Literary Witches
Celebrate the witchiest women writers with beautiful illustrations and imaginative vignettes.Literary Witches draws a connection between witches and visionary writers: both are figures of formidable creativity, empowerment, and general badassery. Through poetic portraits, Taisia Kitaiskaia and Katy Horan honor the witchy qualities of well-known and obscure authors alike, including Virginia Woolf, Mira Bai, Toni Morrison, Emily Dickinson, Octavia E. Butler, Sandra Cisneros, and many more.Perfect for both book lovers and coven members, Literary Witches is a treasure and a source of inspiration. Kitaiskaia and Horan bring fresh insights on your most beloved authors, suggest enchanting new writers, and invite you to rediscover the magic of literature.

Literary Witches Details

TitleLiterary Witches
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 10th, 2017
PublisherSeal Press
ISBN-139781580056731
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Feminism, Biography, Poetry, Writing, Books About Books, Art

Literary Witches Review

  • Ron Charles
    January 1, 1970
    Looking for the perfect Halloween gift for the nasty woman in your haunted house? Try "Literary Witches." It’s an enchanted anthology of 30 great female writers — from Anais Nin to Zora Neale Hurston. Each one is captured in a folkloric illustration by Katy Horan and then, on the facing page, illuminated with a bewitching description by Taisia Kitaiskaia.These mini biographies — “the hexen text” — are more witchopedia than wikipedia. Kitaiskaia boils each writer down to three invocations, weavin Looking for the perfect Halloween gift for the nasty woman in your haunted house? Try "Literary Witches." It’s an enchanted anthology of 30 great female writers — from Anais Nin to Zora Neale Hurston. Each one is captured in a folkloric illustration by Katy Horan and then, on the facing page, illuminated with a bewitching description by Taisia Kitaiskaia.These mini biographies — “the hexen text” — are more witchopedia than wikipedia. Kitaiskaia boils each writer down to three invocations, weaving historical facts with her own surreal visions. Emily Bronte, for instance, “Watcher of the Moors, Fantasy, and Cruel Romance,” “makes a telescope from ice and twine. Though this tunnel, she stares into her own eye until she sees a galaxy, and through the galaxy until she sees a stranger’s eye.”Gertrude Stein, “Madame of Roses, Geometry, and Repetition,” “is a spider, weaving a web of funhouse mirrors. . . . For Gertrude, each word is a hedgehog in a metal cage.”If you know the writers, these symbol-laced musings are evocative; if you don’t, they’re alluringly mysterious. . . . To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...
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  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    Worth it for the art and reading recommendations though I wasn't enamored of the short, paragraph length mythic vingettes. Felt a touch onanistic to me.
  • Ruby
    January 1, 1970
    a little indulgent but rather beautiful
  • Prince William Public Library System
    January 1, 1970
    This is a unique little volume of female writers, and the provided reading lists for each author is a pretty good start to these ladies. Most of them were familiar, but there were a few women I wasn't aware of, but will certainly go into the queue now! The biographical information is a little plain, and the "witchy" descriptions may fall flat for people unaware of the goal of this book (the women in this series aren't actually witches; nor are these women necessarily writing about scary stuff, b This is a unique little volume of female writers, and the provided reading lists for each author is a pretty good start to these ladies. Most of them were familiar, but there were a few women I wasn't aware of, but will certainly go into the queue now! The biographical information is a little plain, and the "witchy" descriptions may fall flat for people unaware of the goal of this book (the women in this series aren't actually witches; nor are these women necessarily writing about scary stuff, but rather the authors have take the term "witch," and reclaimed it).My favorite aspect of this book is the illustrations--they're quite interesting, and very well done. They have a gothic-horror aesthetic to them, even if the author wasn't a gothic or horror author. As they mention there's no way that they could name every single fantastic literary woman, and I applaud them for adding women readers may not be familiar with (like Maria Sabina or Yumiko Kurahashi--unfamiliar to me, at least). I'm still waiting for one of these volumes celebrating fabulous women in history to invite Aphra Behn to the table (or even Elizabeth Gaskell, or Mary Astell, or Mary Chudleigh), but that's just my unyielding love for the subject of my MA thesis. We mostly know about Emily Bronte by now, yes? Not that I don't love the Brontes.--Amanda T.
