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Zoe Gilbert & Ben Short - Forest Stories

Zoe Gilbert & Ben Short: Forest Stories

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Zoe Gilbert’s new novel, ‘Mischief Acts’, and Ben Short’s memoir, ‘Burn: A Story of Fire, Woods and Healing’ share a fascination with the forest and its transformative spirit.

Herne the hunter, mischief-maker, spirit of the forest, leader of the wild hunt, hurtles through the centuries pursued by his creator. Zoe Gilbert’s ‘Mischief Acts’ is British folklore as you've never read it before: dangerous, sexy, troubling, daring, savage, an exhilarating race through time and space, weaving together the ancient and the contemporary.

Ben Short’s ‘Burn: A Story of Fire, Woods and Healing’, is an intoxicating mix of evocative memoir and immersive folklore; it documents Short's flight from a stressful existence in the city to a centring - if gruelling - life at a charcoal kiln in the West Dorset woods.

Zoe Gilbert is the winner of the Costa Short Story Award 2014. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, and in anthology and journals in the UK and internationally. She has taken part in writing projects in China and South Korea for the British Council, and she is completing a PhD on folk tales in contemporary fiction. She is the co-founder of London Lit Lab, which provides writing courses and mentoring for writers. She lives in Folkestone.

Ben Short is a charcoal burner and woodsman, working in the Dorset countryside. A decade ago he worked as an advertising copywriter in London. He has lived in huts and old wagons, spent summers off-grid in woods, hauled his water from wells and had to forage for his supper. He lives in Dorset with his partner and son.

This event will be chaired by Simon Richmond.

“This is the most adventurous, stylistically magnificent thing I've read for years. Nobody does fantasy like Zoe Gilbert.”
-Natasha Pulley on ‘Mischief Acts’

“Short's story is as much about work as it is escape and landscape; he illuminates the value of doing rather than thinking. Beautifully written, ‘Burn’ is melancholy and hopeful in equal measure.”
-The Mail on Sunday on ‘Burn’


The Shape of Things to Come, our forward-thinking Book Festival returns this autumn. Running from Friday 18 November to the following Sunday 27 November 2022, Folkestone Book Festival will present a celebration of writing, reading, thinking and debate.

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CT20 1BN

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