Suffolk Ghost Tales – launch party!

Ooh, the launch of Suffolk Ghost Tales is coming up very fast now! We’re officially launching the book in Cherry’s home village, Wenhaston, near Southwold, on the 16 December – just three days after the book comes (nail-biting stuff!!), so it will be Christmas come early for us! The event’s at 12pm in the Village Hall, and is turning into a real village effort, with help and, most importantly, food being given by Cherry’s friends. There’ll even be proper Suffolk rusks to go with the fizz! And it’s free – although of course there will be copies of the book to tempt – as well as Suffolk Folk Tales and my other books!

I’ll be telling ghostly tales from the book – some local to the Wenhaston area, some not, and Cherry will be singing ghostly songs that relate to the stories and bringing us around to Christmas … that prime ghost story time.

It will be very special to perform alongside her! Cherry, of course, being the person who got me interested in all things folk in the first place. You can find out about how she introduced me to Suffolk’s most famous folk tale, the Green Children, here. Maybe I wasn’t so keen when she and my stepdad dragged me along to folk clubs and festivals as a child, but by the time I was in my early teens I was hooked. I became a storyteller because I couldn’t do what she could – sing – and wanted a way to share the stories I loved. And now we can perform together!

Come and join us if you can – and if not, you can buy the book here. There will be lots more blogs discussing our journey in researching the stories, and discussing the histories behind them here on Palace of Memory, and more events in Suffolk in the New Year – watch this space!


Suffolk Ghost Tales – out very soon!

Very exciting news! My new book is out in just a few weeks on the 13 December – Suffolk Ghost Tales, part of The History Press’s ghost tales series.  This time, it’s been a really special collaboration – with my mother, Cherry Wilkinson.

Here’s the blurb:

SUFFOLK – a peaceful, rural county with big skies, rolling fields, unspoilt beaches, quaint towns and villages. But all is not as quiet as it seems. Could that be the eerie clanking of gibbet chains at the crossroads? Did you see a desolate face at an upper window or a spectral white form lurking in the hedgerow? Cats are not always lucky – and beware a north Suffolk Broad in the still, small hours of Midsummer Night . . .

Kirsty Hartsiotis and Cherry Wilkinson retell, with spine-chilling freshness, thirty fabulous ghost tales from all corners of this beguiling county. So pull up a chair, stoke the fire and prepare to see its gentle landscape in a new light.

Cherry and I moved to Suffolk when I was two, living first near Hadleigh, later in Bury (and a couple of stints over the border in Norfolk, shh). I left, but Cherry still lives in the county, near the coast. Her association goes back long before I was born: her great-aunts who lived in the house next to Lindsey’s little chapel, and through school at St Felix, Southwold and holidays at Sizewell before the power station changed everything… We had a chance to dig more deeply into Suffolk’s heritage a few years ago when I wrote Suffolk Folk Tales (The History Press, 2013).

But there were many places we realised we’d never seen – well, this book has gone a long way to rectifying that.  It’s been quite a ride, discovering these wonderful, spooky – often sad, sometimes hair-raising! – stories and working together to create the tales we’ve told. Some you might know well – there’s the story of Toby, the black drummer, and the sad tale of the Lowestoft witches. We’ve travelled all over the county visiting the locations of the tales, talking to the current owners of buildings, and discovering some new stories from people we know.

Suffolk is the ghost county – childhood home of  M R James, and the setting for some of his scariest tales. Katherine Soutar‘s wonderful cover illustration hooks into that unheimlich world on the edge of our own… Our tales tread a point somewhere between storytellers’ local legends and the literary ghost story. We hope you will share these stories, too, and keep the tales of the dead alive.

We’re celebrating with a launch event in Wenhaston Village Hall, near Southwold, on the 16 December 12pm. Come and hear tales and songs, and celebrate with a glass of wine!