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Q&A  •  6 March 2019


Sam George-Allen Q&A

Rapid-fire questions for the author of Witches: What Women Do Together.

In her book Witches: What Women Do Together, Sam George-Allen goes deep into the magic that happens when women work together. From girl bands to sportswomen, midwives to sex workers, she breaks away from the common narrative of female competition, instead celebrating the power of collaboration. ‘Look at all these women,’ she writes in the book’s introduction. ‘Look what happens when we come together. Magic, some people say, is change driven by intent. Of course we are witches.’

Here George-Allen conjures responses to the bloodcurdling Penguin Random House Inquisition.

Sabrina or Charmed?
As much as I love Charmed, I choose Sabrina, because Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda are magnificent role models of carefree middle-aged single witchhood and I covet that deeply.

Spell you’d love to cast?
An anti-procrastination charm. I think these are also called ‘Facebook blockers’. Very esoteric magic.

Something you love about being a woman?
Hanging out with other women. Girls’ clubs are still the best clubs.

Something that you don’t love about being a woman?
Constant self-doubt.

Tarots or astrology?
This is a tough one, but I think I love the tarot more, especially the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, for all its rich symbolism and weird (hidden) history.

Familiar-spirit cat or hellhound?
Hellhound, because they are less likely to arouse suspicion.

Have any witch tricks of your own?
I am profoundly and indulgently superstitious. My witch tricks are no breaking mirrors, no walking under ladders, being very courteous to black cats, and no murdering spiders in the house.

A book that’s inspired you?
Kate Cole-Adams’s Anaesthesia: a gorgeous, unsettling and moving exploration of what happens to us when we ‘go under’. It’s so beautifully researched and written, and the memoir is exquisitely woven into the story of her learning – I recommend it to everyone.

A human who’s inspired you?
Kate Bush, High Priestess of the Feminine Weird and queen of my heart.

One thing you hope readers take away from Witches?
That there’s more joy in community than there will ever be in competition.

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An exploration of the work women do together.
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