A free talk on the history of witchcraft and how it's used in children's and adult fiction will be held at the University of Worcester.

The event will utilise expertise from professor of International Children's Literature, Jean Webb, and professor of Early Modern History, Darren Oldridge.

It will take place at The Hive on Wednesday March 27, from 7pm to 8pm.

Ms Webb brings a wealth of knowledge on children’s books and will discuss the evolution of witch characters within children’s stories.

She said: "Witches in stories for children have evolved in diverse ways from the wicked child-eating old woman in the Grimms’ Fairy Tale Hansel and Gretel to the contemporary magical figure who empowers unhappy children and enables teenagers to realise their potential.

"The figure of the witch and the power of witchcraft has also been employed by authors for children to revise attitudes towards disability, which is a long way from when the witch was accused of casting an Evil Eye on her victim."

Expanding on this perspective, Mr Oldridge will delve into concepts of witchcraft in the past, especially around the time of the witch trials in the 16th and 17th centuries.

He aims to draw connections to the depiction of witches in today’s children’s fiction.

Mr Oldridge added: "Even in the age of witch trials, people told entertaining tales about their frightful activities.

"Today, witches are often portrayed as good, both in fiction and popular culture more broadly - though the bad witch still persists in some children’s stories."

He reflected on the dramatic evolution of witch figures from the Tudor and Stuart periods, tracing their transformation from feared figures to helpful, fun characters in contemporary children's literature.

Those Interested in attending the talk are required to pre-book

For registration or additional information, please visit The Hive's website.

For enquiries on courses at the University of Worcester, call 01905 855111 or email admissions@worc.ac.uk.