Well I’m only 2.4% English and 18.3% Scandinavian, but it’s my English genes roaring the loudest today!
Come on England!
Here is an interview I gave to highlight the publication of Mythos, an anthology in which I have two stories featuring. Many thanks to Linda for allowing me to appear on her great blog.
With me on the blog today is the awesome Andy Murray. If you’re a follower of his blog, City Jackdaw, you know that he’s a poet who released a collection of poems called Heading North, published by Nordland in December 2015. We talked about that here on the blog. Now, Andy is here to talk about the short stories he contributed to Mythos, the second volume in the Northlore series, published by Nordland in December 2016. (By the way, Andy contributed a short story and a poem to Folklore, the first volume of the series.) Stick around after the interview to learn how you can get your hands on Mythos.
El Space: Four quick facts about yourself?
Andy: 1. I’m at least six-generation Mancunian. 2. I knew my wife for twenty-six years before we got together. I play the long game. 3. I’m vegetarian. 4…
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The second of The Northlore Series of books is out today. A planned trilogy of books, the first volume was called Folklore, and this second one is called Mythos. I have two short stories featured in it.
The premise of this one is that since the advent of Christianity 2,000 years ago, the old Norse Gods didn’t just cease to exist but continued on, right through to the present day. These are their stories. There are tales of different times and different places: from the Russian Plains, to the Somme, to a cafe in New York. A varied collection that holds something for everyone, it is a great companion piece to Folklore.
In Folklore, I had included a poem about a Mara, and a story about a Myling. A reviewer (in a good way), described my story as ‘Murray’s bleak take on the Myling legend’. If he thought that was bleak, wait until he reads my World War One tale in Mythos! Though I liked ‘bleak’. I think I’ll take that.
The books contain humour, too. There is a good balance throughout: light and dark, prose and poetry.
Both books are available here:
And for American customers:
Archipelago between Sweden and Finland, seen from the air. A blue expanse peppered with green, unweilding shapes – like rocks we could hop across on our journey home.
Finnair’s menu adds to the northern vibe: an aesthetic of air; of sea and ice; the people and tales. They follow us down.
from Sunday Elegy,
– Heading North
Another great review here of the Northlore Series: Folkore anthology. My poem ‘Mara, My Love’ gets a mention.
A fresh new collection of folklore was released from Nordland Publishing last month: The Northlore Series: Volume One. Though it’s slightly outside the fairy-tale focus of the MFTS, I was delighted when asked to review it on the blog.
And let me tell you, from the moment I saw the cover I was hooked, and I began my journey into the realm of trolls, draugrs, huldr, selkies, elves, and witches…
Gorgeous isn’t it? The book is a contemporary collection of 33 Scandinavian folk tales, inspired by ancient tales from this region. I’ve read many anthologies of old tales collected from different countries, so it was refreshing to read some modern incarnations!
Indeed, as Nordland Publishing have written about their book:
“The Scandinavian peoples came originally from a world of mists and forests, a landscape that spawned a rich history of myth and legend, which entered the collective psyche and formed the bedrock of their soul…
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I have been given permission to show you guys the cover of the first in a trilogy of books being published by Nordland Publishing, inspired by the old tales of the North. This first book is an anthology of stories and poetry featuring aspects of Scandinavian folklore, (the second is planned to be focused upon ‘myths’), and also includes some great illustrations too. I have a poem and a story included in it, but don’t let that put you off. It is a great and varied collection of work that is diverse enough to meet all tastes. I am particularly pleased with my story as, although I have had poetry featured in various collections and publications, this is the first piece of fiction that I have had published, and I think it stands up okay alongside work by more seasoned writers. I will let you guys know the publication date as soon as I get it, and then, if you so wish, we may walk the North road together. Exciting times!
As I write this in the comfort of my lounge, outside tonight the wind is howling, furiously, as though angry at its inability to gain entry into my sheltered refuge.
The odd, hunched figure can from my window be seen hurrying past, assailed by the calvacade of leaves and torrential rain.
The barely noticeable shortening of days, accompanied by the imperceptible shift in temperature from late summer into mild autumn, has definitely given way to the unmissable crossover point of autumn and winter.
Above the wind I can barely hear the fireworks exploding.
Samhain/Halloween…All Saints’ Day…All Souls’ Day…Bonfire Night…Remembrance Sunday.
It feels like this is the time for remembering. As the nights grow deep and long, just as we light candles and bonfires to hold off the dark, so we turn within to shine a light upon our own shadows, far within the recesses of memory. Examining and reacquainting ourselves with the inner cast of our lives. Acknowledging those who have slipped from sight. We bring them out to breathe.
This time of year is also a great time for reading-armed with the fortitude of caffeine and electric or candle light, removed from the outside assault of climate and enveloping darkness.
I have always turned to stories around this time, without really analysing why, that can be found in books such as The Táin and The Mabinogion. Legends and tales told over centuries, losing myself in the storytelling of people long gone. Connecting with the idea of a people gathered around the hearth, imaginations fired.
When people ask me where my favourite place is, my reply is ‘North’. Scotland-the Highlands and the Orkney Islands, Scandinavia. You are never likely to see me sporting a suntan.
There is something in the landscape, the myths, the culture, born from the tummult of land and sea, that speaks to me.
And this is my time of year. The cycle has come around again.
I was about to start the Icelandic Sagas, but instead I have turned to East of the Sun, West of the Moon-Old Tales From the North.
This is a collection of Scandinavian fairy tales that have had many interpretations over the years, but this copy is a reproduction of the 1914 version which has some fantastic illustrations in it by Kay Nielsen.
The attraction of this book, as opposed to the Sagas, is that I can share it with my children. There are fifteen tales in it, so that is one per storm struck night, for just over a fortnight.
Wind, rain, darkness, a father, children.
My favourite time.