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Explore Fairy Traditions by Jeremy Harte wins Folklore Society's Katharine Briggs Award 2005


At the annual Katharine Briggs Award ceremony held at the Warburg Institute, Woburn Square at 8.00 p.m. Tuesday 8th November 2005, the Folklore Society awarded this year's prize for the best book about folklore to Jeremy Harte's Explore Fairy Traditions, published by Explore Books (and imprint of Heart of Albion Press) in October 2004.

At a time when fairies have become associated with the wee and twee portrayals of Victorian childrens' books, Explore Fairy Traditions reveals that the origins of fairy lore are far 'darker' – indeed there was nothing wee or twee about fairies before the mid-nineteenth century. The author's innovative approach reveals how the meaning and significance of fairy lore has changed, often quite radically, over the centuries and is still providing valid insights into present day beliefs.

Jeremy Harte has a life-long interest in folklore, with a particular interest in tales of encounters with the supernatural. His previous books include Cuckoo Pounds and Singing Barrows and The Green Man. By day he is curator of Bourne Hall Museum in Ewell, Surrey.

Explore Fairy Traditions is illustrated with specially-commissioned drawings by Ian Brown.

Another Heart of Albion title, Footprints in Stone by Janet Bord was also short-listed for the 2005 Katharine Briggs Award. A previous Explore Books title, Explore Folklore by Bob Trubshaw was 'Highly Recommended' in the 2003 Katharine Briggs Award.

Heart of Albion Press was founded by Bob Trubshaw in 1989. The Explore Books imprint was launched in September 2002 to provide accessible overviews of the latest academic thinking relating to folklore and mythology. These look specifically at how folklore and mythology form a major, if usually unrecognised, part of modern day popular culture. Whereas the majority of books on folklore and mythology published for the general public mostly reiterate ideas and approaches that were dropped by academics in the 1970s, the Explore Books series reveals that more sophisticated and exciting ideas now prevail.

So far there have been seven books in the Explore Books series, including Explore Folklore, Explore Mythology, Explore Green Men and Explore Phantom Black Dogs. Explore Dragons will be published Spring 2006.

The Explore Books series, together with titles under other imprints, have established Heart of Albion as the leading UK publisher of folklore and mythology. An ever–increasing number of titles about folklore and mythology are scheduled for publication by Heart of Albion over the next two years. Full details of current and imminent titles can be found at www.hoap.co.uk

High resolution TIFF files of the cover and Ian Brown's illustration:


The Folklore Society was founded in 1878, making it one of the first organisations in the world devoted to the study of traditional culture. Society members are interested in a wide range of topics, and their aim is 'to foster folklore research and recording worldwide, and to make the results of such study available to all.'

More about the Folklore Society

Information about Katharine Briggs Folklore Award from the Folklore Society

The Katharine Briggs Folklore Award is given in memory of the distinguished English folktale and literary scholar and President of the Folklore Society from 1969 to 1972. The Folklore Society initiated this award to be given to the author of the book that, in the opinion of the judges, has made the most outstanding contribution to Folklore studies during the year.

Katharine Mary Briggs (1898–1980) is well known to scholars and folklorists for her publications on seventeenth-century folklore, The Anatomy of Puck and Pale Hecate's Team (for which she also received the degree of D.Litt. from Oxford University). She is also remembered for A Dictionary of British Folktales – a four-volume work that is the first comprehensive collection of this valuable material. Her Dictionary of Fairies and two outstanding children's books, Hobberdy Dick and Kate Crackernuts, have also won her a much wider audience.

She wrote and lectured widely in England and America, collected folklore and embarked on many other activities, including the organisation of a small travelling company to perform plays and mimes in remote country districts. A brilliant storyteller to both children and adults, she followed an old tradition and, in this way, spread knowledge of folktales. She is remembered by many friends from different walks of life for her unusual and loveable personality and for her versatility. A biography, Katharine Briggs: Story-Teller, by Hilda Ellis Davidson, was published by Lutterworth Press in 1986.

Katharine Briggs was President of the Folklore Society from 1969 to 1972 and, during a long and valuable service on the Committee, she did much to re-establish it as a publishing Society. It was to encourage folklore research and publication, a cause dear to her heart, that the Katharine Briggs Memorial Fund was set up in her memory in 1982.


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