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  • Monika
    January 1, 1970
    This book is so unbelievably beautiful and just perfect (to me at least). The writing was poetic and gorgeous. The illustrations were so well done. The writers chosen were diverse and so interesting to read about. There were quite a few I hadn't heard of! Definitely going on the favourites list.
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  • Keely
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed the art and the "hexen text" was interesting, but I would have preferred more biographical information on the authors. Unfortunately the book concludes with a mention of animal cruelty as part of a religious ritual (page 127). To me that felt like a poor way to end the book and really left me with a negative feeling about the book as a whole, as if everything that may have been empowering about it was undone with this anecdote. Due to the fact that the book was fairly good up un I really enjoyed the art and the "hexen text" was interesting, but I would have preferred more biographical information on the authors. Unfortunately the book concludes with a mention of animal cruelty as part of a religious ritual (page 127). To me that felt like a poor way to end the book and really left me with a negative feeling about the book as a whole, as if everything that may have been empowering about it was undone with this anecdote. Due to the fact that the book was fairly good up until that point and that it really does provide a good starting point for discovering women authors I still gave it two stars.
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  • Candice
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my. WHAT A GIFT.
  • Leah Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers is beautiful, sensuous, and fun. It draws from the deep historical association between strong (dangerous) womanhood and witchcraft to portray a wide, diverse array of women authors as witches. Each author has a small bio accompanied by recommended reading, a mythic, folkloric strange vignette based on the author and her writing about her activities as a witch by Taisia Kitaiskaia, and a haunting portrait by Katy Horan. Some of the vignette Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers is beautiful, sensuous, and fun. It draws from the deep historical association between strong (dangerous) womanhood and witchcraft to portray a wide, diverse array of women authors as witches. Each author has a small bio accompanied by recommended reading, a mythic, folkloric strange vignette based on the author and her writing about her activities as a witch by Taisia Kitaiskaia, and a haunting portrait by Katy Horan. Some of the vignettes felt more connected to the authors than others, and some of the biographies had small errors in their attempt to be short and mysterious, which I found annoying. I adored the more poetic ones, like Anaïs Nin and Mary Shelley and their connections to their lives, the ones that really linked the author’s magic to her words or the stories she loved to tell. Some seemed a bit more forced—for example, I didn’t like Virginia Woolf’s “wolf child,” since it formed a strange connection to her childless life, while I did like the idea of her being a lighthouse in a flood of consciousnesses she can’t quite escape, which made sense for me having read much of her works and her diary. For the most part, this is a truly lovely book, fun and a fantastic gift. I recommend it for women writers and revolutionaries out there, for feminist writers of all genders and sexualities, for those who have a love for the mythic and for witchcraft.
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  • Savvy
    January 1, 1970
    Such a beautiful and super cool little book. Stay witchy. 🖤
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    A fun, unique way of looking at the literary world's lionesses, as it were, including many well-known writers, but also some I'm entirely unfamiliar with, but will be seeking out.
  • l.
    January 1, 1970
    A cute and pointless little book. I like the art.
  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)
    January 1, 1970
    Really torn between a 3 and a 4. Gorgeous, ethereal, witchy, disturbing portraits of the 30 authors featured (the art is my favorite part of this book). Each author given an honorific, and three flash fiction-esque blurbs about them. Small paragraph bio, and recommended reads. I really enjoyed this book and/but wasn't as smitten as I wanted to be. The flash fiction-y portions were either fabulous (from Emily Bronte, "He'll come in, Emily dreams, like the winds she walks against -- muscular gusts Really torn between a 3 and a 4. Gorgeous, ethereal, witchy, disturbing portraits of the 30 authors featured (the art is my favorite part of this book). Each author given an honorific, and three flash fiction-esque blurbs about them. Small paragraph bio, and recommended reads. I really enjoyed this book and/but wasn't as smitten as I wanted to be. The flash fiction-y portions were either fabulous (from Emily Bronte, "He'll come in, Emily dreams, like the winds she walks against -- muscular gusts, clenched hands snarling under her coats.") or felt really uninspired (Agatha's three blurbs focused so deeply on plots from her books, there was nothing of the woman there). Some diversity in terms of representing women of color; predominantly English-language, US/UK authors.
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  • Bethany | Wraiths and Roses
    January 1, 1970
    Poetic and absolutely spellbinding. This was one of those books that I both wanted to savor slowly and finish in one sitting. The illustrations and prose that accompany them are so inspiring. I have added so many books and poems to my TBR because of this book! Such a wonderful celebration of extraordinary women writers.
