Monday, December 30, 2019

South of the Sun news & review of Erin-Claire's book

Faerie News

South of the Sun 
book cover art by Lorena Carrington
Our fundraising for the anthology South of the Sun - Australian fairy tales for the 21st century was successful! Due Spring 2020 on Serenity Press, it's for YA + adult readership, challenges stereotypes and champions diversity, as expressed in its iconic cover.

Faerie Review 

The Adventurous Princess 
and other feminist fairy tales
written and illustrated by Erin-Claire Barrow
(Publisher Obscura, an imprint of Odyssey Books, 2019)

Cover art by Erin-Claire Barrow
Barrow’s book is a rollicking skein of storytelling in ink and watercolour, full of mischief and wonder, and rings a bell of authenticity at every twist and turn on the stair of fairytale. Welcome to diversity, feminism and inclusion, with a light touch. No tut-tutting. Barrows’ spin is free of meretricious virtue signalling or faddish morality. 

To quote Dr Eugen Bacon (Review Editor of Aurealis and award-winning author of stories, novels, poetry and the inspiring guide Writing Speculative Fiction - creative and critical approaches), Erin-Claire Barrow’s book is ‘richly diverse with its characters of colour and recasting of the familiar… the collection reimagines heroines as empowered and shaping their destinies… carefree stories that queer the norm’ (Winter 2019). 

Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario asserted that ‘The heart of the fairy tale princess should not be solitary, but a prince or a king is not the only answer. Fairy tales have often destabilised the intricate social and power networks of patriarchy through female relationships and fashion. Shrewd, well-dressed, and in the company of redoubtable women, [is] the tradition of the fairy tale princess …’ (pp. 16-18, ‘The Heart of the Princess’, The Victorian Writer, Dec 2015-Jan 2016). 

Erin-Claire Barrow’s retellings bear testament to the radical flexibility of inter-gender reinterpretation in fairy tales, thus helping to ensure continuance of these ancient stories and their relevance in our century.

With mental illness on the rise - forecast to become the leading killer worldwide by 2030 - this comment by Erin-Claire in her Foreword is pertinent: that fairy tales ‘often set unrealistic expectations for men to be competitive and aggressive, to be someone else’s hero or saviour, and not to feel fear or anxiety.’ Further, she asserts: ‘It can be difficult for people in our diverse, modern society to see themselves represented in well-known and well-loved stories’, which affects ‘what is valued… we deserve better representation of our diverse society in… fairy tales that challenge rather than embed stereotypes, and stories that inspire…’

Don’t be fooled by the picture-book format. Plenty of young adults and mature readers can relate to these retellings. In parallel, this collection would still appeal to tweens or mature children. As such, if you are a librarian, teacher, storyteller, parent or guardian looking to share fairy tales with younger readers without a trace of sexism, homophobia or other primitive prejudices, this book is sure to answer your call.

Erin-Claire Barrow, illustrator

So let’s delve into specific tales, numbering nine:

An arrangement of Barrow's fairytale swap-cards
hat accompany this superbly illustrated book.
Contact Erin-Claire Barrow to order your pack!

‘The Princess and The Pea’: Our bedraggled heroine reacts with dismissive glee at the prince’s comment about his royal parents’ assumption of a pea causing discomfort to a real princess: ‘Delicate!’ She exclaims. ‘Tell that to the bandits I fought last week! Or the dragon!’ (page 3). The prince, meanwhile, is a dreamy, story-loving, lute-playing painter.

‘Cinderella’: kindness, resourcefulness and the ability to talk to birds, are foremost attributes above youth or beauty. The heroine is a grandmother, and her godmother is older still; quite wonderfully gnarled. She gives her a flowing gown with an embroidered shawl (no tight corsets for this lady!) and boots with only a strip of glass. With her wit and wisdom, she charms the widowed King, before ever having to lose a shoe at all, let alone risk her neck in a carriage that turns unreliably into a pumpkin. All the while, her granddaughter woos the Prince. (She charms Charming, and Charming is charmed.) Family dynamics differ only superficially from the traditional tale. Essential elements are at play, with goodness triumphing over greed.

‘The Swan Maiden’: a short, pithy retelling with a satisfying twist - no spoilers!
The Beast in 'Beauty and the Beast'

‘Beauty and the Beast’: For a depiction of harrowing loneliness, integrity, abiding loyalty and a stirring development of love between two women, look no farther than this poignant love story. It is by far, in my view, the most emotive story in Barrow’s collection. 

