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Matriarch of the glen: walking the Highlands’ hidden pilgrim trail

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. 

Foxfire, Wolfskin author Sharon Blackie in the Guardian, on her walk to a pre-Christian shrine in the Scottish Highlands.

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Myth and folklore can inspire women to fight for ecological change

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.

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Foxfire, Wolfskin: The blog tour

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.

And not forgetting Anne Cater and the Random Things Tours – thank you so much for organising the tour.

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Picturehouse Central book launch

Congratulations to Marshall Julius on the publication of Vintage Geek. The book was launched in style last night at Picturehouse Central with – what else? – a quiz.

Here is Marshall on the right in photos 1, 3 5 and 6, and our own Hannah MacDonald on the left in the third.

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All Good Things: Stephen Ellcock in conversation with Mark Haddon

We are excited to announce this event at Foyles Charing Cross Road on 30 October:

Celebrate the intrinsic power of art curation with social media curator Stephen Ellcock in conversation with award-winning author Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time) about Ellcock’s new book All Good Things: A Treasury of Images to Uplift the Spirits and Reawaken Wonder

Opening up on the vast and diverse selection of curated public domain imagery he has become renowned for on Facebook, Ellcock will take us on an adventure through the intricacies of artistic selection and display in the internet age. Sharing his own discoveries—from found artwork in archives and libraries to little known collections of illustrations, photography and textiles—Ellcock will ask us to look afresh at a variety of visual works with the aim to uncover inspiration, elicit enjoyment and reawaken wonder.

The event will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing.

Book tickets here.