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  • Zulfiya
    January 1, 1970
    To put it simply, it was short and sweet. I truly enjoyed the concept of the book, but I think the execution was somewhat sub par. I think the illustrations were more meaningful than the so called magical realms these ladies exist. I was not happy that some of my favorite authors did not make the cut, but I also think that some illustrations and some descriptions were spot on - I am talking about the vignettes for Butler, Bronte, Akhmatova. It also mentioned some names that I want to check out f To put it simply, it was short and sweet. I truly enjoyed the concept of the book, but I think the execution was somewhat sub par. I think the illustrations were more meaningful than the so called magical realms these ladies exist. I was not happy that some of my favorite authors did not make the cut, but I also think that some illustrations and some descriptions were spot on - I am talking about the vignettes for Butler, Bronte, Akhmatova. It also mentioned some names that I want to check out from my local libraries, so in this aspect, the book definitely served its purpose even though I found some vignettes "indulgent" and unnecessary. I think the book is like a dessert that you enjoyed but you did not have to have it.
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  • Shaunesay
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to like this, but it was too artsy for me, I guess. The layout is an artwork of that woman, and another page with 3 paragraphs of... ode? to her, then a small section of history, and a few reading recommendations. I really feel the purpose would have been better served to have showcased a small passage from each author's writing, not someone else's poetical writings about her. It just didn't do it for me. I was much more impressed with the layout of a book like Women in Science by Rache I wanted to like this, but it was too artsy for me, I guess. The layout is an artwork of that woman, and another page with 3 paragraphs of... ode? to her, then a small section of history, and a few reading recommendations. I really feel the purpose would have been better served to have showcased a small passage from each author's writing, not someone else's poetical writings about her. It just didn't do it for me. I was much more impressed with the layout of a book like Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky, and would have preferred a similar treatment here.
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  • Kristin Boldon
    January 1, 1970
    A weird, lovely little book filled with women writers both famous and not. The illustrations and the imaginative descriptions are entrancing. There were many writers I respected, some writers I wasn't familiar with, others whose name I know and want to read more of. The descriptions and suggested readings are good prompts. But a few details niggle: Emily Bronte's portrait is based on one of Charlotte, and Mary Wollstonecraft died in the weeks after giving birth, not in childbirth. And those are A weird, lovely little book filled with women writers both famous and not. The illustrations and the imaginative descriptions are entrancing. There were many writers I respected, some writers I wasn't familiar with, others whose name I know and want to read more of. The descriptions and suggested readings are good prompts. But a few details niggle: Emily Bronte's portrait is based on one of Charlotte, and Mary Wollstonecraft died in the weeks after giving birth, not in childbirth. And those are just the ones I noticed.
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  • Daniel Swensen
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adore this book. I picked it up by chance at my local library's "Staff Picks" section, and it turned out to be one of the best book decisions I've made this year. Gorgeous paintings by Katy Horan, beautiful poetic passages that inspire and fire the imagination. That, and fuel for the rest of this year's reading list. Highly recommended.
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  • Maggie Gordon
    January 1, 1970
    Literary Witches is a great little coffee table book if you're into both good writing and witchy things. The art is a delight and the write-ups, while not very informative, are a pleasurable bit of poetry/spellwork.
  • Helen Patrice
    January 1, 1970
    A homage to favourite women writersThe book is slight, and comes out to little more than a suggested reading list, but there are some gems of language as the author conjures these women as witches.
  • Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
    January 1, 1970
    This book helped me to discover new bad-ass female authors, while singing love songs to some of my favorites (here's looking at you, Plath). I loved the drawings and the lists of the author's top works. Some of the little vignettes about the women were magical and poetic, while others crossed from whimsical to nonsensical and a little too ridiculous for my taste. An interesting, informative, and quick read.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Charming, Magical, Inspiring.
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    The foreward alone is worth the read. This quote on authors, pointed out by a coworker, is particularly striking: "Certainly they have much in common with witches: women who create things other than children are still considered dangerous by many." What follows is a lovely collection of female writers. Each entry is accompanied by a poetic interpretation of their lives, a small biography, and selected works. It introduced me to a few author witches I had not encountered before, and now my readi The foreward alone is worth the read. This quote on authors, pointed out by a coworker, is particularly striking: "Certainly they have much in common with witches: women who create things other than children are still considered dangerous by many." What follows is a lovely collection of female writers. Each entry is accompanied by a poetic interpretation of their lives, a small biography, and selected works. It introduced me to a few author witches I had not encountered before, and now my reading list has gotten even longer. The illustrations are haunting and perfect for the text.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I love that this book celebrates women writers - both mainstream and obscure. Fascinating read.
