Dr Jacqueline Simpson was born in 1930, and studied English Literature and Medieval Icelandic at Bedford College, London University. She has been an active member of the Folklore Society since the 1960s, having served at various times as Editor, Secretary, and President. Her books include Icelandic Folktales and Legends (1971, 2004), The Folklore of the Welsh Border (1976, 2004), British Dragons (1980, 2000), Folklore of Sussex (1973),Scandinavian Folktales (1988), and (with Jennifer Westwood) The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's Legends (2005). Jointly with Steve Roud, she has co-authored the definitive Dictionary of English Folklore (Oxford Paperback Reference) (2000). She lives in West Sussex.
She has recently collaborated with Terry Pratchett on the 2008 book The Folklore of Discworld, which follows the format of the successful The Science of Discworld series in exploring in greater depth the mythological and folk-traditional roots which TP has drawn on, to give the Disc greater depth and a sense of historical continuity.
She first met Terry Pratchett at a book-signing where he happily signed her copy of Jingo. Terry then asked her the same question he had been asking everyone else in the queue, which was "how many versions of the magpie rhyme do you know?", expecting the answer "errr...one. And it was the theme to that kids' show on TV in the seventies, wasn't it?". (This was part of his field research for Carpe Jugulum.) When Dr Simpson said "About nineteen. Which of them do you want?", an association was born which eventually resulted in a co-authored book.
Dr Simpson also wrote notes on folklore for versions of The Shepherd's Crown. 'The Witches of Discworld' was printed in the ebook version and a collection of folklore notes on several subjects in the book was printed in the gold Deluxe Collectors edition.
- Terry and Jacqueline discuss preposterous tales and the inadvisability of disproving them. Terry also demonstrates his little-known singing voice.