Polychromancy #WitchWeek2022

#WitchWeek2022. Design after artwork by Bunny Pierce Huffman

In much of the inhabited world (90% of the global population lives in the northern hemisphere) the start of September marks the beginning of meteorological autumn, the season when our thoughts may turn to shorter days, colder temperatures and things sempiternally supernatural.

In just a few fortnights’ time Lizzie Ross and I will be celebrating another Witch Week, an event inaugurated by Lory Hess and inspired by fantasy writer Diana Wynne Jones’s novel of the same name.

This year’s theme is Polychromancy, a word concocted via Greek polychromos (‘many-colours’) and manteia (‘divination’) to suggest a focus on fantasy/sci-fi by authors from diverse backgrounds. The idea is to explore the work of SFF authors who identify as Black, Asian, Indigenous, or other colours and ethnicities such as Roma – or indeed who claim a multiethnic ancestry.

Image: Bea Lovegrove-Owen

What can you expect, then, during the week running from Halloween to Bonfire Night, 31st October to 5th November? We’ll have posts from a couple or so guest bloggers who’ll be looking at fantasy away from the usual fantasy confines of North America and Europe, as well as pieces from a couple of familiar names looking at other polychromantic themes.

Ace Books edition

And of course, Witch Week 2022 will include a readalong that complements our theme: Black Water Sister by Zen Cho, a Malaysian author based in the UK. A number of bloggers have already signed up to read and join an online discussion of this, and you are welcome to add your comments to the post of that discussion when it appears.

Macmillan UK edition

There’ll be reminders (as if you’ll be needing them!) in the weeks leading up to the commencement of Witch Week itself, and at the end a reveal of the theme for next year’s Witch Week. In the meantime it may be worth looking at Re-enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in the Twentieth Century* by Maria Sachiko Cecire, should any reason be demanded for looking beyond the Anglo-American dominance of the fantasy genre.


* The link is to my review.

17 thoughts on “Polychromancy #WitchWeek2022

  1. Pingback: #WitchWeek2022 | Lizzie Ross

    1. If you do read anything that echoes the theme we’d be pleased to hear about it, Helen, because even a week-long event wouldn’t be long or broad enough to include all that might come under a polychromantic umbrella title! 🙂

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    1. I’m well over halfway through the Zen Cho and seeing fantasy through different eyes, as it were – in fact there’s an incident in the novel where the protagonist sees spirits through one eye but not through the other, which is a perfect symbol of the approach BWS takes I think. If you do get to read it we’d Iove to see your thoughts on it!

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    1. Just under 90%, Bart – in 2015, around 87.0% was the figure quoted, more recently it seems to be 88%. Even though about ⅓ of the earth’s land mass is below the equator its harsher climate (in Australia or Antarctica for example) restricts the number of people there – but that <90% figure is still astounding, I agree.

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    1. I keep meaning to revisit DWJ’s Castle in the Air as I remember feeling uncomfortable about the Arabian Nights vibe in it; it’d be good to compare and contrast it with offerings for this year’s Witch Week theme.

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