the gentlewoman

The Reader

Modern witchcraft is having a moment – just ask Elisabeth Krohn. The Oslo native moved to London in 2010 to study illustration and journalism at London Collage of Fashion, where she launched Sabat magazine in her final year. Under Krohn’s assertive editorial eye, a trio of issues dedicated to feminism and all things occult were devoured by a dedicated new coven of fans, both in print and online. A reader of The Gentlewoman since issue nº8, Elisabeth talks Lucy Milligan through next steps, self-care cocktails and, of course, reading rituals.

Elisabeth Krohn

Lucy: So, Sabat has officially come to a close?

Elisabeth: It has. The response to the magazine was amazing; it gained an audience very quickly, and suddenly there was a pool of contributors from all over the world. But it was always meant to be a triptych, to represent the three phases of the female journey – the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone.

L: Why did you choose witchcraft as the theme?

E: Growing up, pop-culture witches were my guilty pleasure – Buffy, Charmed, The Craft, that kind of thing, so it was so exciting to find this very real community. I’m not sure I would consider myself a witch, but I do think my magazine – the reception, especially – has been an act of witchcraft.

L: Have you a new project to replace Sabat?

E: I’m working on a book proposal – something still in the witchcraft genre. I want to make an object that’s both beautiful and interesting, as I own books that I love to read, and books that I love to look at, but they’re very rarely the same tome.

L: Where do you keep them? Both the beautiful and functional.

E: I don’t have much shelf space, so I keep them on separate windowsills. I feel I deserve a gold star when I finish something, so I take joy in moving a book from the “to read” to the “read” window.

L: When do you read most?

E: For me, it’s a seasonal thing – I read much more in summer than I’m reading now, but I’ll typically have a few books on rotation at any one time. Right now I’m reading Roxanne Gay’s Hunger and I love it. I don’t mind leaving something unfinished; as a kid, I started the novel Sophie’s World by the Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarderso many times but I could never seem to get past page 32 – that was my limit, apparently! But I can read a book over and over – Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, for example.

L: Where’s your favourite place to buy books?

E: Treadwell’s on Store Street for books on witchcraft – they were Sabat’s very first stockist – but my favourite is Spoonbill & Sugartown, in Brooklyn. It’s an independent bookstore selling new and used books. They curate the space so well, it makes you want to pick up every title. I end up buying an extra suitcase every time I visit.

L: Are you the kind of person that carries your life around in your bag?

E: I carry a few crystals with me – they bring love, protection, that sort of thing. I picked these up when I visited Salem in September. Just keeping them visible reminds me to take care of myself –a little cocktail of goodness in my handbag, like my tarot cards.

L: Oh, that’s a different kind of reading – how long have you been practising tarot?

E: About three years. I can finally read the deck without having to look up the meaning of every card – it’s all starting to fall into place.

Interview by Lucy Milligan. Photograph courtesy of Elisabeth Krohn. Would you like to be the next featured reader? Then sign-up sister and tell us about yourself!