WILD WORDS: A collection of words from around the world that describe happenings in nature
Wild Words is out today! It’s a beautifully interested, easy-to-read little book, perfect for a Christmas present.
Today in Hastings, the sun’s bright, but it’s chilly outside. In the Balkans, this deceptive, watery light would be known as *zubato sunce*, (sun with big teeth). Find more words, from *oplett* – the Norwegian word for the breaks between showers – to *beija-flor*, which is the Portuguese word for hummingbird and means literally ‘kiss flower’. Or my favourite, *Hexenringe*, the German word for the marks left by rings of mushrooms, burned into the earth by witches’ dancing feet when they dance with the devil.
Here’s what Pavilion say about the book. “It’s a celebration of beautiful words from around the world that describe nature, animals and the feelings evoked by the wild. A dip into this book and a deep drink of Yang Sio Maan‘s inspirational illustrations will give you a glimpse into different landscapes and cultures and serve as a little window onto the constantly changing, phenomenal beauty of the wild world.”
Find out more and buy online here
Rock, Paper, Scissors: Simple, Thrifty, Fun Activities to Keep Your Family Entertained All Year Round
My book Rock, Paper, Scissors is out now, published by Quadrille. It’s fun and colourful and packed with all the idiocy usually packed safely away in my head. Learn how to make your own henge, try music hall paper tearing, sculpt paper masks inspired by Billy Childish woodcuts or make Keith Richards-a-like clay heads. Rock, Paper, Scissors is a collection of creative, fun activities families can do with very simple materials and includes art, science experiments, a pinch of geology and a sprinkling of magic. You’ll find it in all the usual shops, online and off….
On A Starry Night: Fun Things To Make and Do From Dusk Until Dawn
My new book, On A Starry Night, is out now. It feels a little strange promoting books at a time when so many of us have money or health worries and the country is in the grip of an existential crisis, but this should bring some cheer.
It’s kind of perfect for families in lockdown – the publication timing is spookily spot-on. I’ve brought together crafts, games, recipes and a healthy sprinkling of horror-and-folklore related activities (I just can’t help myself), all perfect for doing after the sun goes down, or in a room with the curtains pulled tight.
I worked in collaboration with the marvellous Jeff Pitcher, who took the colourful, fun-filled photographs that run through the book. They feature my kids Dusty and Arthur, their friends and the gang at Jeff’s adventure playground. I’ll post a gallery of pictures from the book later this week.
I feel a bit weird pointing out that it’s available online, as I really don’t want to add to the burden on our stressed postal services, but there are click-and-collect ways you can get around that. And, if you squint hard enough, it is an essential.
If you’ve got kids of any age, they’ll find something cool to do in there, and, though I say so myself, it makes a really lovely present.
Warriors, Witches, Women
Warriors, Witches, Womenwas published in February 2020. I’ve spent a year (and, let’s face it, most of my life) immersed in mythos, fables, ancient religion and feminism, and this was the colourful result. The stories of 50 goddesses, ghosts, and half-monsters, revisited from a modern, feminist perspective, all illustrated sensitively and colourfully by Harriet Lee Merrion. Perhaps most excitingly (for me) was that the amazing Maxine Peake wrote a foreword for me.
Here’s what ‘they’ say about it.
“Rebel deities, mysterious enchantresses, forces of nature and deciders of fate: these are the demonised and misunderstood heroines of mythology whose tales have been overshadowed, overlooked, twisted and
misremembered, until now…
In ‘Warriors, Witches, Women‘ Kate Hodges brings a fresh perspective to classical mythology and folklore – one that celebrates these colourful female characters as strong, daring individuals and contemporary idols. From feminist fairies to fierce sea-creature, from protective half-human harpies to seductive voodoo goddesses, each character’s story offers an entertaining and provocative fable worthy of our time – placing women firmly in the centre of the narrative.
Available in the US, Australia and New Zealand here
Welcome to the Dark Side: Occult London
I’ve always been fascinated by esoterica and the occult, so I leapt at the chance to contribute to this beautiful map of the capital. It documents the magickal side of the city, places where secret societies meet, shady basements where rituals took place and where you might make like Blake and spot a throng of angels. The illustrations by Brian Rau shimmer, and Tree Carr’s guide to tools for the aspiring occultist is a practical guide for any beginner witch.
Here’s what publishers Herb Lester have to say about it.
“All human life is in London. But within the city exists a shadow world of druids, mystics, magicians and witches. This is an introduction to that hidden realm.
Welcome To The Dark Side is a large-format map that charts centuries of occult activity including the headquarters of the Golden Dawn; Aleister Crowley’s temples; where William Blake saw angels and William Burroughs launched a psychic attack after eating an unsatisfactory cheesecake.
For the aspiring occultist, there are shops to buy spells and books on magic, and libraries and museums for further study. Also included is A Guide To Magickal Tools For The Aspiring Occultist, a checklist for those wishing to take their exploration of the subject beyond the physical realm.
This is London, but not as you know it: Welcome To The Dark Side!”
I Know A Woman
This biographical collection was published by Aurum on February 15. It’s all about the links between some of the most fascinating women of the last couple of hundred years; friendships, mentoring, influences and groups that served to inspire and strengthen their resolve.
There are mini biographies of 84 women; some you’ll know such as Amelia Earhart, Beyoncé and Katharine Hepburn, but others are more esoteric. I loved uncovering the stories of artist Claude Cahun, aviatrix Marie Marvingt, and maths genius Sofia Kovalevskaya.
The book is made by the incredible illustrations of Sarah Papworth; they’re vibrant, compelling and tell each woman’s story to great effect. The book is available in all good bookshops and online, and I can’t wait for you to see it in real life – it’s a beautiful thing.
This guide to the city’s green side was published in May 2017 by Michael O’Mara. They say:
“London is a wonderful city, but sometimes the hustle and bustle, noise and grime, can get too much and you feel the need for some peace and quiet, clean air and nature. But there’s no need to flee to the countryside, as London has so many surprisingly ‘rural’ areas and activities to offer.
With everything from beautiful gardens and country walks, to cosy pubs and nature reserves, Rural London will help you to discover a very unexpected side of the capital city. Discover the best farmers markets, watch some Morris dancing and visit a country show. Take a stroll around London’s villages, go bird-spotting and take some time out in a beautiful park.”
Find it on Amazon here.
London in an Hour
Published by Virgin in May 2016, this guide featured 120 bite-size ideas for things to do and places to visit in London in under an hour. Buy it from Amazon here.
My first ‘proper’ book was published by Virgin in April 2014. You can buy it on Amazon, or via Hive, or at any good bookstore. It’s also stocked in most big London galleries and museums.
Press for Little London
“The ultimate guide to entertaining little kids in the big city.” Stylist Magazine
“There is something here for all families, whatever your budget. And for those outside of London, it’s still worth a look for those special trips to the capital. A super useful must-have buy.” Sharon F. Jones
Little London in the Sunday Express
“Even mums who think they know it all are sure to find something new in Little London.” Mummy In The City