Writer/Head of Dept. of Fine Art and Education Fahey Tracy

6000 €

The Night Hag and Other Stories. A collection of short fiction based on figures of older women, drawn from European mythology.

I'm proposing a fiction project based on folklore, creating fictional responses to the Cailleach or Hag across European folklore. This stems from research conducted on my 2021 residency in Cill Rialaig, Ireland inspired by the figure the Hag, the Old Woman, or the Cailleach, in the collected tales of storyteller Seán Ó’Conaill. I want to reinvigorate the emblematic figure of the Hag; to reclaim the word from its current, reductivist, and frequently misogynistic use and reinstate her as a figure of sovereignty and power. I see this work as an important part of restoring 'visibility’ to emblems of perimenopausal and menopausal women in global culture. This project is a collection of short fiction, working title, 'The Night Hag,' a body of work in response to the figure of the Cailleach, but also her associated figures such as the bean ghlúine (midwife), the bean feasa (wise woman) and the bean chaointe (keener). As I make a lot of work based on setting, these stories are based to date on research conducted in residencies in Ireland, in response to sites sacred to the Hag and the legends that surround them. As an academic and writer, I am drawn to folklore in Ireland and Finland, some of the richest in the world, and am interested in researching figures from Finnish mythology such as Akka and Louhi to add my work. I believe folklore is still relevant to contemporary life; in this collection, I propose to situate these stories of the Cailleach in the present, as I did in my previous folklore collection, 'New Music For Old Rituals' praised by Black Static magazine; 'Fahey performs the impressive magic of reinvogorating old stories at the same time as reflecting out new world and modern concerns.' (Georgina Bruce, 2019). My desire is to reinterpret these tales of the Hag and bring them to a wider audience.