Listen to Shirley Jackson Read Her Spooky Story 'The Lottery'

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Shirley Jackson’s horror story “The Lottery” is one of the most famous short stories in modern American literature. The disturbing tale, first published in The New Yorker in 1948—to the shock and consternation of many readers—surrounds an annual ritual in a small town, where every member of the community draws lots to determine who among them will be stoned to death.

The story was later adapted for radio, television, and the stage, and while Jackson died of heart failure in 1965, you can still hear the story performed by the author herself. An audio version of “The Lottery” was released by Folkways Records in 1960, with Jackson narrating. As part of the same audiobook, you can also listen to “The Daemon Lover,” a haunting story about a woman searching for her enigmatic fiancé on their wedding day. They were both published in Jackson’s 1949 anthology The Lottery and Other Stories.

Smithsonian Folkways

Jackson’s work is experiencing a bit of a renaissance, thanks to a new biography of the author by journalist and book critic Ruth Franklin and the June 2016 release of a new collection of her previously unpublished fiction and nonfiction, edited by her children and Franklin. A graphic adaptation of “The Lottery” by Jackson's grandson, the Paris-based artist Miles Hyman, goes on sale on October 25.

A digital download of the two stories is $7, or you can shell out $17 for a CD or $22 for a cassette copy. If audio isn’t your style, you can read “The Daemon Lover” on Google Books and “The Lottery” here.

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