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Sat, 22 Apr



Sophie Parkes-Nield: Out of Human Sight

Writing a Novel from the Folklore of Murder

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Sophie Parkes-Nield: Out of Human Sight
Sophie Parkes-Nield: Out of Human Sight

Time & Location

22 Apr 2023, 16:00

Todmorden, Centre for Folklore, Myth and Magic, 65, Halifax Road

About the event

Out of Human Sight: writing a novel from the folklore of murder

She bent over it. Him. Bent over him; her grandfather’s body, his nose and brow beaten into his face, a soft, bloodied mess. She stepped back; saw her grandfather’s shirt ripped open at the collarbone. She thought of the bright blood in the eggs she had cracked against the side of a bowl that morning and how she needed yeast.

The Saddleworth Bills’ O’Jack’s murders of 1832 proved a phenomenon for society at the time. Two men, one elderly, one middle aged, beaten to death in their remote home with no obvious motive, it became a national mystery. And with no perpetrators to hang or transport, the murders remained in the public interest for decades, with tourists from across the country travelling to Saddleworth to see Bills’ O’Jack’s – and its gory history – for themselves.

In this talk, writer, Sophie Parkes, presents how she came to learn about the tale upon moving to the area in 2015, and how she worked with the folklore of this crime to develop her novel, Out of Human Sight.

Sophie Parkes is a writer, PhD student and creative writing teacher. Her PhD research, which she hopes to complete in 2023, explores English calendar customs and their use in contemporary fiction. She has also published life writing, including the official biography of Eliza Carthy. Out of Human Sight is her first novel. To find out more about Sophie and her writing, please visit


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