• Urhi


Updated: Aug 30

For our fifteenth Beneath the Needle Q&A, we are joined by author and playwright Janina Arndt, who's been kind enough to tackle our many questions as we delve into the details of Janina's truly impressive Short Fiction feature What Remained of Stanley, folklore, Sherlock Holmes and crochet.

Wyrmland, a fantasy novel set in 7th century County Durham, is one of Janina's current projects

Janina Arndt is an author and playwright based in the North East. Her debut novel Spiral Mind, a Sherlock Holmes mystery thriller, was published earlier this year by Orange Pip Books, with several of her short stories and poems published in Brittle Star Magazine, Palatinate Durham Student Newspaper and The Bubble. Together with fellow writer Lucy Atkinson, she runs Fey Fellows Podcast about forgotten folklore, with a particular soft spot for the North East’s heritage, which has also inspired What Remained of Stanley. If you would like to learn more about the true story behind this title, she recommends visiting Beamish Museum, where she first discovered it.

Janina recently worked as a senior story writer for an online education platform and graduated with Distinction from a Creative Writing MA at Durham University, after being awarded a first-class degree in English Studies & Psychology from Heidelberg University. Besides writing, she enjoys storytelling in every medium, which inspires her experiments with form. She has won three youth awards from Girls Go Movie and Club Arte for her short films, and staged several of her own plays with Durham Student Theatre and Aidan’s Creative Writing Society.

Her current creative projects include the sequel to Spiral Mind, which is going to be Volume 2 of a trilogy; Wyrmland, a fantasy novel set in 7th century County Durham; and crocheting as many dragons as she can.

So, Janina - What Remained of Stanley incorporates regional folklore with your own original fiction; an enrapturing post-apocalyptic tale that cleverly demonstrates the long-term implications and power of the stories and history we share, highlight and embed into our cultures. Can you tell us a little about why this particular forgotten facet of history inspired you to craft this piece of short fiction?

Wow, a big question to start with! I’ve always felt a particular connection with the history and community of miners, and since I studied in Durham, I feel especially connected to the miners of the North East. Like many, even though I didn’t grow up here, I have extended family who worked in mines, and where I