Enter the dark and wonderful world that is Flemish folklore!
On the road you’ll meet the alvermannekes who are kind-hearted gnomes, but love to blow out the light in your eyes. In the woods and meadows, we’ll encounter Kludde, one of the most skilful shapeshifters whose transformations into bats, monstrous dogs, birds and even devilish trees ensured that people stayed in their homes when the sky was at its darkest. We’ll enter cottages overgrown with devil’s claw and bramble bushes where witches concocted potions, brews and sinister plans, and often outsmarted those who dared to oppose them. A visit to the water devils and spirits who haunted the canals, rivers and the sea should not be missed either. And just as importantly, the forgotten folklorists who collected these tales and ensured that the rich, but little known about storytelling traditions of Flanders were preserved for future generations.
Signe Maene is a Belgian writer and audio dramatist of stories mainly based on Flemish folklore. She’s very passionate about anything relating to folk horror, myths and legends and blogs about Flemish folktales on Substack. Signe is currently working on a short story collection inspired by Flemish folktales and is the co-founder of Salt & Mirrors & Cats, a literary zine publishing stories, poems and art connected to superstitions.
Your curator and host for this event will be the writer Edward Parnell, author of Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country. Edward 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 folklore-strewn first novel The Listeners (2014), won the Rethink New Novels Prize. For further info see: https://edwardparnell.com
Don’t worry if you miss the event on the night – the next day we will send you a recording that will be valid for two weeks.
[Image adapted from the following Wikimedia Comons artwork: Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946) Boom in de winter. Brafa 2019 31-01-2019 – houtskool en potlood op papier 68,5 x 48,5. Photographed by Paul Hermans.]