In Scottish folklore, the Cailleach isn’t someone you’d want to mess with. She’s a fearsome character with white hair, a dark blue face, rust-coloured teeth and a single eye in the middle of her forehead; she whips up great storms and ice forms in her wake. But here, in her green, fertile and tranquil glen, I discovered only her gentle side.
The good news is that, here in Ireland, we have many powerful female role models in our native traditions. Irish mythology is highly female-centred. Just as in other Celtic-speaking nations, the pre-Christian Irish divine female in her various incarnations was deeply grounded and rooted in place, indivisible from her distinctive, haunting landscapes.
An inspiring piece by Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women author Sharon Blackie in the Irish Times.
For the past two weeks, over on Twitter, there has been a wonderful blog tour of reviews for Sharon Blackie’s Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women. We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response. Here are just some of our highlights:
‘This is a remarkable collection of short stories from a writer of immense talent. Magical, powerful and it is literature at its most affecting. I want the world to read it.’ @walescrazy
‘These stories are so beautifully written that there were sections which gave me actual goosebumps ’ @rowsonemma1
‘In this extraordinary collection we allow our imagination full reign in stories which set fire the soul, which are in turn both mournful and uplifting, hauntingly beautiful and inherently dangerous. Beautifully written and highly original in their delivery, the author’s natural story-telling ability shines through with every well written word, capturing the very essence of our long forgotten myths and folklore.’ @jaffareadstoo
‘Here is magic, heartbreak, love, fear and power. It is beautifully written and really touches a nerve at times and will make you laugh and cry.’ @lelbudge
‘I’m just going to come out and say it. This is the best short story collection I have EVER read.’ @paperbackpiano
‘Witchy, wild and wonderful’ @RACHELb75
‘Sometimes I come across a book where the language is so beautiful and clever that I am in literary ecstasy; this is one of those books.’ @corkyorky
Other blog posts were by: @books_b_t_story, @ramblingmads, @bookkaz, @yesmoreblogs, @Dramahuman31, @RosieCawkwell, @TheLiteraryShed, @NorthernReader, @apaulmurphy, @Shalini_G26, @Sweeet83, @imyril. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and generous reviews. We are so thrilled Foxfire, Wolfskin meant so much to so many of you.
Thank you also for your praise of Leo Nickolls’ cover art and Helen Nicholson’s illustrations.
A lovely big piece by Sharon Blackie in The Scotsman about how myths and stories can help readers through some of life’s great upheavals. An article that ties in with the publication of Foxfire, Wolfskin and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
Sharon Blackie was on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour this morning, interviewed by Jane Garvey and giving an enticing introduction to Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women.
Listen again here at 19 mins 20.