A Life in Fairy Tales by guest author Elizabeth Hopkinson
I am delighted to have a fellow Swanwicker visit my blog today. Elizabeth Hopkinson takes time today to tell us about her life long love of fairy tales.
When I was a child, my grandparents bought me a 4-record album of fairy tales and nursery rhymes. I listened to it over and over again. I particularly remember listening to it during my frequent childhood illnesses, as I wasn’t allowed to watch TV when I was ill. Along with the ubiquitous Ladybird books common to many British children at the time, this laid the foundation for a lifelong love of fairy tales. It came to its blossoming at university, when I became aware that there was such a thing as the academic study of fairy tales, and I had my eyes opened to the immense range of tales though time and space, and to their cousins: myth, legend and medieval romance.
I can’t claim to be anything but an amateur fairy tale scholar, but in my professional life as a writer I have written and published many fairy tales, both retellings/re-imaginings and original fairy tales. This year I was lucky enough to win the Fairytalez Best Gender Swap Fairy Tale contest, with my story “Ash, or the Gowns from a Tree”.
For those who don’t know, Fairytalez is a wonderful, free resource of traditional and literary fairy tales from around the world, which also publishes original tales by its reading community.
I have also been blessed to have had stories in the last three years’ editions of The Forgotten & the Fantastical, an annual anthology of grown-up fairy tales, edited by Teika Bellamy of Mother’s Milk Books. This May saw the launch of volume 4, with a delightful launch party at Nottingham Writers’ Studio. It was great to meet my fellow contributors and hear them read extracts from their work – and of course to sign and sell books!
And this year’s fairy tale journey continues at Swanwick Writer’s Summer School, when I will be giving a talk on the current fairy tale “scene”. So much is happening now, from YouTube channels and podcasts dedicated to fairy tale, to the success of Twitter’s Folklore Thursday, to the ongoing debate about girls and women in fairy tales. I have a lot to pack into one hour!
If you’d like to know more about me and my tales, please visit my website: elizabethhopkinson.uk, where there are links to all my social media. You may be particularly interested in my novel Silver Hands, inspired by fairy tale “The Handless Maiden” and set in the Golden Age of Sail, and in my short story collection “Tales from the Hidden Grove”. Both can be accessed from this page: