‘Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear.’
W. B. Yeats
The Wyrd School has no faculty, staff or offices. It is peripatetic and free. Sometimes I teach alone, other times I teach with people I know and trust, whose work dovetails with mine. Here are some of the people who you might meet.
Paul 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 troubled times.
Caroline Ross trained in art at Bournemouth College of Art and Design, Kingston University and finally Chelsea School of Art for her MA. Dismayed by the art scene which she was part of, from 1997-2015 she concentrated on drawing, making, learning earth skills, and researching ancient techniques and traditional art materials, particularly pre-Norman inks, tools and pigments. During this time and since she has taught life drawing, painting, materials and crafts widely to people of all ages. In 2017 she collaborated with Paul on an illustrated version of his novel The Wake. Eschewing modern plastics and disposable tools, she now makes all her materials by hand from raw materials which she forages and collects in the wild, whenever possible.
Martin Shaw is one of the foremost oral storytellers and mythologists of our time. Described by Robert Bly as ‘one of the very best storytellers we have’, he is founder and director of the Westcountry School of Myth and Story, author of several books on myth, including A Branch from the Lightning Tree and Scatterlings, and a visiting fellow at Stanford University in the US. He is also a wilderness rites of passage guide. He has spoken and taught widely on myth and its role in the modern world. He is currently running the world’s first MA in Myth and Ecology at Schumacher College, Devon.
Andreas Kornevall is a writer, storyteller and ecological acivist. He grew up in South 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.
Clare Whistler has had a thirty-year career as a dance, choreographer and director, including 15 years working in opera, education and community projects. Her work breaks down the boundaries between disciplines and artists, to find ways to offer insight, feeling and moments of timeless beauty whether in performance, site-specific work, text, music, visual art and landscape. With a source in movement, gesture and ritual she responds, interprets and collaborates. She is always looking for ways to encourage, ignite and inspire creativity in others.
Andres Roberts is a guide and advisor dedicated to learning and growing in partnership with nature. He is a co-founder of Way of Nature UK, an organisation that hosts transformative experiences in nature, and he is founding partner of the Bio-Leadership Project, which helps to redefine ideas of leadership and innovation to realign with nature. His work combines deep reconnection to nature, wisdom from ancient cultures and renewed ideas about leadership and change.