Princess Holding the Golden Ball in 'The Frog Prince'
‘The Frog Prince’: First half of this retelling resembles traditional versions rather closely, which suits my taste as I had always loved those. This makes it a marvellous surprise, when someone speaks out against the King, like a bell sounding from one age to another: the Queen contradicts him - and he heeds her advice! I won’t reveal what it is, nor what happens next, but it’s cute. Except perhaps for the very end, depending on quite how romantic you are!

‘Snow White’: Here is a twirl of a tale, nipped in the bud by the snap, chink and frost of wisdom. A charming reversal, even a pun, on holding and beholding?

‘Allerleirauh’: Reminding me a little of an Amerindian story retold in World Tales by Idries Shah (perhaps because of the motif of a cloak), this story provides intercultural contrast with more widely known, predominantly European fairytales.

‘The Goose Girl’: One of my favourite childhood tales that invited rampant, dubious colouring-in with rainbow pencils. I relished the chance to revisit this plethora of incantation and transmigration of souls across human and animal forms. Cool totemic stuff.

‘The Little Mermaid’: A charming conclusion to a delightful collection. Dive in - I dare you!

In my copy of the book, Erin-Claire pencilled me a drawing, after we met at Australian Fairy Tale Society events in two States. The pic depicts a woman in a flowing floral dress, her elbow resting on a table. She surveys a map, like those of epic fantasy. Whether she is planning her next move - strategy, creation, quest - or dallying in reverie, is a mystery. This whimsy speaks to the perceptiveness and generosity of Erin-Claire, who is also tenacious, financing her publication via crowdfunding. At a Fairy Tale Ring, people pounced upon the book.

Website of Erin-Claire Barrow

Friday, November 15, 2019

South of the Sun - sparkle behind the scenes!

Faerie News 

South of the Sun - 

Australian fairy tales for the 21st century

Our anthology, South of the Sun - Australian fairy tales for the 21st century, is building a vibrant community and we've extended our call for entries until 13th December to encompass this expanding interest. Due on Serenity Press (in WA) 2020, it’s for YA + adult readership, rated G. Featuring original contributions by internationally acclaimed guest authors, with lush illustrations, it reflects intercultural inventiveness and overturns stereotypes (e.g. Eurocentricity or passive heroines). Here are some snippets about contributors so far. Please help spread the word of our campaign with a signal boost among your networks - thank you x

Pozible campaign (with video!)

South of the Sun - Australian fairy tales of the 21st century
anthology front cover art
by Lorena Carrington

Who we are...

Our Anthology Subcommittee is a branch of the Australian Fairy Tale Society.

Patricia Poppenbeek (author, editor, Anthology Chair, leader of the Vic Fairy Tale Ring)
Louisa John-Krol (fey bard, anthology secretary, former president of Australian Fairy Tale Society)
Lorena Carrington (photographic illustrator, chief of anthology art in this book)
Kathryn Gossow (novelist, poet, anthology social media manager)
Gabi Brown (author, former BBC radio producer, anthology committee member)
Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario (jeweller, fairytale scholar, author, anthology committee member & Editor of the Australian Fairy Tale Society's Ezine)

Folklorists & other fairytale enthusiasts might be intrigued by this article - Introduction: The state of play in Australian fairy tale: Where to now?by three fairy tale scholars who've served on AFTS committees: Dr Nike Sulway, Dr Belinda Calderone and Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario, who is writing our Anthology’s foreword.

A little more about each of us, followed by our early guest contributors:

Patricia Poppenbeek:

Patricia (Patsy) Poppenbeek
Author, Chair & Editor of several anthologies
& Leader of the Victorian Fairy Tale Ring
(a state branch of the Australian Fairy Tale Society)
Patsy conversing with an imp
by the name of Tim Tit Tot,
also known as Duffy, Tremotino,
Rumpelstiltskin and other
illustrious titles

Louisa John-Krol:

Louisa John-Krol 
Welsh-Australian singer 
on French fairy-world label

Louisa (me) as a Wonderwings Fairy Shop storyteller 1990s

Lorena Carrington:

Lorena Carrington

recent book covers by photographic illustrator, Lorena Carrington

imagery by Lorena Carrington, from Vasilisa the Wise

Kathryn Gossow:

Kathryn Gossow, 
author of Cassandra

For my Review of Kathryn's mysterious, haunting, Aurealis shortlisted novel Cassandra (Odyssey Books), click on this link and scroll past fey promo, from music to puppetry and unicorns. This novel is gathering excellent 5-star reviews online, and is among our Rewards at Pozible.

