De Lint's work is all (or nearly all) urban fantasy, or, to use his own term, mythic fiction. The chief theme is the existence of an ancient, mystical significance behind the world we see, which has only been obscured, not destroyed, by the passage of time. He studies the reactions of ordinary people to the living myth. Invariably, they are transformed by it.

In service of this, he places a high premium on characterization. Having established a character and his place in the world, De Lint pulls the rug out from under his world view, and invites us to watch him react. His magic is most often subtle and understated; the supernatural is a faint trace on the borders of the mundane world, and is rarely blatant. He draws from a wide variety of mythological sources, most frequently Native American and Irish. Some of his books also contain completely invented mythical elements. Many of these supernatural elements seem like archetypes to me, but you should ask a psychologist. Certain mythological types, notably the Wild Girl, Hunter, and Trickster, recur often throughout his books.

Everything I know about Magick I learned from Charles de Lint

Charles de Lint was born in the town of Bussum in the Netherlands on December 22, 1951, and his family immigrated to Canada while he was an infant. He currently lives in Ottawa, Canada with his wife MaryAnn, who also happens to be his agent & a fellow musician to boot . His family traveled a lot when he was a child because of his father's job as a surveyor. As a result of moving so often, he read voraciously and widely, everything from the old myths & legends, to historical facts, the old classics, & the classical horror genre such as H.P. Lovecraft. He never considered actually writing for a living, but instead wanted to be a musician. Being as there wasn't much call for Celtic musicians, he spent years working in record stores, writing only for his own enjoyment. In the `70's he started working with a friend of his, writing stories for this man to illustrate. Some of the stories were passed on to another friend; who then, in turn, convinced de Lint to send some of them out to one of the small press magazines. These first stories were sold for 10 dollars a pop. In the 80's he met & married MaryAnn, they stayed in Ottawa as she had been born there, and I'm assuming is pretty attached. It was MaryAnn that convinced de Lint to start writing full time (thank you!)

In addition to being a writer, de Lint also plays an Irish flute, various whistles, his Godin electric guitar, acoustic guitar, fiddle, bouzouki, button accordion, mandolin, harmonica, bodhran & he sings!. He played in the band Wickentree for 14 years, & still can be found playing in a local pub now. He said on his webpage "I bought an album by the late Seamus Ennis (an old Traditional recording on vinyl with Ennis playing Uillean pipes, whistle, singing and telling stories) and suddenly realized that this music was the soundtrack for the folk and fairy tales I'd been devouring for years. So how could I resist it? "

I think this is a very apt way to describe de Lint's works, what he uses to describe what he's read, is also the soundtrack to what he writes. Fairy Tales, modernized, earth centered, the soul of magic in a concrete jungle. I read A LOT, at least 3 hours a day. Very seldom do I find authors whose word visions suck me in, who keep me up till 4 AM trying to squeeze every last drop of fairy world into my mundane life.

As I have been practicing pagan since I was a small child, I feel these books come closer to the real truth about Magick, than anything I've ever read. Most pagan books that profess to teach are actually full of shite, trash, outright lies, & what SHOULD be common sense. The spirit of the world described here is eerily familiar. You recognize the characters; maybe see them out of the corner of your eye occasionally. He describes things the way they really work! His writings strike a chord in my soul. I'd hand these books out to students of mine, before I'd ever hand out any Silver Ravenwolf trash. (your opinon may vary) But look! de Lint professes to feel very close to the pagan religion, though he does not claim to be pagan himself, basically he says that what he prescribes to is closer to animism.

I also like the way he writes his female characters. Some men, Piers Anthony comes to mind, are obvious misogynists. Others try to write female characters, but make then overemotional, weak, whiny, in short, the way some men see women. De Lint's women are sometimes strong, sometimes cowardly, nurturing, wounded, survivors. Real. Jilly Coppercorn for instance reminds me of me, not body type, but her penchant for getting paint all over her clothes, face & hair, her need to help the wounded that she once was. I can identify with that.

De Lint has also written a few horror stories, these under the pseudonym Samuel M. Key. Basically he had two reasons for doing so, one he didn't want to have readers expecting his modern fairy tales associated with his real name, to have to read the violence & fear unless they chose to do so. So he made no secret of the fact that it was a pseudonym. The other reason was because he'd only recently been published & had several books in line before the horror stories, so using another name got them published in a shorter period of time.

All told, I highly recommend his books if you enjoy stories about any sort of fey. Or even if you just enjoy good characters having troubles & finding ways within their soul to deal with them.

Books Written by Charles De Lint

Series: Newford saga

Awards Charles de Lint has won

If you would like to contact Charles de Lint, you can do so at: P.O. Box 9480, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1G 3V2.

Information here gleaned from

  • Charles de Lint's homepage
  • His editor's homepage
  • Webring dedicated to de Lint

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