Ashes and Stones


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About the Author

Allyson Shaw has worked as a professional writer for the last thirty years. Her writing on folklore and history has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Monster Verse: Poems Human and Inhuman in the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series, Rituals and Declarations and The Bottle Imp. She spent her formative years in California and now lives on the northeast coast of Scotland. Find her online at


Allyson Shaw has built a monument in words to the thousands persecuted as witches in Scotland. A fascinating and necessary book.
*Peter Ross*

In Ashes and Stone Shaw has written a compelling and intimate pilgrimage across Scotland as she visits the sites of notorious witch trials to connect with and comment on the memorials left there to the murdered people who perished through greed, misogyny, and superstition . . . The book is a fascinating exploration of the search for personal identity, the ever-present dangers of religious and political extremism, and how we examine and process the murderous injustices from our past
*Helen Callaghan*

An incantational group biography infused with personal narrative . . . Shaw pays homage to the hunted while elevating modern self-identified witches as feminist archetypes
*New York Times*

Beautiful . . . A moving reminder for us all to connect with what's gone before

Wonderful . . . Powerful . . . it will make you angry, it will make you sad, it will make you want to know so much more
*The Scots Whay Hae! Show*

Sometimes the truth behind myths and legends is more fascinating and terrible than could ever be imagined . . . Ashes & Stones is its own reminder of a dark period in Scotland's past, but also carries a warning for the present day . . . This is not the book you think it is, and it is all the better for it

Allyson Shaw's journey around Scotland in search of witches and witness is both deeply insightful and profoundly respectful. Shaw's writing is utterly compelling and her perspective is vital. I was spellbound from start to finish, Ashes & Stones is a work of devotion. This is what it means to write with care and with candour. Ashes & Stones is both genuine memorial and galvanising activism in book form
*Sally Huband, author of Sea Bean*

Very atmospheric, scholarly - and gripping . . . [Shaw] gives life to many of the women burned as witches in Scotland. Shocking and important - it made me realise this hasn't been done before, nor have I questioned why until now. Recommended.
*Laline Paull*

The past is a treacherous landscape shrouded in the mists of myth and misogyny, and Shaw is the sun burning through to reveal clear paths and daunting vistas alike. Profound, personal, and tragically timely, this is more than an important book - it's a requiem that rises to a rallying cry
*Jesse Bullington, author of The Folly of the World*

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