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) or a signed CD from Fay Hield. We'll draw a new winner from the hat at the end of each 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

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


  • Lee

    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 Louise Mackay 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 Louise Mackay 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