Taisia Kitaiskaia’s Literary Witches – A Collection of Magical Women Writers, illustrated by Katy Horan, is similar to We Are Artists, the book I wrote about two days ago. Only this time, it’s not women artists but writers from around the world that are celebrated.
In thirty chapters, Kitaiskaia and Horan pay homage to as many writers. Some like Emily Brontë, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, and Toni Morrison are well known. Others, like Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad or Argentinian poet Alejandra Pizarnik, might be a little less familiar. Or, at least, I didn’t know them. The wide range allows many readers to discover new names.
Here is the Table of Contents.
The biggest difference between this and We Are Artists is the way it is presented. The biographies are only one paragraph long and not seven pages like in the book about artists. The illustrations also depict the women and something that symbolizes their writing.
Additionally to the biographical paragraph, you find, on the same page, three fictional paragraphs, inspired by the authors. You could call them flash fiction pieces. They are dreamlike explorations of the writer’s consciousness.
What I liked best are the illustrations. I think Katy Horan is terrific. And I also find the biographical paragraphs useful, especially because there’s also a list of the most important works of the authors.
To give you a better idea I’ve chosen three chapters that should help illustrate the book.
Virginia Woolf’s chapter
And Shirley Jackson
And Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad
Literary Witches was published in 2017 and I think I’ve had it since then. I pick it up quite frequently as I like it very much. It’s not the kind of book that I read from beginning to end, more one that I browse.