The Roots of the Ground — Jan Fortune
In this prequel to The Standing Ground, we travel back two generations to the origins of the oppressive E-Government state that gradually infiltrates every aspect of people’s lives in the decade following Brexit and global pandemic. But as the darkness overtakes Britain and other areas of Europe, the light of resistance wakes in a community that spans the Celtic outposts of Brittany and North Wales. And in a strange child, Myrddin Emrys, who has also been known as Merlin.
Weaving together Arthurian legend and exploratory fiction of the near future, The Roots of the Ground explores the human cost of monocultures that trample freedom and privacy and asserts with Carl Jung that:
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
Jan Fortune was born in Middlesbrough and grew up in Redcar. She read theology at Cambridge and completed a doctorate in feminist theology at Exeter University. Jan has worked as a teacher, priest (ordained at the first ordination of women to the CofE) and charity director. She is the founding editor of Cinnamon Press and has edited around 400 books and led numerous creative writing courses in the Wales, the UK (including courses for Arvon and Ty Newydd), Spain, France, and online. She mentors writers from beginners to highly experienced, across genres and hosts a writing community, Kith, that includes weekly prompts, courses and inspiriation for the writing life via her site Becoming a Different Story.
Her previous publications include non-fiction titles in alternative education and parenting and the major book book for writers: Writing Down Deep: an alchemy of the writing life (available as both hardback and paperback editions) ; the novels Dear Ceridwen and Coming Home. Her previous poetry collections include Particles of Life (BlueChrome), Slate Voices (a collaborative collection with Mavis Gulliver), Stale Bread & Miracles, Edge (a companion to Adam Craig’s Year W), and Turn/Return, a pamphlet inspired by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards. Her most recent work is the Casilda Trilogy of novels, which includes This is the End of the Story, A Remedy for All Things as well as For Hope Is Always Born, and the spin-off, stand-alone novel Saoirse’s Crossing.
Her cross-over novels re-envisaging the Arthurian legends in a near-future authoritarian UK are The Standing Ground (originally published in 2008 and being relaunched in a new edition in autumn 2021) along with The Roots of the Ground, written during the first UK lockdown as a live project with a group of writers as daily audience for first draft readings, and also due out in autumn 2021.
She is currently working on a haiku and lyric sequence tracking the seasons of a forest.
Jan is in the last stages of qualifiying as an aromatherapist, about to begin her second intensive apprenticeship in herbalism and is currently training as a yoga nidrā teacher. She lives in a surviving area of ancient forest in Finistère, Brittany.