From Babes in the Wood to Blair Witch Project, artists and storytellers have used forests as settings for mystery, magic and murder. This special event explores the shifting role of forests in folklore, urban legend and gothic literature. How do the stories we tell about forests affect our willingness to conserve them - and how will their meaning change as they become more scarce?
Curated by Kirsteen McNish of Vine Collective.
- Peter Fiennes, author of Oak and Ash and Thorn ("Dazzling, passionate nature writing", The Guardian)
- Amy Cutler, artist/curator of Every Forest a Reframing
- Luke Turner, author of Out of the Woods (forthcoming, Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and co-founder The Quietus
- Private view of Gayle Chong Kwan’s exhibition, The People’s Forest
- Luke Turner DJ set
Amy Cutler is a cultural geographer, curator, writer, and film-maker. She is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the Geography department at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she is researching the ethical, political, philosophical and ecological implications of the question 'what is a forest?'. Ranging from 17th century dictionaries to science fiction cinema, this research follows the long line of "semantic horror" in the woods, beginning with Dante: 'Ah me, how hard a thing it was to say / What was this forest savage'. Amy is also a live performer, often writing with and collaborating with musicians. At Blood in the Forest, Amy will be joined by composer Sylvia Hallett to perform pieces drawing on natural history texts and the dark sides of nature.
Peter Fiennes worked for over 20 years at Time Out as a writer, editor, publisher and managing director. His first book was To War with God, which tells the extraordinary story of his grandfather’s time as an Anglican Chaplain on the Western Front. Oak and Ash and Thorn was published by Oneworld Publications in September 2017. It grew out of a lifetime's obsession with woodland and trees, from family walks in the woods of East Sussex to opposing the government’s planned (but defeated!) public forest sell-off. It's the result of a year spent walking through Britain’s woods, steeping himself in their literature, poetry, folklore, magic and everyday conservation battles.
Luke Turner is co-founder and Editor of The Quietus. His first book, Out Of The Woods explores his complex relationship with Epping Forest, depression, sexuality, and how his family history is inextricably intertwined with the forest. Luke will be reading a preview from this book which explores fear, ritual, being deep amongst the trees, and the trouble with festishising nature. Out Of The Woods will be published in 2019 by Weidenfeld & Nicholson.