Viking Women

Life and Lore


How did Viking women live, love and die? How can we encounter them as flesh-and-blood beings with fears and feelings – not just as names in sagas or runes carved into stone?


ISBN: 9781760761998 Category:

Lisa Hannett


Let’s travel in time together, a thousand or so years back, and meet Viking women in their hearth-lit world.

How did these medieval viragoes live, love and die? How can we encounter them as flesh-and-blood beings with fears and feelings – not just as names in sagas or runes carved into stone?

In this groundbreaking work, Lisa Hannett lifts the veil on the untold stories of wives and mothers, girls and slaves, widows and witches who sailed, settled, suffered, survived – and thrived – in a society that largely catered to and memorialised men. Hannett presents the everyday experiences of a compelling cast of women, all of whom are resourceful and petty, hopeful and jealous, and as fabulous and flawed as we are today.

‘Like some of the Vikings so beautifully evoked within, Lisa Hannett is a rare shapeshifter. Here is a writer whose deep knowledge of the Viking world allows her to fearlessly move between research and creative prose, historical certainty and imagined likelihoods, allowing the reader to become exhilaratingly familiar with its cast of Viking women. Viking Women breathes such life into its subjects they sing. A brilliant book.’ –Hannah Kent

‘An evocative account of the varied lives of women during the Viking era … The scenes are handled lightly, and Hannett, who has a PhD in medieval Icelandic literature, fills in their everyday lives with fascinating details. It’s a pleasure to read.’ –Books+Publishing

‘This book will appeal to readers who appreciate a guided tour of medieval Icelandic saga literature with a focus on female characters, as well as some of the cultural questions that arise from a modern, feminist take on them. Hannett is a very well-informed guide’. –The Sydney Morning Herald

*Ebook available through all major etailers*

Additional information

Weight 383 g
Dimensions 15.3 x 23.3 cm
Publisher name Thames & Hudson Australia Pty Ltd
Publication date 1 February 2023
Number of pages
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 15.3 x 23.3 cm
Weight 383 g


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Lisa Hannett is an award-winning Canadian Australian writer and academic. While completing her PhD in Old Norse Icelandic literature, Lisa began writing short speculative fiction imbued with the flavour of Norse myth and legend. She has had over 75 short stories published and her work has been consistently reprinted in Year's Best anthologies in Australia, Canada and the US. She has won four Aurealis Awards, including Best Collection for her first book, Bluegrass Symphony (2011). Her first novel, Lament for the Afterlife (2015), won the Australian National Science Fiction Award for 'Best Novel'. Her most recent collection of short stories is Songs for Dark Seasons (2020).

In 2020, Lisa was awarded a grant from Flinders University (Adelaide, Australia) to research the lives of Viking Age women, where is also an Associate Professor in Creative Writing. In 2015, she received the Vice Chancellor's Award for Research for her work on the medieval Icelandic sagas.

Lisa is a regular reviewer for The Australian Book Review and is a frequent guest on ABC Radio's 'Book of the Week' segment with David Bevan. She's spoken about Viking Age food on the 'Acts of Kitchen' podcast and
on ABC Radio's 'Afternoon Drive' program with Jules Schiller. She's discussed Vikings in popular culture with Deb Tribe for ABC Radio's 'Saturday Mornings' program. Her article 'The Politics of Retelling Norse Mythology' in The Atlantic (Feb 2017) reached over 500,000 readers.