Gabi Brown:

Gabi Brown
author & former BBC radio producer

Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario:

Definition of fairy tales by Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario, at AFTS’ website 

Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario 
fairytale scholar, jeweller
& author of the academic gem:
Fashion In The Fairy Tale Tradition
- What Cinderella Wore

four-leaf clover Rebecca-Anne found
Fashion In The Fairy Tale Tradition -
What Cinderella Wore

by Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario

Other contributors so far include Leila Honari and Marianna Shek, of Iranian-Australian and Chinese-Australian heritage respectively, who together produced The Stolen Button:

A glimpse of Pomelina the Pomegranate fairy
by Leila Honari
for a Persian-Australian fairytale by
Welsh-Australian Louisa John-Krol
Leila Honari
Marianna Shek
Click here for my review of their book The Stolen Button 

The Stolen Button by Marianna Shek & Leila Honari

Louisa's photo of The Stolen Button

Thang Dac Luong
author of 
Refugee Wolf

Thang Dac Luong was interviewed here at this blog, with a review of his poignant, satirical novella, Refugee Wolf, an abridged version of which features in our forthcoming anthology.

Thang Dac Luong
researching the life of his father,
a persecuted journalist who fled
to Australia after the Vietnam War

Eugen Bacon, author
Eugen Bacon
an African-Australian award-winning writer of speculative fiction with genre-crossing forays into astonishing hybrids of magic-realism, poetry, sci-fi, fairytale and fantasy...

Eugen's novel 'Claiming To-Mo' (Meerkat Press) is among our Rewards in our Pozible campaign. You can also hear her lush voice in our video there!

Visit her Website and explore her other titles too!

Here's my Review of her book Writing Speculative Fiction - Creative and Critical Approaches (Macmillan International).

Reilly McCarron 
Celtic Faerie Bard

co-founder of the Australian Fairy Tale Society
dwelling on a magic mountain near Sydney
- the South of the Sun anthology features her lyrics!

Monique Mulligan
author in Western Australia
Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

contributes an eerie tale that's actually a preview 
of her forthcoming novel...

'Why not use creativity to get the better of self-doubt?'
- Monique Mulligan

Spike Deane
fairytale glass artist

at Canberra Glassworks, ACT,
is among our visual contributors

Spike's Website
Spike's Patreon page

Art by glass artist Spike Deane

Debra Phillips, visual artist
Debra Phillips

Jo Henwood

co-founder & Ring Maiden
of the Australian Fairy Tale Society
founded in Sydney

Erin Claire Barrow, illustrator based in Canberra
Book & swap-cards by Erin-Claire Barrow

Cindy-Lee Harper at Fitzroy Gardens
Cindy-Lee Harper, accomplished storyteller & blogger-bard

graces our anthology as a special guest. Welcome to her blog.
This photograph shows her sharing a tale from her ancestry, part of which she traces to the Pyemarriner people of Tasmania.

Claudia Barnett, fairytale scholar

Claudia Barnett
author, fairy tale scholar & former Editor of the Australian Fairy Tale Society Ezine, has contributed a tale set on the Goldfields. Eureka! This victory salute is widely regarded as the birth-cry of Australian democracy.

Kathleen Jennings, illustrator
Illustration by Kathleen Jennings

Other guests include Sophie Masson, who has published widely across major publishing houses, and recently won an Order of Australia for Services to Literature; and Carmel Bird, recipient of the Patrick White Award, one of Australia's most prestigious prizes. Articles praising or interviewing both appeared in this blog:

Hunter's Moon
by Sophie Masson
Review of Hunter's Moon - novel by Sophie Masson
(with Interview)

Review of Child of the Twilight - novel by Carmel Bird

Child of the Twilight
by Carmel Bird

Carmel Bird

Sophie Masson

Sophie Masson

A glimpse of our official promo
(as in, not the rambling wild briars of this fairy blog)

Entries close 13th Dec 2019!

Australian Fairy Tale Society members, please note that our Anthology contact email for submissions is separate from those of central AFTS admin & AFTS Ezine gmails:
Anthology Email

Please watch our video at Pozible & share this news. 
Every little boost helps,