The Arthurian legends are named for one man, but the tales associated with the legend involve an extensive cast: Merlin, Nimue, Guinevere, Lancelot, Uther, the Lady of the Lake, Ygraine, and many more.

The women within the Arthurian legends have often been side-lined in favour of their more masculine counterparts, but they offer a far more interesting point of view, especially given their invariable connection with magic. The dichotomy of being so undervalued while also such famous characters in literature means they are the perfect focus for modern-day writers wishing to bring a new flavour to the Arthurian legends.

Today we welcome back to the podcast Juliet E. McKenna, who hardly needs any introduction! She will be talking to us about her new book, The Cleaving, which tells Arthur’s tale from the point of view of Nimue, but as you’ve never seen her before.

Texts and authors mentioned in this episode include:

  • Geoffrey of Monmouth
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Merlin
  • The Sword in the Stone
  • Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
  • Blackheart Knights by Laure Eve
  • Femina: A New History of the Middle Ages, Through the Women Written Out of It by Janina Ramirez
  • Morgan is My Name by Sophie Keetch

Juliet E McKenna - photo by Lou Abercrombie

Juliet E. McKenna is the author of 15 epic fantasy novels set in the world of Einarinn,  as well as several novellas and countless short stories ranging from SF to steampunk and alternate history. Her contemporary fantasy Green Man novels, published by indie Wizard’s Tower Press, have sold over 28,000 copies since 2018. She has been a judge for the World Fantasy Awards, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the James White Award and the Aeon Award, and has, herself, been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. In 2015 she was awarded the Karl Edward Wagner Award for special achievement by the British Fantasy Society.  She is a regular at science fiction conventions, and is a 3rd Dan Aikido black belt.

If you enjoyed this episode, why not check out one of our earliest episodes ever recorded – also featuring Juliet?! Listen to the episode Fight Scenes and Women Warriors with Juliet McKenna wherever you get our podcasts!