Watkins Museum of History: ‘The Dracula Daily’ offers a new way to bite into classic horror

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Over the past two years, Lawrence resident Matt Kirkland has created a monster. And now the public is invited to experience that fascinating creative process in person.

Kirkland’s inventive project is rooted in a classic work of literature that is equally inventive. Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula injected new blood (pardon the pun) into the old vampire horror genre.


An epistolary novel, Dracula is written in the form of letters, diary entries, and newspaper articles featuring the terrifying Count Dracula and the band of mortals battling him. The novel has thrilled and chilled millions of readers to the present day.

Like so many of us, Kirkland had lots of downtime in the summer of 2020. Kirkland reread Dracula and realized that the letters and other epistolary elements in it could be matched to corresponding dates in the present. From this idea was born Dracula Daily — an online newsletter that sends subscribers pieces of the novel for them to experience in real time. Between its debut on May 3, 2021, to the novel’s closing events on Nov. 7, Kirkland’s project became an online sensation. 

Now in 2022, during its second run, “Dracula Daily” has gained more than 250,000 subscribers. According to many followers of the newsletter, Count Dracula turned out to be an unlikely but relatable antihero for these strange times we live in. “Dracula Daily” continues to grow its fanbase and spawn numerous imitators.

This week, Kirkland will partner with the Lawrence Public Library and the Watkins Museum of History to offer an in-person version of “Dracula Daily.” In this free event, part of the library’s Booktoberfest series, Kirkland will play clips of readings from Dracula and discuss the online project. 

This unique event will occur from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Lawrence Public Library. The library asks that those who are interested reserve seats at this link.

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Note: This post has been corrected from a previous version.

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