For more information about my work, writing, and for all the ways you can work with me, please do head over to my main website.
The official bio
Dr Sharon Blackie is a writer and storyteller whose work sits at the interface of psychology, myth and ecology. She is the founder of EarthLines Magazine, described by Jay Griffiths as ‘a deeply intelligent publication’, by George Monbiot as ‘a rare combination and much needed’, and by Robert Macfarlane as ‘a real point of convergence for many thought-tributaries and philosophical paths’. She is the author of The Long Delirious Burning Blue, a novel which the Independent on Sunday called ‘hugely potent. A tribute to the art of storytelling that is itself an affecting and inspiring story’, and which The Scotsman called ‘powerful (reminiscent of The English Patient), filmic, and achieving the kind of symmetry that novels often aspire to, but rarely reach.’ Her most recent book is If Women Rose Rooted, a nonfiction work about Celtic women in myth and contemporary life, described by bestselling novelist Manda Scott as ‘mind-blowing in the most profound and exhilarating sense … an anthem for all we could be. It’s an essential book for this, the most critical of recent times.’ Sharon was formerly a crofter on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, but now lives in the hills of Donegal, in Ireland. Her experiences on the westernmost edges of the Celtic fringe give her a unique perspective on the psychology of belonging, and our relationship with place.
BA (Hons) Psychology, University of Liverpool (1982)
PhD, Faculty of Medicine, University of London (1985)
Diploma Clinical Hypnotherapy, London College of Clinical Hypnosis (2003)
MA Creative Writing, Manchester Metropolitan University (2007)
MA Celtic Studies, University of Wales Trinity St David (in progress)
The more personal touch
I was born in the north-east of England, a Celt through and through: my family and ancestry is both Scottish and Irish, and I was raised from an early age on an imaginatively rich diet of Irish myth, poetry, music and history. So it was that my fascination with Celtic mythology started young; at the age of ten I was making copious lists comparing the names of the Knights of the Round Table in Sir Thomas Mallory’s work to their equivalents in The Mabinogion and the wider Welsh, French and German Arthurian traditions. I didn’t ever solve the problem, but it’s an obsession that never left me.
My first degree was in psychology, and I then spent several years as an academic neuroscientist/ psychologist specialising in the field of anxiety and panic, and working at the Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris and the Institute of Neurology at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London. After a few twists and turns, including some unwise years advising a tobacco company on smoking and health and safer cigarettes, and the acquisition of a master’s degree in Creative Writing, I moved to a croft in the north-west Highlands of Scotland. There I returned to my roots, in practice as a therapist specialising in narrative psychology, myth- and storytelling, as well as in other creative imagination techniques. My passion during those years was, and still is, creating transformation in individuals and groups. These days, I’m deepening my work with myth by completing a Master’s degree in Celtic Studies at the University of Wales Trinity St David.
My husband David Knowles and I founded literary publisher Two Ravens Press (now under new ownership) in 2006, and in 2012 launched EarthLines Magazine, a full-colour print publication for writing about nature, place and the environment.
My first novel The Long Delirious Burning Blue was described by The Independent on Sunday as ‘Hugely potent. A tribute to the art of storytelling that is itself an affecting and inspiring story’ and by The Scotsman as ‘… powerful (reminiscent of The English Patient), filmic, and achieving the kind of symmetry that novels often aspire to, but rarely reach.’ My latest book is If Women Rose Rooted: a narrative nonfiction book about women, Celtic myth, place and belonging.
I continue to write nonfiction essays and creative short prose pieces, but my primary passion is for the work that I do with myth and storytelling to help people along their individual paths of transformation. (Please visit this page for more information.) All of my work springs from an intense connection to the land, which is rooted as much in the mything and storying of place as it is in the physical environment. For many years I was a crofter, both in the far north-west Highlands of Scotland and in the Outer Hebrides, sandwiched between mountains and sea in one of the wildest and most remote places in the country. (On a clear day, we could see St Kilda from our kitchen window.) We produced a large proportion of our own food, keeping sheep, cows, pigs and a miscellany of poultry; a large thriving polytunnel, and a herb garden which allowed me to indulge in my love of ‘weedwifery‘: the amateur practice of herbal medicine in the Celtic traditions. That long, hard work, which required us to be outside in all weathers, as well as a continuing daily need for long walks to explore rocky shoreline, bog and mountain, has given me a deep and nourishing sense of connectedness to place that I feel drawn to share with others.
In 2014 we completed a further migration westwards, returning to Ireland where I lived (in Connemara) in the 1990s. We now inhabit an old riverside cottage near the magic mountain of Errigal, in Donegal. These days we own just a small patch of land, and so I am focused more narrowly on the keeping of bees and hens, and the growing of vegetables and herbs.
My literary agent is Kirsty McLachlan, at David Godwin Associates. You can email me at sharon[at]sharonblackie[dot]net.