Seaside Stories with Zoe Gilbert

As we have a chill moment from our Margate Bookie June litfest, we catch up with Zoe Gilbert to chat about her Seaside Stories event.


What’s Seaside Stories all about?

It’s about finding inspiration for new stories in old ones –specifically saltwater folk tales. Everyone finds their own meanings in folk tales and folklore, and that’s true of the sea too. We talk about some traditional sea lore, and look at stories other writers have created from it. Then see what happens when we tried this ourselves!

How did the idea for Seaside Stories come about?

My writing and teaching have both been inspired by folklore and tales for a long time. But when I moved to Folkestone, and could see the sea every day, my interest in saltwater folklore grew! I found so many great pieces of folklore, as well as new and old stories, that revealed how the sea moves people in different ways. This session gave an opportunity to see how our unique imaginations interpret the sea, and create some new stories.

Who do you look to reach with your event?

I hope people come along who have never written a story before! I also hope the session is an inspiring for writers who are interested in using folklore and tales as a starting point for writing, or intrigued to see how that works. It’s all relaxed and interactive, so we’re all be up for a chat.

How did it go?
I was delighted that the workshop sold out. I was even more delighted that we had some really interesting discussions about local lore, and pens were put to paper with gusto. It was particularly lovely to talk about tales of the sea with a view out over the glittering water.
Where can we find out more about you?
You can find out about me and my books at, and find more writing courses on using folk tales, lore and the fantastic, amongst many other things, at Londonlitlab. You can also find my books, Folk and Mischief Acts here.
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