Alan Garner and the Work of Time

deadline for submissions: 
September 28, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
York St John University
contact email: 

We are seeking chapters for an edited book on the work of Alan Garner.

Described by Philip Pullman as ‘the most important British writer of fantasy since Tolkien’, Garner's importance and popularity deserve focussed critical attention.

The publication of First Light: A Celebration of Alan Garner (2016), attested to the author’s huge influence on other writers including Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman and Ali Smith. Neil Philip’s A Fine Anger: A Critical Introduction to the Work of Alan Garner (1980), provided a singular response to Garner’s early work, from the straightforward magical world of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960) to the more challenging ‘adolescent fiction’ of The Owl Service (1967) and Red Shift (1973). Since then, Garner has produced a body of work that is remarkable for both its thematic continuity and imaginative range, including Strandloper (1996), Thursbitch (2003) and Boneland (2012). His most recent novel, Treacle Walker, was shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize. Garner will turn 90 in 2024, an event which provides a suitable moment to re-evaluate his work.

This project is further enhanced by the interest in areas to which Garner is a major contributor, including Folk Horror. (His work at the frontier between humanity and landscape, invites ecological readings. At its broadest, Garner’s work – both in fiction and in his autobiographical writing (The Voice That Thunders, 1997 and Where Shall We Run To?, 2019) – is a meditation on the function of story and the nature of the storyteller’s art. This book is intended to explore these and other aspects of Garner’s extraordinary contribution to the literary imagination.

Proposals would be welcome from academics and others. Given the impact of Garner’s work on a number of contemporary writers the editors would also be interested in chapters which include personal reflection/commentary. The following are indicative areas for analysis:

  •  Sense of Place / The North
  • Living Landscape / Psycho-Geography
  • Language and Landscape
  • History / Pre-History
  • Astronomy / Archaeology
  • Myth / Folklore
  • Ritual / Shamanism
  • Memory / Identity
  • Modernity / Alienation
  • Violence / Trauma / Healing
  • Childhood / Adolescence / Family
  • Literary Form / Genre / Fantasy /
  • Hauntology / Folk Horror
  • Literature and Science / Narrative and Time
  • Work / Craft
  • Memoir / The Writer’s Vocation
  • TV Adaptation
  • Impact / Influences / Comparisons


This book has interest from an academic publisher; acceptance will be confirmed when contents and abstracts are included. Submission dates and chapter lengths are therefore also pending. 

Abstracts of no more than 250 words and a biography of no more than 150 words should be sent to the three editors:, and by the 28th September 2023. Please send abstracts and biogs as a word or rich text format document attached to an email.


Robert Edgar is Professor of Writing and Popular Culture in the York Centre for Writing at York St John University, UK. He has published on Screenwriting (2009), Directing Fiction (2009), The Language of Film (Bloomsbury, 2010 and 2015), The Music Documentary (2013), The Arena Concert (2015), Music, Memory and Memoir (2019), Adaptation for Scriptwriters (2019), Venue Stories (2023), Thomas Hardy and the Folk Horror Tradition (2023) and the Routledge Companion to Folk Horror (2023). He is co-editing the forthcoming publication, Horrifying Children: Hauntology and the Legacy of Children’s Fiction.

John Marland is Senior Lecturer in Literature at York St John University, UK, where he has both taught and developed undergraduate courses in literature and film. He has published on Screenwriting (2009), The Language of Film (2010 and 2015), and Adaptation for Scriptwriters (2019) and Thomas Hardy and the Folk Horror Tradition (2023). He is co-editing the forthcoming Bloomsbury publication, Horrifying Children: Hauntology and the Legacy of Children’s Fiction.

 Wayne Johnson is Senior Lecturer in Film and Media at York St John University, UK Where he has taught History, Film, Media and American Studies. He has published Contemporary Gothic and Horror Film (2021) and The Routledge Companion to Folk Horror (2023) and is co-authoring a forthcoming publication on the ‘Spectral Western’.