Are you ready for Folk Horror February?

Staff, students and members of the public are invited to join the #FolkHorrorFeb reading challenge.

Join Professor Robert Edgar (Creative Writing) and Dr Adam J Smith (English Literature) for the virtual February Folk Horror Reading Circle.

Following the recent publication of the Routledge Companion to Folk Horror (edited by Robert Edgar and Wayne Johnson and featuring an essay written by Adam J Smith) and leading into a day of Folk Horror events at this year’s York Literature Festival, Adam and Rob will be reading one short story a week for the next for weeks, and you can read along too!

Each story is taken from Circles of Stone: Weird Tales of Pagan Sites and Ancient Rites, a recently published anthology of stories spanning from the 19th to the 21st centuries.

Circles of Stone was edited by Dr Katy Soar, who you can and come see live in conversation with Adam at the York Literature Festival on 2 March (reserve your free space here).

To get involved, all you need is to follow our reading schedule and post your thoughts, reflections, favourite quotes or book photos using #FolkHorrorFeb on Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), BlueSky or TikTok (or just read along in the privacy of your own mind/email Adam and Rob with your thoughts).

 #FolkHorrorFeb Reading Schedule


3-9th Feb The Spirit of Stonehenge by Rosalie Helen Muspratt (writing as Jasper John)
10-16th Feb The Tarn of Sacrifice by Algernon Blackwood
17-23rd Feb The Dark Land by Mary Williams
24th Feb-1st March Minuke by Nigel Kneale



Every year “Words Matter” (the Literature Blog at York St John University) hosts the #YSJBigSummerRead, in which anyone who wants can join us in reading the same book! 

This year #YSJBigSummerRead will take place between  25 July – 5 September. Everyone is welcome to get involved. All you need to do is get the book and share your thoughts and experiences reading it on social media using #YSJBigSummerRead (and please do feel free to tag us directly using @YSJLIT). 

The texts below have been nominated by our followers, and now you are invited to vote for which one you’d most like to read this summer! This year’s #YSJBigSummerRead will then be announced on 21 July, giving you just enough time to grab a copy before the Read begins on 25 July. 

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Daisy Jones and The Six (2019)

Robert Adams, Plague Dogs (1977)

Alison Rumfitt, Tell Me I’m Worthless (2021)

Kiley Reid, Such a Fun Age (2019)

Yaa Gyasi, Homecoming (2016)

Kirsty Capes, Careless (2022)

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963)

Hannah Bourne-Taylor, Fledgling (2022)


A Virtual Celebration for the Class of 2020

The staff on the YSJU English Literature Programme have put together a very special farewell video for the Class of 2020. The video is introduced below by Third Year Level Co-ordinator, Dr Jo Waugh. 

It is a truth almost universally not acknowledged that sometimes endings can feel a bit anticlimactic. This year, however, that feeling must be especially powerful: this was never how it was supposed to be.

We’d have liked to be doing this in person, but we’ve tried our best to express in this video how proud we are of you, how sorry we are to see you go, and how much we hope you’ll carry with you the things you’ve learnt during your time as a Literature student at YSJU.

So let us take you, just for 43 minutes, to a place of virtual celebration. If you want to recreate the atmosphere, you could place some pizza and chips nearby, but forbid yourself from queuing for them until the speeches are over. Pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a bottle of beer, or whatever you might have been drinking. When you’ve finished watching, you could play some jungle music (Fraser’s playlist last year), and imagine you’re either hiding when the camera comes near you or posing for it with your arms round your friends. Endings are important, and you should mark this one while you also think about the new beginnings that are opening up in front of you.


Every day right now, something is happening that requires – demands – you to use the skills in critical thinking and analysis that we hope you’ve honed in the last three years. There are narratives circulating all around us, many with holes, gaps, and ambiguities that desperately need people like you to question and interrogate them.

This is what a degree in English Literature does for you, and this is why the world really does need you, a Literature graduate, so urgently. Recognize and embrace your power and your privilege here: as a critic, as someone who’s read about historical precedents for some of the dynamics we’re seeing unfold  right now (cough Sick Novels), who’s studied the ways in which forms of power and oppression intersect, and been invited and encouraged to question everything – and keep on questioning, arguing, thinking, critiquing, all your life.

Dr Jo Waugh, Level 6 Coordinator

Submitted your dissertation? Reaching the end of final year? Download this HD Virtual Background of the Quad and Recreate the Famous YSJU Selfie!

Every year our students pose in our gorgeous quad for to take the famous ‘YSJU Dissertation Selfie’! Unfortunately, this year, the quad (like everything else) is closed due to Covid-19… But fear not! Download this HD Virtual Background and recreate your end of year selfie from the safety of your own home! 

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