  • Meagan
    January 1, 1970
    This book is seriously beautiful and does a great job of introducing you to some female authors you may have never been exposed to before. They did a great job of really covering SO many authors from different eras, genres, and cultures. Plus the writing and illustrations were just gorgeous.
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  • Marta Pelrine-Bacon
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the art and the witchy imaginings of these wonderful writers and poets. I give it five witch hats.
  • Mia Douglass
    January 1, 1970
    god that was beautiful
  • Artemis
    January 1, 1970
    Taisia Kitaiskaia celebrates female writers from all walks of life. She writes about them as witches, told in creative lyrical prose suiting each independent, brave, and awesome and unconventional woman writer; who are each casting spells, summoning incantations, and creating life and hope by their own hand in penning their beautiful, honest, often sorrowful and brutal work.The writing is gorgeous and amazing. It enchanted me; reminding me of Laini Taylor (who I guess is too modern and not on th Taisia Kitaiskaia celebrates female writers from all walks of life. She writes about them as witches, told in creative lyrical prose suiting each independent, brave, and awesome and unconventional woman writer; who are each casting spells, summoning incantations, and creating life and hope by their own hand in penning their beautiful, honest, often sorrowful and brutal work.The writing is gorgeous and amazing. It enchanted me; reminding me of Laini Taylor (who I guess is too modern and not on the "right" side of obscurity to be included in this book, alongside J.K. Rowling, who is... too popular and mainstream to be listed?). It is poetic, scary, and I love it. The illustrations by Katy Horan are as illustrious. As I got nearer to the end, in merely under an hour of reading this 127-page listing of feminist writing figures, I realized that a lot more women could have been included as "Literary Witches", such as Maya Angelou, to name just one. It is short, but satisfying for what it is, and it doesn't ruin the careful, magical effect of Kitaiskaia's writing. I highly recommend reading the intro, as in the preface and foreword, as well, for they brilliantly sum up how all women who create absolutely anything but babies - be they other worlds or cooking or dancing - are witches in their own right. They use their brains, their passions, their life experiences to make themselves heard in a world that wants to silence them; that wants them acknowledged only in relation to men. As "witch" describes a woman of her own making, using her own power in her own terms, unrelated to how she is seen via her relationships to others, unlike "mother", "sister", "daughter", "virgin", and "whore".'Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Woman Writers' - Taisia Kitaiskaia loves witches, plus feminist writers throughout the ages, from the world over. They are linked, giving off their own subtle power, and anyone who cares about either topic should check this out. Like 'Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls', 'Rejected Princesses' and 'She Persisted', 'Literary Witches' is a fiery, entertaining and quick must-read for the modern feminist literature branch (that also contains gorgeous artwork - art for art, craft for craft, with heart).From Kitaiskaia's preface:"Due to time, space, and seniority (long-practicing Witches must be noted before newly initiated itches), the authors that follow make up only a single shelf of our role-model library. We hope that you will celebrate them with us, read their works, and go out to create your own canon of Literary Witches".Follow your wyrd. Welcome the Witch.Final Score: 4/5
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  • Mary Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    “In night’s secret wood, where women go to eat their own hearts, Audre [Lord] is a goddess rising from a pond on lava. Women approach timidly but accept her proffered hand. Audre dips them into the bubbling gold and they emerge in molten suits, lava filling their wounds.”This book is so beautiful. The illustrations are gorgeous, the writing is evocative and secretly knowing, and the recommendations of works by each writer at the bottom are spot-on! I’ve read and re-read this book several times i “In night’s secret wood, where women go to eat their own hearts, Audre [Lord] is a goddess rising from a pond on lava. Women approach timidly but accept her proffered hand. Audre dips them into the bubbling gold and they emerge in molten suits, lava filling their wounds.”This book is so beautiful. The illustrations are gorgeous, the writing is evocative and secretly knowing, and the recommendations of works by each writer at the bottom are spot-on! I’ve read and re-read this book several times in the last couple of weeks. I’ve added a recommendation from every writer and I look forward to coming back to re-read these short epitaphs after I remind myself (or learn for the first time) about these various authors. I knew I would love this since I adore Taisia Kitaiskaia’s “Ask Baba Yaga”, but I didn’t know how obsessed i would become