At the Guardian, author M.O. Walsh tries to account for the global popularity of southern gothic literature. While he attributes much of southern gothic literature’s success to a tradition of oral storytelling, he also suggests that it is the southern novelist’s ability to treat the “grotesque” with empathy that helps to create memorable characters:
Show me a southern gothic novel written by someone who’s not from the south and the odds are that I’ll show you a bad novel. To put it more smartly, there is a difference between writing from the culture and writing about or, at its worst, above it. The southern gothic is, always, from the culture.