Born in Miami, Florida, L. Andrew Cooper grew up in South Carolina and Georgia, owing most of his early education to public schools in the suburbs of Atlanta. From there he went off to Harvard, where his love of all things literary became an obsession with all echelons of culture: he debated the merits of Shakespeare and Stephen King with equal passion. Interest in the latter, darker side of contemporary fiction led to his dissertation on the Gothic and horror at Princeton, which also led him to establish his reputation as a horror expert. Writing and teaching about everything from the first Gothic shockers of the eighteenth century to the most recent scandalous horror films, Cooper began publishing articles and finally books about the scary stuff, culminating in his two academic volumes, Gothic Realities (McFarland, 2010) and Dario Argento (University of Illinois Press, 2012).
Throughout his academic career—and his entire life—Cooper kept scribbling his own fiction and poetry, and in 2012, he hooked up with a small press and published his first novel, Burning the Middle Ground. He followed this novel with a second dark thriller, Descending Lines (2013) and two collections of short stories, Leaping at Thorns (2014) and Peritoneum (2016), which received encouraging notices for Cooper’s uses of style and characterization. During these years he also co-edited several books, including a textbook, Monsters (2012) and two collections of short stories, Imagination Reimagined (2014) and Reel Dark (2015). In 2016, both Leaping at Thorns and Reel Dark had short runs through new editions. At that point, Cooper started focusing on developing new projects beyond the niche that nurtured him—he still likes the scary stuff, but current work centers more on the intimately personal (in formally rigorous poetry) and the more imaginatively propelling (in genre-bending prose).
Given how and where he grew up, Cooper will always think of himself as a Southerner, but he has lived in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Kentucky, and now California—an American from all over. As a gay man with bipolar disorder and a few other quirks, he can check a few adversity boxes, but most of the time life is groovy with his husband in North Hollywood, where he spends far too much time pecking out words on his keyboard.