Falmouth University will host a conference, Folk Horror in the 21st Century, on Thursday September 5 and Friday September 6, 2019. The conference organizers, Ruth Heholt (Falmouth University, UK), Dawn Keetley (Lehigh University, USA), Joanne Parsons (Bath Spa University, UK), and David Devanny (Falmouth University) invite proposals on all aspects of folk horror, in all periods and across all regions, as we put together a slate of panels that will take up the meanings of the folk horror renaissance in the 21st century.

We are very happy to announce that our keynote and plenary speakers are Tanya Krzywinska (Falmouth University), Bernice Murphy (Trinity College, Dublin), and Catherine Spooner (Lancaster University).

Since at least 2010, critics and bloggers have been working to define folk horror, understand its appeal, and establish its key texts, including what has become the central triumvirate of the folk horror canon of the 1960s and 1970s—Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves, 1968), Blood on Satan’s Claw (Piers Haggard, 1971), and The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973)—along with numerous British TV series from the 1960s and 1970s—The Owl Service (1969), Robin Redbreast (1970), BBC’s A Ghost Story for Christmas (1971-78), Penda’s Fen (1974), and Children of the Stones (1977).

Critics have also begun to uncover a rich pre-history for the folk horror of the 1960s and 70s, looking back to the 19th and early 20th century fiction of such writers as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Arthur Machen, and M. R. James. But the history of folk horror can be traced still further back, to Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Shakespeare, and the mystical poetry and witchcraft plays of the seventeenth century.

At the same time, writers and directors in the 21st century have been re-inventing the genre with such new incarnations, in film, as The Blair Witch Project (1999), Eden Lake (2008), Wake Wood (2009), Kill List (2011), A Field in England (2013), The Witch (2015), The Hallow (2015), Without Name (2016), Hereditary (2018), and Apostle (2018) and, in fiction, Adam Nevill’s The Ritual (2011), Andrew Michael Hurley’s The Loney (2014) and Devil’s Day (2017), Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s Hex (2016), and John Langan’s The Fisherman (2016).

This conference will aim to represent the ‘state of the art’ of folk horror scholarship about all periods and regions, and so we invite submissions that take up any aspect of folk horror in film, TV, literature, art, or music. These topics could include, but certainly aren’t limited to:

  • history of folk horror
  • definitions of folk horror
  • religion and folk horror
  • the political trajectories of folk horror (conservative retreat, progressive renewal etc.)
  • agriculture and folk horror
  • national identity and folk horror (local vs global, rural vs urban)
  • gender, race, sexuality, and / or class in folk horror
  • transgressing and limiting borders
  • the devil
  • the figure of the witch
  • paganism in folk horror
  • the built and natural environments of folk horror
  • folk horror in the “lost decades” of the 1980s and 1990s
  • re-inventing folk horror in the late 20th and early 21st century
  • the Gothic/EcoGothic and folk horror
  • folk horror in the digital age
  • female-authored/directed folk horror
  • global folk horror
  • transnational folk horror
  • oral histories/tales

Please send abstracts of 300 words and a short bio by April 1, 2019, to conference organizers Ruth Heholt and Dawn Keetley at We are also very happy to answer any questions at either the conference email or our institutional emails: and

Please follow us on Twitter at @folk_horror2019 #folkhorror2019 or on Facebook, Folk Horror Conference 2019 at