About Sharon Blackie

Dr Sharon Blackie is an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction, a mythologist with a specialisation in Celtic Studies, and a psychologist who has specialised both in neuroscience and narrative. Her unique approach to working with myth, fairy tales and folklore highlights the insights these traditions can offer us into authentic and meaningful ways of being which are founded on a deep sense of belonging to place, a rootedness in the land we inhabit. She founded The Hedge School in early 2017.

Sharon is the author of The Long Delirious Burning Blue, a novel which the Independent on Sunday called ‘hugely potent. A tribute to the art of storytelling that is itself an affecting and inspiring story’, and which The Scotsman called ‘powerful (reminiscent of The English Patient), filmic, and achieving the kind of symmetry that novels often aspire to, but rarely reach.’

Her nonfiction book If Women Rose Rooted offers up a new Heroine’s Journey for this challenging age of social and ecological crisis, and was described by bestselling novelist Manda Scott as ‘mind-blowing in the most profound and exhilarating sense … an anthem for all we could be … an essential book for this, the most critical of recent times.’ If Women Rose Rooted was a 2016 Nautilus Book Award winner. Her latest nonfiction book, The Enchanted Life, was published in February 2018. She is now completing a collection of original fairy tales about shapeshifting women, Foxfire, Wolfskin, which will be published in autumn 2019. A further collection of stories about bird-women for young adults, Old Crane Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Bird, will be published in late 2020.

Sharon’s articles have been published in a wide range of popular magazines and academic journals. She has been the recipient of a ‘Creative Scotland’ writing award, and is an experienced lecturer and workshop leader. She has been a guest speaker at a number of academic institutions (most recently, at the Universities of St Andrews, Glasgow and Trinity College Dublin); she has also performed at a number of cultural events and festivals, from the Edinburgh International Book Festival to the Dark Mountain Project’s ‘Uncivilisation’ Festival. From 2013 to 2017 she was the founder and editor of EarthLines Magazine, described by Jay Griffiths as ‘a deeply intelligent publication’, by George Monbiot as ‘a rare combination and much needed’, and by Robert Macfarlane as ‘a real point of convergence for many thought-tributaries and philosophical paths’.

After several years as a crofter in the north-west of Scotland and the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Sharon returned to Ireland in 2014 and now lives among the hills, lakes and seaweed-strewn tidal inlets of the Connemara Gaeltacht. Here, following her practice over the past couple of decades, she looks after hens and bees and grows her own vegetables and herbs. Her experiences on the westernmost edges of the Celtic fringe give her a unique perspective on the psychology of belonging, and our relationship with place.

Sharon is represented by Kirsty McLachlan, at David Godwin Associates. For more information, please visit her website at www.sharonblackie.net.

Academic qualifications

BA (1st Class Hons) Psychology, University of Liverpool, 1982

PhD in behavioural neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, University of London, 1985. My thesis was on the behavioural and brain mechanisms underlying anxiety and panic.

Diploma Clinical Hypnotherapy, London College of Clinical Hypnosis, 2003

MA (Distinction) Creative Writing, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2007. This MA concentrated on the novel; my focuses were on developing a sense of place in fiction, and the use of myth and fairy tale to express personal transformation.

MA Celtic Studies, University of Wales Trinity St David (in progress). My specialisations during this MA have been (1) the functions and transmission of folk tales; (2) the nature of the Otherworld in early Irish and Welsh literature (I am particularly interested in the relationship between Henri Corbin’s concept of the mundus imaginalis and the Celtic Otherworld); (3) the origins of the Grail and Arthurian legends (with a special interest in Myrddin/Merlin and other legendary ‘wild man / wild woman’ archetypes), and (4) women’s lives during the Medieval period (with a special focus on Otherworldly women in early Irish and Welsh mythology, and the hagiographies of early female saints such as Brigit).

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