Thomas Ligotti (born July 9, 1953 in Detroit, Michigan) is a contemporary American horror author and reclusive literary cult figure. His writings are unique in style, have been noted as major continuations of several literary genres –most prominently Lovecraftian horror– and have overall been variously described as works of "philosophical horror," often written as philosophical novels with a "darker" undertone which is similar to gothic fiction. The Washington Post called him "the best kept secret in contemporary horror fiction"; another critic declared "It's a skilled writer indeed who can suggest a horror so shocking that one is grateful it was kept offstage."
His unique and affecting tales gathered a small following. Ligotti's relative anonymity and reclusiveness led to speculation about his identity: Was Ligotti a pseudonym used by a prominent literary writer? Were his stories in fact collaborations of multiple authors? In an introduction to a 1996 collection of Ligotti fiction, The Nightmare Factory, Poppy Z. Brite mentioned these notions, with a rhetorical question: "Are you out there, Thomas Ligotti?"
In recent years, Ligotti has conducted interviews and disclosed some details of his background. For twenty-three years Ligotti worked as an Associate Editor at Gale Research (now the Gale Group), a publishing company that produces compilations of literary (and other) research. In the summer of 2001, Ligotti quit his job at the Gale Group and moved to south Florida. His favorite music is generally instrumental rock.
Ligotti's worldview has been described as profoundly nihilistic (though he's wary of the label, stating thus: "'Nihilist' is a name that other people call you. No intelligent person has ever described or thought of himself as a nihilist."), and has stated he has suffered from chronic anxiety for much of his life; these have been prominent themes in his work.
Ligotti has stated he prefers short stories to longer forms, both as a reader and writer, though he has recently written a novella, My Work Is Not Yet Done.
Ligotti has collaborated with the musical group Current 93 on the albums In A Foreign Town, In A Foreign Land (1997, reissued 2002), I Have a Special Plan for This World (2000) and This Degenerate Little Town (2001) all released on David Tibet's Durtro label.