with this. I’ve been reading trash for a while now, telling myself I would come back to ‘literary fiction’/‘the classics’. I got this because I’m a sucker for any book with the word “witch” in the title and because, like I said, I loved “Ask Baba Yaga”. I had no idea it would have me filling up my goodread’s lists with books I’m not embarrassed to tell people I’m reading!As a reader, I appreciate the fresh perspective on familiar figures that i haven’t read since high school or early college. It got me excited for them in a way I haven’t been in a long time. As a Witch, I LOVE the images and symbolism. I can feel a true connection to the spirits of these writers and to the spiritual side of life in general. For the skeptical, the forward is a beautiful description of witchy ways and the archetype of the Witch that I really loved. And finally, as a feminist, I highly recommend this book! It has so many diverse female writers, several of which I have never heard of and look forward to reading. I was a little afraid a book created by two white women of their personal literary, witchy influences would be a pretty Euro-centric list but it has a great variety of more modern, historical, even ancient female writers from across the ethnic and sexuality spectrum. The recommendations of their works to check out (including best translations), great biographies on them, and less formidable starting points for new readers are very helpful.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Julie Poole Literary Witches is a book I didn't know that I was searching for for the past, I don't know, twenty years! I grew up thinking and believing that women artists and writers were somehow inferior. They didn't publish as many books or win enough fancy prizes. In high school, I bashed my head with The Beats, the Benzedrine poppers, the booze guzzlers. How uncool it would have been for me to admit to my guy friends that I actually hated "Naked Lunch." In secret, I discovered Toni Morrison Julie Poole Literary Witches is a book I didn't know that I was searching for for the past, I don't know, twenty years! I grew up thinking and believing that women artists and writers were somehow inferior. They didn't publish as many books or win enough fancy prizes. In high school, I bashed my head with The Beats, the Benzedrine poppers, the booze guzzlers. How uncool it would have been for me to admit to my guy friends that I actually hated "Naked Lunch." In secret, I discovered Toni Morrison, and thought, "yes, I know what a novel is now." In college, I forced myself to stick to the canon, a serious student should study serious writers seriously. I certainly took note that in my American Lit survey course, Dickinson was discussed for 30 minutes and William Carlos William's old chestnuts got an entire week of airtime. Kitaiskaia and Horan remind me just how much women have contributed to literature, and they do it in a way that is fun and refreshing. One by one, I read each beautifully written vignette and decoded the strange and alluring illustrations completely entranced. I recommend reading this book with a cup of lumpy hot chocolate, a water bottle on your tum, and all the windows thrown open to winter. I recommend this book as balm to depressing VIDA stats. I recommend that squirrels and mice conspire to break into every middle and high school in this country and stealthily slide a copy of Literary Witches on the shelf. I recommend to you (and myself) to use this book as a weapon the next time a guy implies you're an idiot if you haven't read all of Vonnegut or if you only made it a few pages into Proust. At nearly 40, I read what I damn well want to read. And, right now, I'm only reading Witches.
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  • Kari Trenten
    January 1, 1970
    A delightful, magical read with a tribute to some of our most celebrated female authors around the world. Each literary talent is interpreted as having a particular type of magic, based on her work and her personality. This is followed by a short biography of the woman described. As someone fascinated by magic, along with women of a literary and artistic nature, this was a treat. As one who strives to be a literary witch in her own right, this is an awe inspiring glance at my foremothers, doubli A delightful, magical read with a tribute to some of our most celebrated female authors around the world. Each literary talent is interpreted as having a particular type of magic, based on her work and her personality. This is followed by a short biography of the woman described. As someone fascinated by magic, along with women of a literary and artistic nature, this was a treat. As one who strives to be a literary witch in her own right, this is an awe inspiring glance at my foremothers, doubling my glee. Not every literary witch made it into the book. Some of my personal modern mentors weren’t there. At the same time, I encountered countless other names whom deserved a page, plus quite a few I’m eager to look up. For an engaging, inspiring slice of herstory which I found myself unable to put down, a collection of literary snapshots put together in a unique tribute, this gets five stars.
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