The Villager, With Tom Cox

I’ve called my Substack page The Villager, partly as a little joke only a few people will get. My first novel was actually called Villager and would have been a very different book if it was called The Villager but, despite this, a lot of people insist on calling it The Villager. At the same time, that’s undeniably what I am: I live in a village now, grew up in a village and have, during less than half a century on the planet, somehow managed to reside in a grand total of eleven other villages. I love to explore the countryside and write about it but I’m interested in innumerable other things too: these range from 1970s Habitat Catalogues to crumbling architecture to old Ladybird books to records to interdimensional portals. Sometimes, I think I’m chronically interested in everything, which is also probably the reason I’ve not yet managed to become an expert on anything.

The way the writing works on here is I wake up with an idea in the middle of the night, or sometimes even in the middle of the day when I’m actually already awake, and think “I absolutely HAVE to write about this and will feel less of a person if I don’t” then I write about it, which is more or less the opposite of how writing seemed to work back in the mists of time when I wrote for the national media. I now write primarily for me, for the love of the pure process of it, to learn and to challenge myself. I want to come out of the other end of every book I write, every piece I write, slightly changed. I’m so glad that this space exists where I can do that, and I’m grateful for every bit of support I receive along the way. At present I’m keeping nearly all of the pieces here free but there are a few extras for paid subscribers - including an exclusive first look at new short fiction, even before my editors - and every paid subscription allows me to do more of what I love and keep myself sane in an increasingly crazy world.

Stuff people have said:

“One of the most enchanting (not to mention hilarious) writers around.” - Stephen Fry

“Tom Cox’s book Villager is marvellously inventive and imaginative. A tremendous novel.” - William Boyd

“Beautiful, funny, fascinating, impossible to categorise.” - Marian Keyes

“Tom Cox is policing that interesting boundary between what is folklore, what is actual history, and what is natural history.” - Backlisted podcast

Subscribe to The Villager

New writing on landscape, music, books, folklore, psychedelia, the natural world and other misty magical things outside the mainstream.


Author of Villager, Notebook, Ring The Hill, Help The Witch and 21st-Century Yokel. Shirley Jackson Horror Writing Award winner who doesn't write horror. My new novel, 1983, will be published in August.