As a fantasy reader and author, I’ve noticed a trend. The women fantasy writers who I come across – and this may just be the writers whose fantasy tales are catching my attention – are all setting at least part of their stories in England, Scotland, Wales, and/or Ireland.
This isn’t surprising from the authors live in those countries. Take, for example, J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), SW Fairbrother (The Secret Dead), and Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season). Katherine Kurtz (The Adept) lived there for a time.
Then, there are the likes of Deborah Harkness (All Soul’s Trilogy) and Diana Gabaldon (Outlander) who live in the U.S. and who also set their stories at least partly in England and/or Scotland.
The list of authors goes on and on.
Disclosure: I’m also currently writing a series of fantasy stories that are partly set in Ireland. My motivation is personal – I am weaving my Irish ancestry and genealogical interests into the story line.
Of course, there are also male writers who set their stories in England. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien come immediately to mind.
I’m wondering what it is that makes the U.K. and Ireland such a draw for fantasy tales. Is it the historical context of this region having a long period of human habitation, literature, and myth from which to draw? Or are these places somehow deeply imbued with magical properties? Perhaps a long tradition of fantasy tales written in this region makes the region a natural draw for authors? The region’s medieval past may naturally lure fantasy writers?
I’m open to discussion on this. Insights welcome.