The taxonomic name for the great grey shrike, Lanius excubitor, is Latin for butcher sentinel. Sentinel because of the way shrikes stand tall on top of a post, as both a warning and declaration of territory: they practically shriek vigilance and eagerness to tangle. (They remind me of new bouncers at a club: overready to get into it.) And butcher because they spike their prey—smaller birds, mice, lizards, bees, crickets—on thorns and barbed wire fencing, like feathery little Neroes playing with Christians.Read more "Hild’s bynames #2: Butcher-bird"
While writing both Hild and Menewood I drew dozens of maps to help work out everything from travel routes to weather events to Hild’s thinking to battle tactics. These sketch maps are full of private code and wouldn’t make sense to most readers. But every now and again I like to post one to illustrate a point. So I started […]Read more "Making my own Hild art"
The first draft of MENEWOOD is finished!!Read more "MENEWOOD!!"
This is a call for contributors, and ideas, to a companion volume to Hild: an accessible guide to the book and its Early Medieval context.Read more "CFP: A Hild Companion"
Today is the anniversary of Hild’s death in 680. I mark it because Hild—and Whitby, and ammonites—have marked my life.Read more "Hild’s feast day"
Last week I spent five days at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, to attend IONA: Early medieval studies on the islands of the North Atlantic—transformative networks, skills, theories, and methods for the future of the field. If you are an early medievalist, you should go the next one at King’s College London, November 2021.Read more "IONA Vancouver"
Two maps of Gododdin territory—where Hild becomes Cait Sith…Read more "Cait Sith in the Eildon Hills"
Hild is “A magnificent and convincing portrayal of a strange, wild, beautiful world.” — GuardianRead more "Paperback of Hild just out in the UK"
Hild is heading north to talk (unofficially, of course) with Coledauc of the Gododdin. I had to draw maps to work out where she might go, and how, and why.Read more "Gododdin"
Breguswith knew all about the miracle eye salve that fights MRSA…Read more "Breguswith’s eye salve kills MRSA"
Where, exactly, was the battle of Hæðfeld? I have a theory, based on research I’ve done on water courses and roads of 632.Read more "Hæðfeld: Where Edwin lost his head?"
Were there any working baths in seventh-century Northumbria? I’m guessing not, but perhaps some of those wall forts were in reasonable shape. Birdoswald? How about Arbeia? We know that Osric was born there…Read more "Working Roman baths in 7th C Northumbria?"
According to Bede, when Hild is recruited to the church in 647 CE she is in East Anglia, and has been for a year. I’m trying to work out why.Read more "East Anglian accession dates"
This year is the 1400th anniversary of Hild’s birth. According to Bede.* Given that her feast day is mid-November, and in my novel her birthday is mid-October, I’ve decided autumn would be a splendid time to celebrate.Read more "Latin for fourteen hundredth anniversary?"
Two pieces of news. On Wednesday, the twentieth anniversary of our first (not legal) wedding, Kelley and I got married in the eyes of the US government. Some more nifty blurbs for Hild:Read more "Some news"