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The Painter, the Creature, and the Father of Lies (2011)
A collection by Clive Barker

Edited by Phil and Sarah Stokes

Foreword by Clive Barker
Introduction by Phil and Sarah Stokes

Cover and interior art by Clive Barker

Painter slipcase

SYNOPSIS: From the man who has brought you twenty books of dark fiction and fantasy, unforgettable horror movies such HELLRAISER and CANDYMAN, and countless paintings and illustrations, this is the first-ever collection of Clive Barker’s nonfiction. Representing more than 25 years of writing, THE PAINTER, THE CREATURE, AND THE FATHER OF LIES contains:

  • All the introductions he’s written for his own works (prefaces in fiction and non-fiction books, liner notes on CDs/laserdiscs/DVDs, introductions in graphic novel adaptations, text of theatre playbills, and more);
  • All the forewords and afterwords he’s written on other people’s works (books, graphic novels, etc.); and
  • Essays and articles written for magazines on the horror genre and other topics.

These have never been collected together and many are nearly impossible to track down. Furthermore, from Barker’s personal archives: a couple of unpublished pieces, including an unused self-penned introduction to Volume 1 of the BOOKS OF BLOOD from 1983 written from the point of view of a demon interviewing Clive Barker.

The editors, Phil and Sarah Stokes, who operate the official Clive Barker website at, have spent the past several years compiling these 100 separate pieces to produce a truly definitive work. This collection features a new foreword by Barker, an introduction by the Stokes, and new illustrations by Barker. The numbered and lettered edition will contain bonus material: cover images for the majority of publications in which the nonfiction pieces were first published.

If you haven’t read any of Barker’s nonfiction, you’ll find that it’s just as compelling, enjoyable, and well-written as his fiction. These pieces cover the inspirations for his works, insights into the creative process, and musings on art and the horror genre. Not currently scheduled to be published anywhere else, don’t miss this landmark collection from a modern master of horror and dark fantasy.

THE PAINTER, THE CREATURE, AND THE FATHER OF LIES is published in the following three editions:

Unsigned trade hardcover $35
250 numbered hardcovers, bound in leather and housed in a cloth-covered slipcase, and signed by Clive Barker and Phil and Sarah Stokes $125
26 lettered hardcovers, hand sewn, housed in a handmade traycase, book and traycase made with the finest materials, signed by Clive Barker and Phil and Sarah Stokes, and includes an original sketch by Barker $750

Click here to order a copy

Pictures of the lettered edition, including one of the original illustrations by Barker, bound into the book.

Painter spine

Painter cover

Painter cover 2

Painter art

"A collection of a writer's prefaces and random prose pieces often feels like the mustard-stained bread crusts on a child's plate after lunch. Nutritive quality? Low. Value? Marginal. Overall response? Ugh. That verdict, fortunately, doesn't apply to all collections, especially this one by Clive Barker, a writer perhaps best known for his Hellraiser story and ABARAT saga. THE PAINTER is a thought-provoking look at his thinking about horror, art, and social issues. The energy and candor he brings to these pieces make this collection a provocation to read him if you haven't."
— Los Angeles Times

"This landmark retrospective comprises twenty-five years of essays and incantations from a modern mastermind of the horror genre. A chance viewing of Jean Cocteau's The Testament of Orpheus as a child planted a seed in Clive Barker that grew into a lifelong obsession with escapism, "altered states," and a fetish for all things forbidden. Mysterious by nature, Barker's eloquence transcends absurdity thanks to the editorial expertise of Phil and Sarah Stokes who divided the book thematically into two sections "Complementary" and "Complimentary"—rather than chronologically. Barker's brain is sensationally splattered throughout the first half in articulate meditations and critical essays on censorship and taboo. Here the editors include Barker's introductions, forewords, and afterwards—sublime compositions in their own right, each revealing another piece of his puzzling mind. The latter half of the book cites influential figures in his life, from fellow authors Ray Bradbury and Neil Gaiman, to an unflagging fervor for such luminaries as Francisco Goya and William Blake. An early endorsement from Stephen King and the cult success of Hellraiser thrust Clive Barker into the mainstream; this volume explicates his notorious motives for eschewing the 'commercial route,' refusing to compromise artistic integrity and endeavoring to 'invent anarchic alternatives to the wretched banalities of life'."

"It’s impossible to consider today’s horror genre without taking Barker into account, so deep does his influence run, so many people has he touched with his visions in words and images, on the page and on the screen. He straddles the field like a colossus, one of its prime movers, and this book provides a very welcome point of entry into his thought processes, the ideas and events that made Barker who he is and the body of his work possible. It is required reading for those of us who value his oeuvre, a resource to be cherished."
— Peter Tennant, Black Static Magazine

"Clive Barker has already earned his place amongst the masters of imagination but THE PAINTER, THE CREATURE, AND THE FATHER OF LIES confirms him to be not only a truly gifted but honest writer who has now become a master of the HUMAN and INHUMAN condition…"
— John Nicol, Fangoria Magazine

"An extremely interesting and valuable relic, a summation of Barker's career thus far, and of the state of the horror/dark fantasy genre over the past quarter-century. Barker's opinion is always informed, always entertaining. His intelligence and wit is evident in each piece, as is his hard-earned insight. By opening this tome, you're putting yourself in the hands of a gifted polymorph, unafraid to air his views and happy to teach. The Painter reminds you how consistently inventive and innovative Barker has been for over a quarter of a century."
— Hank Wagner, Dead Reckonings

“This book confirms that Barker is an erudite commentator of fantasy. There are around a hundred essays here, which gives everyone the great opportunity to learn about Barker, about what makes his blood flow, his lungs inflate, his brain fizz. I suggest that the reader takes his/her time and not read this book in sequence, or in one (long) sitting. Delve into it now and again, pick and choose. Savor it as one would a box of chocolates.”
— The British Fantasy Society

“Barker states that most writers pray for three things: a story to tell, an audience to read it, and critics who will delve beneath the surface to find what makes the stories something more. Maybe that is because Clive Barker IS his art, his writing, and his films, and not just a man exploring his ideas. He himself is more than a book of blood — he’s the crimson painting, film maker, and bleeding mind which has shed his visions over his minions over the years and stained them with the need to find their own imagination. This tome will educate and entertain many who believe they know the extent of the writer’s talents. Take your time and savor this, even if not a fan of the man’s work. There’s a good chance that will change by the time it is finished.”
— Horror World