The vampire we know today has a convoluted story, from the rebellious first wife of Adam in Eden, to the original lesbian countess and the bisexual enigma that was Lord Byron. How and why are these creatures of the night so infamously queer-coded?

Unicorns originated as both a sexual and religious icon, with links to fertility and the male phallus. They’ve been used to both elevate and insult the bisexual community. Where does this leave them today and how have ‘girly’ unicorns become sexy again?

From the ancient Syrian goddess Atargatis, through to Hans Christian Andersen, the painting of Sea Maidens by Evelyn De Morgan, the burnt books of Nazi Germany and the merman in Trafalgar Square, why are mermaids so beloved by the queer community?

Learn about out all this and more as Sacha Coward takes us on an illustrated Zoom talk through the hidden queer history of myths and monsters.

Sacha Coward has worked in museums and heritage for over 10 years. For the past three years, he has been freelancing as an historian, public speaker, and researcher. He has run LGBTQ+ focused tours for museums, cemeteries, archives, and cities around the world. He has written articles for a huge number of publications, including Metro, Gay Star News, National Theatre, Art UK, Queer Bible, Royal Museums Greenwich, and Dig It Scotland, with a focus on LGBTQ+ history, underrepresented audiences in heritage and mythology and folklore.

Queer as Folklore is Sacha’s first book and is being published by Unbound in 2024. For more info see:

Your curator and host for this event will be the writer Edward Parnell, author of Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country. Edward Parnell lives in Norfolk and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He is the recipient of an Escalator Award from the National Centre for Writing and a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. Ghostland (William Collins, 2019), a work of narrative non-fiction, is a moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – as well as the author’s own haunted past; it was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley 2020 prize, an award given to a literary autobiography of excellence. Edward’s first novel The Listeners (2014), won the Rethink New Novels Prize. For further info see:

[Image: The Sea Maidens by Evelyn De Morgan. 1885/1886.]

Don’t worry if you can’t make the live event on the night – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day.

Date: Thursday 08 November 2024. Time: 7.30pm – 9.00pm (London time)

£6 – £10, & by donation