Moss Witch : And Other Conversations by Sara Maitland


Each story in Sara Maitland’s collection enacts a daring kind of alchemy, fusing together raw elements of scientific theory with ancient myth, folkloric archetype and contemporary storytelling. As the laboratory smoke settles, we are treated to a new strain of narrative: a hybrid of fiction and non-fiction, the atavistic and the futuristic. We’re also introduced to a weird and wonderful cast of characters: identical twins who fight bitterly day and night for purely quantum mechanical reasons; an expert on bird migration awaiting the homecoming of her lover on the windswept shores of the Hebrides. All the more remarkable is that each of these stories sprang from a conversation with a scientist and grew directly out of cutting-edge research. As befits their hybrid nature, each is also accompanied by an afterword, specially written by the consulting scientist to introduce us to the wonder behind the weirdness.


Prof. Jim Al-Khalili, Dr. Rob Appleby, Dr. Melissa Baxter, Dr. Jamie Davies, Prof. Robin Dunbar, Dr. Charles Fernyhough, Prof. Robert Furness, Dr. Linda Kirstein, Gemma Lewis, Prof. Tim O’Brien, Dr. Neil Roberts, Dr. Jennifer Rowntree, Dr. Tara Shears, Prof. Ian Stewart.


‘She has built bridges that may tempt new minds across to science. How ingenious.’ – The Guardian

‘Simply dazzling; my woodland walks will never be the same.’  New Scientist

‘Maitland’s tales… blend science with myth, folklore and anachronism to powerful effect.’ – New Statesman

‘In Moss Witch, the stories matter, and the science matters. That combination is a delight to explore.’ – Bookmunch

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