magazine advisor (Seton Hill University), 1999-2009; 2016-present.
- Ph.D. in English and American Literature, U Oregon, 1999. M.A. in English (Creative Option), U Idaho, 1994.
Media Features/Interviews Online
Television interview with GoingLive with FCTV (June 2013):
- “Interview: SHU Faculty Curate Vampire Conference in Romania” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review), July 2017.
- “Inky Interview with Horror Writer & Professor Michael Arnzen” (Ink Pantry), June 2017.
- “Horror Writing Career Born in Childhood” (Pittsburgh Tribune Review), Jan 2017.
- “A Sabbatical in Horror” (Seton Hill University feature), Oct 2016.
- HWA Poetry Showcase Interview by editor Stephanie Wytovich (July 2016)
- StokerCon 2016 Interview on Arnzen’s Writing Workshop (May 2016)
- Interview on the Uncanny in SIGMA (.pdf, Jan 2016)
- Interview with Nightsun (June 2015)
- Author Spotlight at DarkMarkets.com (Feb 2014)
- 8 Questions with Pigfender (Feb 2014)
- Going Live w/FCTV television interview (video, June 2013)
- Author Magazine interview with editors Michael Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller (podcast, July 2011)
- International Thriller Writers interview with editors Michael Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller (June 2011)
- Spotlight on editors Michael Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller (April 2011)
- NHRS: Winter Chills with Mike Arnzen (Dec 2010)
- Snark Infested Waters interview (podcast, Oct 2010)
- Odyssey Workshops Interview Michael Arnzen (Dec 2009)
- Interview with The Black Glove magazine (Oct 2009)
- “Audiovile” Interview with Zombie Mall (Sept 2008)
- “Horror Writer Does his Best Work Having Fun” (Textbook & Academic Authors Association, August 2008, .pdf).
- “Ghoulish Goals”, Pittsburgh Professional Magazine, June 2008, .pdf)
- “Writer’s Talk: Michael Arnzen”, NPR affiliate WCBE-FM, 2008, .mp3)
- “Little Things Mean a Lot in Writing Horror” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2007)
- “Oh, The Horror!” Feature by Michael Sims (.pdf, Rezoom magazine, 2007)
- ‘About Audiovile’ Interview (Raw Dog Screaming Press newsletter, 2007)
- “The Amityville Horror (Writer)” (Doorways Magazine, with Stephen M. Wilson, 2007)
- “Pick Six” Interview with Heidi Ruby Miller (2007)
- “New Directions in Horror” (Dissections, 2006)
- “Arnzen Walks the Plank” (Vanderworld, 2006)
- Interview with Dark Discoveries (by James R. Beach, Summer 2005, .pdf)
- “Seton Hill Prof Scares Up Laughs” (Laurel Mountain Post, Fall 2005, .pdf)
- “Grossing Out Teacher” (The Broadsheet, 2005)
- “A Shockingly Short Q&A” (SHU Forward, 2004)
- “Featured Author Michael Arnzen” (Dream People, Oct 2003)
- “On Writing Flash Fiction” (FlashFictionFlash, 2003)
- “Roses are Red, Your PDA is Dead” (MJ Rose, Wired Magazine, Aug 2002)
- “On Arnzen and Rhyme” (Jobs In Hell, 2002)
- “Scare Tactics” (Pittsburgh City Paper, 2001)
- “Horror, Poetry, and Tabloid Truth” (Dark Echo, 2000)
- Seton Hill University
- International Thriller Writers Organization
- Horror Writer’s Association
- Science Fiction Poetry Association
- International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts