Love Shirley Jackson? Sign This Petition

by Caitlin White

Her short story is one of the most celebrated of all time, and her face is seen in English classrooms across the country, but fans of Shirley Jackson hope that a new movement can make her even more recognizable. Random House created a petition to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee to issue a U.S. postage stamp honoring Jackson. The horror writer of short story "The Lottery," as well as the famous novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, among others, is an icon for women in the genre.

If the petition is accepted and a stamp is designed in Jackson's honor, it should coincide well with the 100th anniversary of Jackon's birthday. In addition, next year Random House will release a book containing the author's unpublished work, called Let Me Tell You, and critic Ruth Franklin is writing a biography of Jackson, to be published in 2016.

Jackson is often overlooked and under-appreciated when it comes to icons of mid-20th century fiction literature, while heaps of praise are doled out to her peers, such as Norman Mailer and Philip Roth. In a 2010 article, Newsweek even disparaged the Library of America for recognizing Jackson:

And then, in May, here comes an entire volume dedicated to …. Shirley Jackson? A writer mostly famous for one short story, "The Lottery." Is LOA about to jump the shark?

But the tides seems to be shifting her way, with the establishment of the Shirley Jackson Awards in her honor, recognizing achievement in psychological suspense and horror. And yes, that Library of America collection did come out for Jackson, and it was edited by one of her highly respected contemporaries, Joyce Carol Oates. Now, she's getting even more deserved recognition with this petition to make a Shirley Jackson stamp.

If the petition is granted, Jackson will join major female authors such as Louisa May Alcott, Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston, and Edith Wharton, who have all already been honored on U.S. postage stamps.

Images: Wikimedia Commons (2)