Folklorist | Writer | Artist

Elizabeth Dearnley is a folklorist, writer, artist and maker whose work explores fairy tales, horror, eerie landscapes and collaborative storytelling.

Following a PhD in comparative medieval literature and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship tracing fairy tales across languages, cultures and media, she now works across academia and the arts to stage imaginative participatory events, whether making statues talk or turning Anna Freud's bedroom into an uncanny immersive space filled with magic mirrors. Organisations she has worked with include the Freud Museum London, Fáilte Ireland, the Wellcome Collection, Being Human, the Bloomsbury Festival, Upstart Theatre, Treadwell's Books and Leeds Libraries.

Her work spans research and artistic practice, with each element informing the other. For instance, her immersive theatre installation Big Teeth drew on her Leverhulme project to reimagine Red Riding Hood as a 1940s fairy tale noir with a touch of Sweeney Todd. Meanwhile, interventions in London parks like The Secret Diary of Bloomsbury serve as practical experiments in collaborative storytelling, informing her research into contemporary folklore construction.

Elizabeth is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies within the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and has taught at the University of Cambridge, UCL and Birkbeck. Her writing has appeared in publications including The White Review, the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, and she has recently edited eerie anthology Into the London Fog as part of the British Library's Tales of the Weird series. She is currently writing a book about forests.