‘Nobody believes you when you talk about the whispering … There’s a lot they don’t believe. Like when you say the river has very old creatures living in it, with great long jawbones and rainbow skin.’
From ‘The Hand Under the Stone’ by Sarah Hall
Ours has always been an island full of folklore. Even today, we look for mystery in the mundane and seek the thrills that only a well-spun story can provide. We create tales to help us to make sense of our changing world, we pass down family histories that blur the boundaries between fact and fiction – we tell each other stories, as we have done since the glow of our campfires lit the caves of prehistory.
In These Our Monsters, English Heritage brings together eight new stories by well-known contemporary authors inspired by the sites in our care. They have peered through the cracks in our castles and scoured the soil beneath our stone circles to find inspiration for this wonderful collection of reimagined myths and legends.
‘Each story has a distinctive flavour, whether it is Edward Carey’s re-creation of the East Anglian dialect for his retelling of the legend of the Green Children of Woolpit, the way Graeme Macrae Burnet mimics the epistolary format of Dracula as he evokes the genesis of Bram Stoker’s novel in Whitby, or the echoes of Middle English alliterative poetry that crop up in Fiona Mozley’s version of “The Loathly Lady”. Bookended by an erudite introduction and afterword, this varied collection scratches the soil of the country to dig up some of the fairy tales and fantasies that have helped form the English identity.’ Financial Times
‘Inspired by eight historic sites that are in the care of English Heritage, a variety of authors have created marvellous and menacing new monsters.’ Daily Mail
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