Sky, stone, and the turning seasons
Circles and cycles

On Your Desk

Katherine Langrish's workspace, 1

Here's the latest entry in the "On Your Desk" photo series, featuring the workspaces of writers, artists, and others in the Mythic Arts community. (If you'd like to contribute, there's information on how to do so at the end of this post.)

The photos today come from Katherine Langrish, the author of several magical books that all fans of mythic fiction should know: the enchanting "Troll Fell" trilogy, set in the Viking age (and collected in an omnibus edition, West of the Moon); Dark Angels (US title: Shadow Hunt), a gorgeous faery novel set on the Welsh border in the 12th century; and Forsaken, a haunting, lyrical novel based on Scandinavian mermaid lore. She also writes a terrific blog, Seven Miles of Steel Thistles; contributes to The History Girls and An Awfully Big Blog Adventure; and she's the folklore editor for the online fairy tale journal Unsettling Wonder. Her most recent tale (about London under water) has just been published in the YA dystopian anthology After.

Katherine grew up in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in the Oxfordshire countryside. She tells the story of how we first met here...and I'm so very glad that we did!

The pictures above and below show Kath's writing den in a house overflowing with books, music, and art:

"The first picture," she says, "shows my desk and workroom in a (rare) tidy state, with some of the bookshelves, and the curtains drawn to keep out the morning sun. I always work with the curtains drawn to get a better light on the screen. I enjoy the way the light glows through these curtains, with their design of old fans, which have been mine since I was a little girl. Our next door neighbour passed them over the fence to my mother, and (aged seven) I loved them so much I made up a poem about them:

I have got
New fan curtains,
New fan curtains,
New fan curtains!
I have got
New fan curtains,
Hooray, hooray, hooray!

"If a poem is defined as a perfect expression of your feelings, this is probably the best I ever wrote.

Katherine Langrish's workspace, 2

Katherine Langrish's workspace, 3 & 4

"On the windowsill is an Indonesian shadow puppet who gets the sunshine I decline.

"Up in the top right-hand corner of my room, sinister Mr Fox dangles with an enigmatic grin in front of an Escher print called ‘Three Worlds,’ where a fish turns slowly under a reflective surface dotted with the curled boats of fallen leaves, and upside-down trees reach long black fingers into the depths. I write fantasy, which is also a mysterious mirror to our world. The world is water. The world is air. The interface where they meet is an almost non-existent membrane of a world, containing and transforming both. As for the fox, one of my favourite fairytales to tell aloud is the English tale of Lady Mary and Mr Fox. Be bold, be bold, but not too bold…

Katherine Langrish's workspace, 5 & 6

"Here, on the left, is my cluttered wall space, a pin board with all kinds of notes on it, and above it a magical David Wyatt pen and ink drawing of trolls, the chapter heading illustration for the British edition of my first book, ‘Troll Fell’.

"The map beneath it is a version of London, showing the extent of flooding you’d get if sea levels rose by fifty feet. The Thames would be three miles wide in the centre of the city. That’s all part of the background research for my work-in-progress (whose main characters appear in a story called ‘Visiting Nelson’ published in Ellen and Terri’s new anthology After).

"On the right: books, books, books…. This is why I find it hard to write anywhere but here in my den. I’m forever pulling books down, checking, consulting, getting inspirations.

"Below: a more truthful picture of my desk: the muddle and clutter that shows work really being done."

Katherine Langrish's workspace, 7

All readers of this blog are welcome to contribute to the "On Your Desk" series. You'll find more information (and the address where you should send your photos) in the first post of the series. Please view the full series to get an idea of what kind of material to send in. If you've already contributed to the series, but you've changed your workspace, you are welcome to contribute again.