Podcast Series 1 *Now Live*


The Modern Fairies project is all about learning and being creative, and since I’m not an artist, I have been wondering how I could make something new out of old fairy lore. So I have learned how to make podcasts with the help of Oxford University IT services, and this is where you will be able to hear the results. I decided to begin with five podcasts, each one talking about the different stories that are contained in the five Fairy Folders that were given to the artists at the beginning of the project. In each of the podcasts, which are fairly unscripted, Fay Hield and I chat about the themes of each folder, starting with podcast one: ‘Introducing Fairies and Fairyland’.


I have interspersed the conversations with some readings of traditional stories, poems and ballads, performed by the talented actor and medieval scholar Brian McMahon. Luckily Brian can read Middle English so he’s included some excerpts from medieval poems, trying to make them as easy to understand as possible. And we have also been able to include some of Fay’s music in each episode, by kind permission from Topic Records who have allowed us to use some bits of Sir Orfeo and Kemp Owen. There’s newly recorded music too from some of the other project artists.

The first podcast is as follows: (1) Introducing Fairies and Fairyland; (2) Fairy Wives and Fairy Lovers; (3) Helpful Fairies; (4) Fairies and Children and finally, (5) Loathly Ladies.

The next series will follow later this year and that will look at how the artists were inspired by the Fairy Folders and their contents to make astonishing new works: songs, music, poems, stories and illustrations.


Send us your answers to the following questions to be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of my book, The Land of the Green Man (which in some ways inspired this project). We'll draw a new winner from the hat at the end of the month.

1. What attracted you to this podcast?

2. What was the most interesting thing you discovered?

3. What type(s) of content would you like to hear about in Series 2?

We’d love to hear from what you think! Feel free to give us your answers on Twitter @Modern_Fairies or the project’s Facebook page or leave a comment below.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Recent Posts

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Of Land & Story The Process of Forgetting and Remembering

Time Squint

Fairy Sources

Sleepers and Glitches

Alyson Loathly

The Green Children

Fairies of the Trees


The Light Cutters

We Dance to an Other Tempo


The A-Z of Academic-Artist-Audience-Arts Organisation Collaborative Research

Artist of the Week - Elly Lucas

Artist of the Week - Fay Hield

Artist of the Week - Natalie Reid

*Signed Posters for Everyone*

Artist of the Week - Steven Hadley

Podcast Series 1 *Now Live*

Artist of the Week - Patience Agbabi

Artist of the Week - Ben Nicholls

Artist of the Week - Marry Waterson

Artist of the Week - Barney Morse-Brown (Duotone)

Artist of the Week - Terri Windling

Artist of the Week - Inge Thomson

Modern Fairies at Festival of the Mind - Sheffield, September 2018

Artist of the Week – Sarah Hesketh

Artist of the Week – Fay Hield

Artist of the Week – Lucy Farrell

Artist of the Week – Ewan MacPherson

Modern Fairies and Loathly Ladies – the First Workshop


I'd like to enter the competition!

1) The podcast just seemed like it spoke to three of my main areas of interest: medieval literature, folk music, and folklore more generally.

2)I'm not that familiar with Middle English literature, so it was really interesting to hear about these early examples of motifs that were familiar to me from ballads and later matieral. It was especially cool to find out about connections between the Middle English romances and the Icelandic sagnakvæði, which are only found in much later manuscripts but which have a lot of sort of 'fairy lore' in common with the ME material.

3) I've particularly enjoyed the musical parts of the podcast so far, so more of that, please! (I'm also interested in the visual art produced as part of this project, but I imagine that's harder to include in a podcast.)

Looking forward to series 2!

Amy Willshire

I love the podcasts. Do you have a list of the different stories you talk about? I'm re-listening to the first podcast again and you mention a Cornish story at 22:16 called something that sounds like the Miser of Gumtown Just. I'm sure this won't be the only place name I have trouble hearing/spelling so a list would be really useful. Thank you

Amy Willshire

Episode 2, from 23:10, story of the lake fairy khlinie valvagh - again I am mishearing this so can not search for the story

Carolyne Larrington

And it is the Miser of The Gump of St Just. A gump is a sort of mound.

Kristin Shepard

1. I love folklore & myth in general and of the Celtic Isles especially, since that is my ethnic heritage, and because: fairies. Not sure if I learned about the podcast from Terri Windling's Myth & Moor blog or from The Fairy Investigation Society.

2. Since I've been studying fairy lore for years now, I can't think of anything from the podcasts that felt new exactly, but I did enjoy the story telling and the music. Hearing Middle English read aloud was also a delight.

3. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the contemporary music, art, & stories mentioned. As for content: Black Annis, Jenny Greenteeth & other crone figures (cailleach) would make for an interesting episode. There's quite a bit about Puck (and the question of his connection with the phooka). No doubt I'll be listening eagerly to whatever you put together. Thank you!

Francesca Bihet

1. I'm currently writing my PhD in fairies in Victorian Folklore, it is brilliant that there is so much interest in fairies arising at the moment.

2. I really found the Loathly Ladies episode interesting, especial the Wife of Bath tale and extract. The series managed to capture all the key features of fairy-lore so well.

3. I'd love to hear more about the change fairies underwent in late-nineteenth century children's literature. The contemporary music is also really enjoyable.

Amy Willshire

Thank you Carolyne. Last one having now listened to the whole series twice. Episode 5 you mention someone at 17:09-18:23 Iponnenis daughter. I have tried googling but not found this story so I'm sure I have misheard this name also.

Carolyne Larrington

Ypomenes’ daughter is what she’s called in my edition of Mandeville. But in this online edition at c. Line 307 she’s Ypocrasis’ daughter and lives on the isle of Lango. https://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/publication/kohanski-and-benson-the-book-of-john-mandeville

Amrita Spa

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with me.