The Prickwillow Papers

The Prickwillow Papers is a comedy fantasy from Snazzy Tapir Productions, and is written and produced by Maddy Searle, who also voices the two main characters of Sylda and Squirm.

Sylda is a half-elf, who’s newly graduated from the College of Mages. The story starts with her writing in a new diary – or dictating to a quill which writes for her, I should say. After graduating, she moved back home to live with her parents. She’s looking for work as an apprentice with various wizards and sorcerers, but in the meantime, she’s working at her family’s bookshop. It’s a relatable story of a recent graduate feeling stuck in life, worrying that they’ll end up living with their parents forever, and that their degree will go to waste. It doesn’t help that Prickwillow is a sleepy little town, there’s never anything to do, and Sylda doesn’t expect anything exciting to happen to her. That is, until she meets Squirm the fay, and her life gets turned upside down.

Sylda comes across Squirm while in a tavern with a friend. Sylda rescues her from the tavernkeeper’s cat, and takes her home. But what is a fay woman doing in Prickwillow?

Squirm is anything but your average fay from mythology or fairytales. She’s grumpy, very sweary, and very funny. She’s also somehow lost all her powers. Why she lost her powers, she won’t say, but she persuades Sylda to go on a mission to get them back. And in the meantime, Sylda agrees to keep her existence a secret, and to keep her hidden away in her room. It isn’t safe for a fay to be in Sylda’s world – it’s not only hungry cats that Squirm needs to worry about, but also wizards and sorcerers, who would love to run experiments on her.

Squirm’s quest to get her abilities back will lead to dealings with a creature who is definitely not a giant squirrel, a heist, and meetings with some more mythological creatures. Early on in the story, Squirm convinces Sylda to teleport, which doesn’t exactly go to plan on the first try; and also to perform magic which Sylda, without the appropriate training, should not be doing. This mission is a challenge in many ways for the half-elf, and it will put her in risky and unusual situations along the way.

There are eleven episodes of The Prickwillow Papers currently available, after the end of the first season a live episode was also released, which was recorded at London Podcast Festival Presents Audio Drama in November 2019. Searle is currently working on a new pirate audio drama titled Rapscallion, and recently wrote an episode for hopepunk anthology series MonkeyTales, titled Extra Natural Creature Solutions.

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