Sunday, 8 November 2009

Shortlist for the Briggs Award 2009

The Katharine Briggs Award is the annual book prize of the Folklore Society. There's a particularly strong shortlist this year, with the Judging Panel saying they were 'pleased to report ... a substantial number of good quality entries'. (The length of the list gives some idea of this, as many previous shortlists have only been about 6 books long).
Alphabetically by author, the shortlist is as follows:

Bever, Edward, The Realities of Witchcraft and Popular Magic in Early Modern Europe (Palgrave Macmillan)
Davies, Owen, Grimoires: A HIstory of Magic Books (Oxford UP)
Evans, Nicholas, Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us (Wiley-Blackwell)
Fimi, Dimitra, Tolkien, Race and Cultural History (Palgrave Macmillan)
Hutton, Ronald, Blood and Mistletoe (Yale UP)
Marsh, Kathryn, The Musical Playground: Global Tradition and Change in Children's Songs and Games (Oxford UP)
Mees, Bernard, Celtic Curses (Boydell & Brewer)
Newton, Michael, Warriors of the Word: The World of Scottish Highlanders (Birlinn)
Sumpter, Caroline, The Victorian Press and the Fairy Tale (Palgrave Macmillan)
Sutherland, Alex, The Brahan Seer: The Making of a Legend (Peter Lang Ltd)

The winner will be announced, as usual, at the buffet following the Briggs Lecture. That takes place this coming Tuesday, 10th November, at the Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London, at 6.30pm (more details here).
I'm also very much looking forward to the lecture itself. Professor John Widdowson, a former President of the Folklore Society, will be speaking on 'Folklore Studies in English Higher Education: Lost Cause or New Opportunity?'. Professor Widdowson played a crucial role in establishing the Centre for English Cultural Tradition (CECTAL) at the University of Sheffield. I did my Masters in Folklore there in its later guise as the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition (NatCECT).
Like many English folklore scholars I have some anxieties over the future (and, indeed, the present) of it as an academic discipline here. That isn't a national/regional concern: although it fares somewhat better in Scotland, it is still not in a particularly strong position, and even some of the bigger American schools have been affected by cuts and retrenchments. Indeed, what makes Professor Widdowson's lecture even more valuable is his long experience at Memorial University, Newfoundland. It may not make comfortable listening, but I expect a customarily thoughtful and incisive appraisal.


  1. Concerning the campaign to save endangered and dying languages, can I point to the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO's campaign.

    The commitment was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations' Geneva HQ in September.

    Your readers may be interested in Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

    A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at

  2. Hello Mr. Folklorist!

    Can you inform us who won the Briggs Award, please?

    Thanks in advance.