Tales from the North

Vintage sail ship with a dragon head carving during a sunny day.

Have you heard of Earendel, the Dawn Wanderer? Or Erce, the white and shining – she who brings the remedy to a barren field? Or Iring, who rides the milky way? Do you know the story of Wayland, the magical goldsmith whose hammer thunders bloody revenge? Have you heard tell of Woden, one-eyed wanderer of the barrows, or the sad fate of the swan-children of Lir?

Join folklorist and storyteller Andreas Kornevall and poet and novelist Paul Kingsnorth for a weekend excavating some of the forgotten foundation myths of the old Atlantic islands we all call home. Around the fire and in the woods we will tell, hear and analyse some of the old tales that still haunt the wooded hilltops and the forgotten lanes that remain as ‘progress’ thunders on around us. Find out what these old stories still have to say to us today, and how they can inform and re-energise your creative practice.

Hear stories you have never before encountered, told around summer fires; learn to cast the runes; find Norse myths hidden in the night constellations; walk with old Celtic tales through the forests and bogs of the Irish landscape; listen to harp tunes by candelight; learn the power of ancient rituals. We will guide you expertly through the mists of these old tales, giving you writing and creative exercises to help you respond to them, and leading conversations and workshop sessions in how to think about and respond to deep, old stories – and begin to create your own.

Tales from the North is a unique weekend for writers, artists and anyone else whose creative process would be boosted by an immersion in strange, old magic. Whoever you are, wherever you hail from, whatever your practice, you are welcome around the storyteller’s fire as we delve into the past for a guide to our strange, unfolding present.

The teachers

KING PPaul Kingsnorth is an award-winning novelist, poet and essayist. He has published seven books, taking in fiction, non-fiction and poetry, with a wide array of publishers. He has won, or been nominated for, ten different prizes for his fiction, poetry and essays, ranging from the Man Booker Prize to the Wenlock Prize for Poetry. He has taught on writing courses, mentored writers and lectured on writing for – amongst others – the Arvon Foundation, the Faber Academy, the Professional Writing Academy, Schumacher College, the Westcountry School of Myth and Story, and Falmouth University, and has run writing and story courses in places as varied as the wilds of Dartmoor and the heart of New York City. From 2009 until 2017 he was co-founder and co-director of the Dark Mountain Project, a global network of writers and artists in search of new stories for an age of collapse.

Andreas Kornevall is a writer, storyteller and ecological activist. He grew up in Southandreasprofilepic America, Sweden and Switzerland, and now directs the Earth Restoration Service charity. In response to the sixth mass extinction, he was the catalyst behind the Life Cairn movement: memorials for species rendered extinct at human hands. As a storyteller, he works with old myths and fairytales which shine a torchlight on life’s journey; his stories tend to gravitate around the Norse material which have led him to lecture in universities and other educational centres.  He is also a prize-winning author, whose work has been  published in magazines such as Resurgence, The Ecologist, Permaculture magazine and in the Dark Mountain series.

Location and travel

This will be an intense, busy but fun weekend, made up of teaching and discussion sessions, exercises, storytelling, time spent outside and time to write and/or relax with other writers.

The venue for the course is The Boghill Centre in County Clare, Ireland. Nestled in the heart of the Burren, one of Western Europe’s most remarkable natural landscapes, Boghill is welcoming but remote. You’ll be sleeping in bunk rooms, and wifi will not be on tap. It’s a retreat, after all. There’ll be hearty vegetarian meals, outdoor fires if the weather holds, a convivial atmosphere and the chance to mingle with interesting people in one of the most beautiful spots in the west of Ireland. This is another world, one far removed from the bustle of urban modernity.

The course runs from the evening of Friday 30th August until after lunch on Sunday 1st September. You will need to be at Boghill by dinnertime on the Friday. The venue is around 3.5 hours drive from Dublin, and one hour from Shannon airport. Full travel details and directions will be provided when you book, as will a kit list of what to bring with you (you’ll need boots and a raincoat…)

Cost and booking

Prices include all food and accommodation from Friday dinner to Sunday lunch, inclusive.

Hostel room: €320 (£285 / $360)
Single room (4 available): €340 (£300 / $390)
Twin room (4 available): €340 per person (£300 / $390)

To secure a place, we ask for a non-refundable 50% deposit, which can be paid through Paypal or by bank transfer. To book a place, or if you have any questions about the course, please send us an email