Dr. Nicola Bown is based in the Dept of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. Her publications include books on representations of fairies in nineteenth-century culture and on the Victorian supernatural, articles on Victorian sentimentality and on fortune telling in nineteenth-century art, and a forthcoming collection of essays on Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and mid-nineteenth-century alchemy. Nicola will be speaking about connections between Victorian fantasy writer George MacDonald’s Phantastes (1858) and Felix Mendelssohn’s music of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1826).
Dr. Alaric Hall is based in the School of English at the University of Leeds. His research include work on connections between societies and their belief in the supernatural, Medieval Scandinavian Romance-Sagas, and on the role of the supernatural in health and healing. His current research investigates, among other things, representations of elves in Icelandic responses to the 2008 financial crisis. Alaric’s publications include: articles on folk healing and fairies, on medieval witchcraft, and on the linguistic representations of elves; books on depictions of female elves in Anglo-Saxon culture, on J.R.R. Tolkien’s correspondence with Arthur Ransome and on interfaces between language and culture in Medieval England; and forthcoming work on translations of Jarlmanns saga og Hermanns, on a new stemma of Njáls saga, and on connections between elves and Icelandic culture post-2008.
Justina Robson is a science-fiction and fantasy writer based in Leeds. Her writing includes the Quantum Gravity series (five novels [Keeping It Real, Selling Out, Going Under, Chasing the Dragon, and Down to the Bone] set in a future Earth where worlds of the imagination have been made real by a singularity event); The Glorious Angels (a thrilling mix of science, magic and sexual politics); the Natural History series (hard SF and transformations from human to more than human, love, and superheroes [Natural History and Living Next Door to the God of Love]); Mappa Mundi (using SF to explore identity both inherited and engineered); Silver Screen (interfaces between humans and their technologies, the promises of science and the explanations of faith); and a short story collection, Heliotrope. Justina has been shortlisted multiple times for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the British Science Fiction Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Campbell Award. She has taught creative writing at the Arvon Foundation, and Clarion West, the SF and Fantasy Masterclass programme. You can follow her on twitter @JustinaRobson.
Peter Stevenson works as a freelance book illustrator, storyteller, writer, artist, folklorist, musician, purveyor of magical lantern shows, and organiser of the Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival in collaboration with Aberystwyth Arts Centre. His work explores a wide variety of themes, including traditional tales and newly written stories; nature, animals and the environment; and fairy stories and nursery rhymes. His postgraduate research investigated research folk drama and folk tale at the Institute for Dialect and Folklife Studies (Leeds University). Peter has recently completed a two year project to collect the Ceredigion Folk Tales for the History Press. He will present two papers for Tales Beyond Borders: one telling the stories and history of the fairy tale collector Myra Evans, showing the importance of stories in the context of family and community, and the other presenting a history of visual storytelling, showing how storytellers use visual art and vice versa, how words paint pictures in the mind, and images tell stories. Peter has spent a long life walking the old Welsh Tramping Road, swapping stories over thick mugs of Tregaron Tea, with head in the clouds and mud on his boots. You can explore his work in more detail at his personal site.