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Author Jeanette Winterson spellbound by Pendle Witches story
AN acclaimed East Lancashire author has written a horror novella based on the Pendle witches.
The Daylight Gate by Accrington writer Jeanette Winterson, above right, marries the writer’s style with that of legendary British horror film company Hammer.
Hammer, which has a revived publishing arm, approached the Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit author with the concept of writing about the witches.
The result is a novella set in the early 16th Century, which critics have described as dark, terrifying and ‘unputdownable’.
The story revolves around the real-life experiences of landowner Alice Nutter and a group of outcast Lancashire women, most of whom came to a tragic end on the scaffold after their famous trial in 1612, following James I’s bloody campaign against witchcraft and Catholicism.
Winterson describes the witch hunt as taking place in the area’s finest homes where men with law and religion on their side, assembled to discuss their campaign to prosecute anyone in the land suspected of sorcery In Winterson’s fantasy re-telling they are up against a band of women who may or may not be witches – and who are determined to use their knowledge of the black arts, just to stay alive.
She said: “My writing a Hammer Horror sounds bonkers and it might be, but it is a very scary novella about the Lancashire Witches.
“I wrote a novella called Weight for the Canongate Myth series. I loved doing it, though it was subject-specific, and I think the little book is a good one.
“So when I was offered the Hammer, I said ‘Yes’ to see where it would take me.”
The novella is also said to have been shaped with the advice of Winterson’s friend crime and thriller writer Ruth Rendell, for her first foray into the genre. To find out more visit www.jeanettewinterson.com.