Friday, May 2, 2014

The Australian Fairy Tale Society Awakens After a Hundred Year Sleep!

AFTS logo by Regan Kubecek
The world has a new Fairy Tale Society. In Australia! (Woot!!) *fistpump*

It's called, coincidentally, the Australian Fairy Tale Society. (The temporary online home, until the official launch in June, is HERE.)

Welcome to the world AFTS!

But the creation of this society is really a continuation of work that began one hundred (ish) years ago...
"One hundred years ago (or thereabouts) the eminent folklorist and fairy tale collector Joseph Jacobs might have been Australia’s answer to the Brothers Grimm. Jacobs was born, raised and university educated in Sydney but he moved to England in the late 19th Century to gather and publish fairy tales there. Meanwhile our rich tapestry of tales grew, yet there was no comprehensive endeavour to collect, analyse and preserve Australian fairy tales... until now."
To help make the organization the best possible resource for the collection and preservation of Australia fairy tales and to support current and new work, the new Australian Fairy Tale Society launched a crowd funding project on Monday April 28 to help them get off the ground.
As well as collecting folklore, the AFTS national website* will promote current events, share fairy tale news, inspire new works, and encourage a strong network of fairy tale lovers across the land. The society will hold annual conferences and encourage discussion groups to form across the country. (*To be launched at the conference.)
by Regan Kubecek
With a crowd funding project that launched on Monday April 28, an inaugural conference on Monday 9th June, and a new national website, the Australian Fairy Tale Society (AFTS) has broken the
But they don't just want your monetary help. They looking to launch an active and ongoing collection of fairy tales in Australia:
Does Grandma tell a bawdy version of Little Red Riding Hood? Did Cinderella make her way into your childhood rhyming games? Know any good Beauty and the Beast jokes? We're searching for Australian fairy tale folklore for our new collection.
Take a look at the video to see more about the new Australian Fairy Tale Society and what they (we!) hope to do with the support of contributors (and, like most crowd-funded projects, there are some great gifts and perks, according to your donation amount - see website for details HERE).
Being a long way from home myself, I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be a way for supporters afar to participate or spectate but nothing has been confirmed as yet. If this changes and the conference participants (or attendees) jump on Twitter, Skype or Facebook for any panel or presentation (and I get a heads up) I will definitely let you know ASAP so you can plan your live participation with the time differences etc.

Here are some event details confirmed to date (more details on papers & panels below the poster):

  • Best selling and award-winning author Kate Forsyth will present her paper 'Rapunzel in the Antipodes' and be on our discussion panel looking at 'Cultural Editing: How some fairy tales get lost in the woods'.
  • Sarah Gibson - Jungian analyst, creator of Re-enchantment and the Fairy Tales Re-imagined Symposiums - will address the 'Ways of Interpreting Fairy Tales', with a focus on Australian visual artists.
  • Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario, who researches and teaches fairy tale, children's and fantasy literature at Monash University in Melbourne, will break open the definition of fairy tale in her exploration of 'Baroque in Oz: From Giambattista Basile to Shaun Tan'.
  • Belinda Calderone, who runs the Monash Fairy Tale Salon and is completing her PhD on motherhood in fairy tales, will present her paper 'Strange Lands: The transportation of European fairy tales into the Australian landscape'.
  • Jo Henwood, storyteller and co-founder of the AFTS, will tell 'An Australian Thumbelina' replete with "dingoes, wombats, echidnas and lorikeets" at the June conference.
  • Vasilisa Fair by Regan Kubecek
      Jenni Cargill-Strong - storyteller, singer, and founder of The Storytree Company - will share her research on the Little Red Riding Hood tale on our discussion panel looking at 'Cultural Editing: How some fairy tales get lost in the woods'.
    • Griffith University Honours student Sophie MacNeill will complete our discussion panel looking at 'Cultural Editing: How some fairy tales get lost in the woods' with her extensive knowledge of Snow White.
    • Storyteller and researcher, Tobias Eccles, will look at a common thread weaving through locally collected tales in his paper 'Stealing from the Sky, Stealing from the Underworld: The heroic thief in Australian fairy tales'.
    • Danielle Wood, who is working on her second collection of original fairy tales, will present a reading of her latest book 'Mothers Grimm' at the conference.
    • Robyn Floyd will be presenting her paper 'Constructing Australian Fantasy from a Grimm Perspective: Olga Ernst' followed by a storytelling performance of one of Olga's stories.

    There will also be some fairy tale artists and writers present for panels, meet and greets and signings of their works and books.

    If you're not in Australia, but still want to show your support for this new (and huge!) fairy tale endeavor, please feel free to contact the lovely and very friendly duo who got AFTS off the ground, Reilly McCarron and Jo Henwood, either via the AFTS Facebook page HERE or the crowd funder site HERE.

    Although I dearly wish I could be there in person, I will most definitely be there in spirit. 

    Note: all the art shown is, as credited below the images, by Aussie illustrator Regan Kubecek, who both created the AFTS logo and is the (unofficial at this time) AFTS artist. Ms. Kubecek also recently created a set of fairy tale illustrations which you can see HERE.


    1. Thanks so much for sharing Gypsy! We're really excited about the AFTS and glad you are too : )

    2. Wow! How cool is that! I'm looking forward to hearing more:)