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Selkies or seal people resources

The Selkie, is a folkloric shapeshifter. A seal in the sea, the Selkie sheds its skin to become human on the land. For me the Selkie's coat is the symbolic core of the myth. It signifies change. It is the evidence of both being and becoming. But the Selkie never sheds its skin entirely or forever. The past, present and future is held within it.

What are Selkies?

Supernatural seal / human shapeshifters. A Selkie in human form needs their coat to return to the sea as a seal - the remaining details are up for debate.

You can find a succinct Selkie-folk primer on one of my favourite resources (definitely Orkney Selkies though)

Spike's ongoing Selkie bibliography... is of course biased.

There is plenty of content not included here, as the purpose of the list is to inspire my visual arts practice, but I would love to hear about your favourite retellings, resources or art! Folktales

  • The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry (Shetlands)

  • The Goodman O'Wastness

  • The Selkie Bride

Folklore and fairytales: collections

  • People of the Sea by David Thomson (1965)

  • Tales of the Seal People: Scottish Folk Tales by Duncan Williamson (1998)

Web resources

Fiction: Short Stories

  • The Selkie that deud no' forget by Walter Triall Dennison (1880)

  • One spared to the sea by W Towrie Cutt (c.1970's)

  • Two Selkie Stories from Scotland by Kate Forsyth (2014)

Fiction: Novels

  • Secrets of the Sea House (2013)

  • Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (2012)

  • The Selkie Spell by Tara Moss (2011)

  • Sea Change by Aimee Friedman (2009)

  • Selkie Girl by Laurie Brooks (2008)

  • Troll Mill by Katherine Langrish (2006)

  • Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley (2005)

  • Selkie by Anne Cameron (1996)

  • Seaward by Susan Cooper (1987)

  • The Selkie Girl by Susan Cooper (1986)

  • Selkie by Kenneth Liggington (1985)

  • The Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry by Rosalie K. Fry

Fiction: story threads

  • Fox Mask by Juliett Marillier (2003)


  • The Selkie's Lover (2013)

  • Ondine (2009)

  • The Selkie (2000)

  • The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

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