Marie Louise Fitzpatrick » Award-Winning Irish Writer and Illustrator


London, 1596
‘Oak, beech, hawthorne, elder – what’s the difference? A tree is a tree. Do not tell me you believe those old wives’ tales.’

London, 2010
Bad luck and faeries and witches. It’s only folklore, Lally told herself. Silly superstitions.


Two lives, four centuries apart, but a dark secret ties them together.

It’s summer and the vibrant world of the theatre barge is coming to life. It’s Lally’s world and the only one she’s ever known. But when her father pulls an ancient piece of wood from the canal and fashions it into a puppet, strange things begin to happen.
Soon Lally starts to wonder whether there is something sinister about the wooden doll – could she be connected to the mysterious hagwitch?

A gripping tale of myth and magic and the secret world of the theatre.


Winner of the CBI Book of the Year Award & the Fiction Honour Award for 2014


Link to trailer – spooky music and creepy puppet warning!



‘ This novel snagged my attention quickly and kept me entranced… The settings are fabulous… The core mystery of the hagwitch, drawing on folklore around the hawthorn and bird lore (crows and jackdaws especially), is inventive and enticing. The story as a whole feels highly original and exciting, skilfully weaving folklore elements into both a historical and a contemporary plot.’  Beth Kemp, Thoughts from the Hearthfire


‘The interweaving of both worlds is skilfully sustained in a narrative drawing on Celtic folklore and demonstrating the disturbing power, across the ages, of superstition… Fitzpatrick’s insight into the magic and mystery of theatrical life, including its darker side, is vividly conveyed.’  Robert Dunbar, Irish Times


You can read an interview about the ideas and research behind writing Hagwitch and Dark Warning here.


Publishers: Orion UK 2013