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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Lois Duncan

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Lois Duncan

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Full Name: Lois Duncan Steinmetz
Born: April 28, 1934
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died: June 15, 2016
Bradenton, Florida, U.S.
Occupation: Writer, journalist
Nationality: American


Lois Duncan Steinmetz known as Lois Duncan, was an American writer, novelist, poet, and journalist. She is best known for her young-adult novels, and has been credited by historians as a pioneering figure in the development of young adult fiction, particularly in the genres of horror, thriller, and suspense.

The daughter of professional photographers Lois and Joseph Janney Steinmetz, Duncan began writing at a young age, publishing two early novels under the pen name Lois Kerry. Several of her novels, including Hotel for Dogs (1971), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973), Summer of Fear (1976), and the controversial Killing Mr. Griffin (1978), have been adapted into films.

In addition to her novels and children's books, Duncan published several collections of poetry and non-fiction, including Who Killed My Daughter? (1992), which detailed the 1989 unsolved murder of Duncan's teenage daughter, Kaitlyn. She received the 1992 Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her contribution to writing for teens. After her daughter's murder, Duncan would distance herself from the thriller and horror genres, shifting her focus to picture books and novels aimed for young children. Her last published work, a sequel to Who Killed My Daughter? titled One to the Wolves, was published in 2013.

Duncan is credited by many critics and journalists as a pioneering figure of young adult fiction, particularly the teen suspense and horror genres, and has been dubbed the "queen of teen thrillers." As noted by Emily Langer of The Washington Post, Duncan often "plucked her characters from normalcy and placed them in extraordinary, often dark circumstances," in contrast to her contemporaries such as Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and Robert Cormier.

In 2014, Duncan was awarded the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America.

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