Tracy Fahey


Kuva: Jussi Virkkumaa

This residency will feed into my current project, my fourth short story collection, to research, reimagine and re-establish the mythological figure of the Hag as an emblem of female power and sovereignty. Coming from Irish culture where the Hag (the cailleach) is a Great Mother, a landscape-shifter, an embodiment of the land, I want to create narratives and images that celebrate older women and their importance, and to do so through exploring mythological tales and investigating their continuing relevance in contemporary culture

This project started in 2021, inspired by residencies in Cill Rialaig, Ireland, where I began a body of creative research into the Irish cailleach (hag, crone). I was struck by how the word ‘Hag’ is currently used in a reductivist, and frequently misogynistic context. This project aims to reinstate this older, powerful woman as a figure of sovereignty and agency to counter issues of invisibility and disempowerment faced by perimenopausal and menopausal women in modern culture.

The intention of this project is that it is based on deep engagement with sites and history in research through writing residencies in Ireland and wider Europe, in response to sites sacred to older women in mythology. During this residency I am particularly interested not only in researching the figure of Akka in Finnish mythology, but in broadening out this scope to investigate witch culture in and the cult of Louhi. I’m also excited to engage with other artists, writers, researchers and mentors through the Saari residency—and to learn from this opportunity for engagement with Finnish culture.


Dr. Tracy Fahey is an Irish writer and academic whose work centres round ideas of the Gothic, folklore, and feminism. She has been twice shortlisted for Best Collection at the British Fantasy Awards in 2017 for The Unheimlich Manoeuvre and 2022 for I Spit Myself Out.  Fahey’s short fiction is published in more than thirty American, British, Australian and Irish anthologies and her work has been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement.