The Witches of Vardo

THE WITCHES OF VARDØ is the spellbinding new novel by Anya Bergman. Combining meticulously researched historical fiction with magical realism, this is a rousing, cinematic fictionalization of the real women put on trial in one of the largest witch trials in Scandinavia, 1662 – full of hope and empowerment.

“Powerful, deeply moving” Sunday Times and featured as a Sunday Times International Bestseller

 “A passionate indictment of the patriarchy…a vibrant exaltation of the resilience of women … Anya Bergman summons a historic witch trial with breath-taking detail and immediacy” Hannah Kent

Norway, 1662. A dangerous time to be a woman, when even dancing can lead to accusations of witchcraft. After recently widowed Zigri’s affair with the local merchant is discovered, she is sent to the fortress at Vardø to be tried as a witch.

Zigri’s daughter Ingeborg sets off into the wilderness to try to bring her mother back home. Accompanying her on this quest is Maren – herself the daughter of a witch – whose wild nature and unconquerable spirit gives Ingeborg the courage to venture into the unknown, and to risk all she has to save her family.

Also captive in the fortress is Anna Rhodius, once the King of Denmark’s mistress, who has been sent in disgrace to the island of Vardø. What will she do – and who will she betray – to return to her privileged life at court?

These Witches of Vardø are stronger than even the King. In an age weighted against them, they refuse to be victims. They will have their justice. All they need do is show their power.


Anya Bergman became interested in the witch trials of Vardø and the vivid folk tales of the north while living in Norway. Travelling to the Steilneset memorial, in which Louise Bourgeois and Peter Zumthor commemorated those persecuted as witches, she became fascinated by their stories.

Now resident in Ireland, she is currently undertaking a PhD by Published Works at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland where she also lectures as well as tutoring for Jericho Writers. She recently wrote an article for the Guardian earlier this year called How We Fell Under the Spell of Witcherature.

Anya is represented by Marianne Gunn O’Connor