A collection of my essays on fairy tales and folklore. The title is borrowed from an Irish fairy tale in which the hero gallops his pony over ‘seven miles of hill on fire, and seven miles of steel thistles, and seven miles of sea.’
Essays and Papers
'I was in South Wales, standing on a real hill with a real stone in my hand, imaginatively inhabiting a children’s book I read for the first time in 1965, which has stayed with me ever since.'
Written for the academic collection 'New Fairy Tales', 'Gnomes' is a short story for adults with touches of mild horror and black comedy. Harold and Evelyn live blameless lives in their neat home on Laburnum Avenue - until the neighbour over the road plants his front garden out with gnomes.
A personal and emotional response to Mervyn Peake’s work for children, especially 'Letters From a Lost Uncle' and 'Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor'.