Magical Fiction Forum


The Magickal Women Partnership proudly presents the Magical Fiction Forum: Fairy tales, fantasy, magical realism, surreal fiction: this forum aims to bring together leading authors and scholars to discuss the impact and influence of texts that transcend their genre and leave readers enchanted and transformed. Online via Zoom.

Popular Magic Café: Follow Up

Missed the Popular Magic Cafe? Never worry, you can watch the discussion on YouTube, HERE

There were so many fascinating questions, that Crystal and I decided to compile a reading list and a travelling list inspired by our conversation. Though we did take very different approaches to it: while Crystal presented a selection of rigorous academic texts, I was mostly motivated by the feeling of ‘Is this book fun? It sounds like it would be fun…’

Find both our lists below, as well as some fascinating locations for your post-COVID travel plans.

Crystal’s List:

Champion, M., 2015. Medieval Graffiti: The Lost Voices of England’s Churches. Ebury Press.

Easton, T., 2014. Portals of Protection. SPAB Winter, 53–57.

Easton, T., 2012. Burning Issues. SPAB 44–47.

French, K.L., 2001. The people of the parish: community life in a late medieval English diocese, The Middle Ages series. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pa.

Gardiner, M., 2007. Graffiti and their Use in Late Medieval England. Ruralia VI, 265–276.

Graves, C.P., 1989. Social space in the English medieval parish church. Econ. Soc. 18, 297–322.

Jones-Baker, D., 1993. English Mediaeval Graffiti and the Local Historian. Local Hist. 23, 4–19.

Marks, R., 2004. Image and devotion in late Medieval England. Sutton, Stroud.

Meeson, B., 2005. Ritual Marks and Graffiti Curiosities or Meaningful Symbols? Vernac. Archit. 36, 41–48.

Oliver, J., Neal, T. (Eds.), 2010. Wild signs: graffiti in archaeology and history, BAR international series. Archaeopress, Oxford.

Ovcharov, D., 1977. Ship Graffiti from Medieval Bulgaria. Int. J. Naut. Archaeol. Underw. Explor. 6, 59–61.

Pacey, A., 2007. Medieval architectural drawing: English craftsmen’s methods and their later persistence (c. 1200 – 1700). Tempus, Stroud.

Pritchard, V., 1967. English Medieval Graffiti. Cambridge University Press.


Anna’s List:

Various, 2019. Magic and Witchery in the Modern West: Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of ‘The Triumph of the Moon’, eds. Shai Feraro, Shai, Ethan Doyle White. Palgrave Macmillan.

Various, 2017. Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Modern Paganism, ed. Kathryn Rountree. Palgrave Macmillan.

Various, ongoing. Folk Tales of Place. The History Press.[1]

Bailey, R. N., 1996. England’s Earliest Sculptors. Toronto.

Greenwood, S., 2005. The Nature of Magic. Routledge.

Hutton, R., 1996. The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. OUP.

Roud, S., 2004. A Pocket Guide to Superstition of the British Isles. Penguin.

Hellebore zine:

The Enquiring Eye journal:

[1] This is a multi-volume project. Folk Tales are grouped by county or geographic location.



Bunhill Fields, London


Crossbones Graveyard, London


St Vedast alias Foster, London


St Margaret of Antioch Cowlinge, Suffolk


St Clements, Rodel, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides


Minster Church of St Mary, Stow in Lindsey, Lincolnshire


Doon Hill, Aberfoyle


Bradford on Avon Barn, Bradford-on-Avon


Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, Devon


Tarr Steps, Exmoor National Park, Somerset


Minster Church, Boscastle, Cornwall


Men-an-Tol, Penzance, Cornwall

Popular Magic: Then and Now

Date And Time

Tue, 17 November 2020

18:00 – 19:30 GMT

This conversation about popular magic and folk customs is open to everyone and forms part of the Being Human Festival Cafe initiative.

About this Event

What kind of things do you do ‘just for luck’? Writing a wish on a piece of paper, burning it and drinking the ash with your New Year’s champagne, tying a ribbon on a special tree for good fortune, wearing a ‘lucky’ necklace to a job interview – these small rituals permeate our daily lives. They are difficult to categorise, belonging neither to any mainstream religion, nor aligning strictly with pagan revivals like Wicca or Druidry. Instead, these little rites exist on the fringes of other faiths and beliefs, often combining elements from different religions. What does unite them is a belief in magic.

Join Crystal and Anna in a conversation that will take you through medieval churches and pagan sacred sites in search of popular magic. The two speakers will explain the symbolism behind common popular magic traditions and uncover the unexpected ways in which they still persevere today.

The conversation will take place via Zoom. It is free to attend, but please register using the link below to give the organisers a sense of numbers. The conversation is 40 minutes long with 20 minutes for questions and discussion – you are welcome and encouraged to bring your own magical items for the discussion portion of the programme.

The Sorcerer’s Handbook: Medieval Arabic Magic in Context

A Leverhulme-funded research project, University of Exeter, 2019-2022.

This project focuses on a collection of magical texts attributed to an influential medieval scholar of the Arabic language, Sirāj al-Dīn al-Sakkākī (d. 1229 CE). We are producing an edition and translation of his grimoire, accompanied by a co-authored volume of essays.


Arcane: The History of Magic

A new podcast by Magic and Esotericism Group member Samuel P. Gillis Hogan. Check out the introductory episode here!:

“Magic has been practiced throughout our history, yet many people do not know that it was an ever-present part of our past. While the significance of magic in history has been established by scholars, Arcane attempts to bring this fascinating knowledge beyond academic circles to be enjoyed by everyone. This brief episode introduces: the podcast, its aims, and me – Samuel Gillis Hogan, a PhD researcher specializing in the history of magic.”

Ashburton Arts Centre Events

Magic: Who Cares?

Truth and Deception                              Belief and Incredulity
Secrecy and Revelation                         Regard and Distraction
Cooperation and Conflict                        Hope and Gloom

Join Prof Brian Rappert in this highly interactive, online event that uses magic as a method for exploring how we act toward one another in everyday life, the workplace, politics and beyond.  We will ask how we can care for each other in these demanding times through the power of illusion.  Some of the bewitching will take place through your very hands!  The effects are all new, so feel free to join in the fun if you have been to one of Brian’s previous sessions at the Centre.

Sunday 9 August 2020
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Also on Sunday 16 August 2020
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

‘Mystery, Science and the Divine’

University College London

Summer School in Ancient Philosophy

Monday 13 July to Friday 17 July 2020

The UCL Ancient Philosophy Summer School is offering exceptional one-week intensive courses this summer at opportunity-cost prices (£120) .

  • The one-week intensive courses will be available online for the first time and accessible from any part of the world.
  • There will be video lectures as well as discussion time with excellent tutors
  • Participants will be provided with all materials and have the opportunity to talk about the ideas with other participants as well as the tutors
  • The course on ‘Mystery, Science and the Divine’ is being developed and will be actively guided by two tutors specialised in Ancient Philosophy, Late Antiquity and Medieval Philosophy

Some of the questions that will be tackled include:

  • What are the origins of rationality?
  • Why were the deeper teachings of philosophical schools (e.g. Plato and Stoics) made accessible only to the ‘initiated’?
  • Why is the divine so important for the ancients?
  • Why did specific philosophical schools deal with magic, alchemy and astrology?
  • How is the notion of ‘divine’ associated with philosophy and the occult arts?
  • What kind of impetus was given to philosophy and science by the occult arts?
  • Was magic and astrology really irrational during ancient times?

For further information on the ‘Mystery, Science and the Divine’ course please contact: or