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Katya de Becerra: Clamour and Mischief's Author Spotlight

Clamour and Mischief authors Katya de Becerra

Formal image of author and editor Katya de Becerra, she is a dark-haired, pale-skinned woman looking at the camera, her lipstick is vibrant red, her shift is black

Joining us in Clamour and Mischief is author and editor Katya de Becerra, with her story "The Jackdaw Maiden." You can listen to Katya reading from her tale on our YouTube channel.

* What is the most unexpected tidbit you learned while researching your story?

It was delightful over the course of my research to read so much about birds – and corvids, specifically – in Slavic folklore and mythology. We do really have a complicated relationship with birds! They are messengers, omens, spirits, shapeshifters, helpers, and so much more. The crows can enchant and they can trick, depending on their mood. Interestingly, jackdaws have become a symbol of silliness and ‘not paying attention’. When a kid yawns too widely, they are warned that if they don’t close their mouth, a jackdaw will swoop in and make its home inside! How is that for some corvid themed horror?

* What was your favourite thing about writing a story for Clamour and Mischief?

I love cleverly themed anthologies – and Clamour and Mischief is one of the cleverest of them all. My creativity immediately got flowing in response to the anthology’s call, and I just couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with my imagination. I’ve been wanting to rewrite a Slavic fairy tale for a while now and Clamour and Mischief gave me a perfect opportunity to do just that. Growing up with superstitions involving jackdaws as well as with fairy tales about princesses who always needed to get rescued by princes made me want to subvert those narratives; the result is The Jackdaw Maiden. This story takes everything I know (and love!) about Slavic folklore and about fairy tales and turns it on its head. The princess at the centre of this story, the eponymous Jackdaw Maiden, is not what you would expect (she’s covered in feathers, for a start!), and the corvids are not the messengers of doom and gloom that so many stories and beliefs paint them to be. And the prince? Well, this story didn’t need one of those.

* Which is your favourite corvid and why?

Jackdaws, of course! They are plucky and quirky. They like all the shiny things. They don’t care what anyone thinks of them.

My website is

Read all the Q&As with our Clamour and Mischief authors.

Katya de Becerra is the author of two genre-bending, critically acclaimed speculative novels, What The Woods Keep and Oasis. Her next book, When Ghosts Call Us Home, is forthcoming in 2023 with Page Street. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in various anthologies and literary magazines. She is currently co-editing a curated horror anthology This Fresh Hell (Clan Destine Press, 2023) which reimagines old horror tropes in new and unexpected ways.
Katya has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Melbourne, and for the past ten years she’s been working in academia as an educator and researcher. You can keep up to date with Katya’s writing and updates through her website, newsletter, Instagram and Twitter @katyadebecerra.

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