Witch Week 2019 is coming

In two months it will be that traditional witching period of the year, which will mean it’s now time to remind you of the annual blogging event that is due then.

Witch Week is an annual event inspired by a 1982 novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones. As always it’s planned to run from Halloween to Bonfire Night, the day celebrating the failure of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. (The ‘mother of all parliaments’ is going through a different kind of crisis just now.)

Inaugurated by Lory of Emerald City Book Review, the week (now in its sixth year) features guest posts and a readalong all under a broad theme; for 2019 this is VILLAINS.

Curated this year, as last year, by Lizzie Ross and myself, 2019’s posts will all appear here on Calmgrove: at present we plan that they will feature selected villains from Shakespeare and in graphic novels, in the Chronicles of Narnia, in Diana Wynne Jones’ Black Maria (also published as Aunt Maria) and in Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles.

The readalong will be Cart and Cwidder, from Diana Wynne Jones’ fantasy sequence The Dalemark Quartet; you are invited to read this beforehand and join in a discussion introduced by an edited online conversation.

The wrap-up post will then announce next year’s theme, one we hope you will love getting your teeth into!

Two months sounds a long time away but that will give us time to chivvy along tardy guests (including me!) and also give you time to think around the theme as well as to source a copy of the readalong. (HarperCollins Children’s Books have published a new UK edition in the last couple or so years, for example.)

Hope you’re as excited as we are: heaven knows that villains are more acceptable in fiction than in real life…

The Imaginarium by Chris Riddell, Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath

45 thoughts on “Witch Week 2019 is coming

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  3. Oh, villains, sounds like a fun theme! Few things are more satisfying than a really good villain. Looking through my shelves Tengil “All makt åt Tengil vår befriare” (The Brothers Lionheart) and the Men in Grey (Momo) really stands out. I look forward to reading about other villains!

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    1. You’ve intrigued me with those references, Johanna, I shall have a good search online tomorrow for them! I’m anticipating a range of approaches on the topics from the guests who’ve agreed to contribute this year.

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            1. Oh my goodness, the one starting with him running through the fields and his father hollering “Eeeeeemiiiiiillll!!!” 😀 Loved it to pieces!
              But the books are even better! I always laugh so hard I’m almost crying 😀

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    1. Some villains, as befits Halloween, are real demons while others, like poor old ‘fall guy’ Guy Fawkes, were merely demonised! Like you, Jean, I’m looking forward to revisiting DWJ. 🙂

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      1. The villains in reality are much more stupid, brazen and ham-fisted than those in literature, I find… Whereas the most compelling literary villains are those whose motivation is completely relatable and the main point of contention is the means, not the goals 😉

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        1. It’s still morning in the Old World, Ola, and my wit and perspicacity haven’t yet been honed as razor-sharp as the antipodean day currently allows it, so I shall yield ground to your wise analysis as I simultaneously wipe the cobwebs from my eyes… 😁

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          1. I’ll cede the scene to you now, Chris, as it’s already late evening here… And you’re, sadly, much more acutely afflicted by real-world villains. Still, I keep my fingers crossed for a last-ditch reversal of date in the parliamentary battle to come!

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  4. Kristen M.

    I will definitely have to grab a copy of Cart and Cwidder and I’m also not going to be able to resist a reread of Black Maria. Ooh, she’s a wicked woman! Very cool theme this year!

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  5. buriedinprint

    This sounds like fun: and I’m so glad you’re giving us lots of notice (I’d be a newbie to the event) as reading stacks and plans can be tricky. Even when there isn’t an actual villain involved!

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    1. We do very much hope it will be fun, and while there will inevitably be some creepiness (!) given the subject it can be seen as an antidote to some of the real-life villainy going on—here the villains are likely to get their come-uppance!

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  6. Christine

    What a great excuse to revisit Cart & Cwidder and read what everyone thinks of it! Dalemark was a complete surprise when I first read it, it’s quite different from Chrestomanci and the Howl series, but very Jones-esque where the characters are concerned. Can’t wait for Witch Week now 🙂 And of course I’m excited to hear about people’s villain reads.

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    1. My general impression of DWJ as a writer, Christine, is that she was disinclined to repeat herself, especially where sequels are concerned. If she’s going to include Chrestomanci, Howl or Sophie (for example) in a sequel it has to be a fleeting apoearance or show them at an earlier stage in their life; the two novels in both the Magid and Derkholm ‘series’ have a very different feel to each other despite sharing the odd character or concept; and The Spellcoats and The Crown of Dalemark are widely spaced in time and atmosphere from each other and from the first two titles in the sequence. And yet all are, as you say, very Jones-esque. Have you read her novella Everard’s Ride? It has a similar feel to the Dalemark novels, little or no humour but quite dark.

      Witch Week is coming on apace: one completed submission, a discussion waiting to be edited down, and the rest in various stages (one hopes!).

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            1. How about Shakspearean female villains, and not just Lady Macbeth? Villains from graphic novels, and not the usual Marvel and DC suspects? And what about a seasonal baddie from the Chronicles of Narnia? Tempted?

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