Saturday, June 30, 2018

Fairy post #37 Faerie news, puppet float, conference report & Korean folklore

Faerie News

At our fifth Australian Fairy Tale Society conference this Midwinter, I met an inspiring storyteller from South Korea, Seung Ah Kim. She travels the world sharing folktales and culture. Her current tour is supported by her family association Andong Kim, which has more than 1,000 year long history from the founder (one of the grandsons of the last king of Silla Dynasty), keeping the oldest family tree book in Korea. To quote Seung:

"We have 500,000 members and 15 branches in our association. One of the branches owns a village. They have lived there for more than 620 years. Participants will stay in the village and experience Korean tradition, culture, and meet elders, villagers and my family members and hear a lot of stories."

Fey folk, she'd love you to share her ad with your artistic, folkloric networks:

A unique tour of South Korea unfurls from 16-25 October this year. Travel through time as you stay in a temple and historical homes. Listen to stories from elders and monks. Experience traditional music, calligraphy, cooking classes, a traditional memorial service, making rice wine and more. You cannot ask for a better guide and translator than Seung Ah Kim. Contact her at

photo by LJK of antique fairy book

More Faerie News:

Congrats Reilly McCarron, one of Australian Fairy Tale Society's co-founders, on publishing a story in the Snow White edition of Timeless Tales Magazine! Read here.

Dr Lucy Fraser published her academic book The Pleasures of Metamorphosis: Japanese and English Fairy Tale Transformations of "The Little Mermaid" recently.  It explores Japanese and English transformations of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 Danish fairy tale "The Little Mermaid".
Lucy is a Lecturer in Japanese, School of Languages and Cultures at The University of Queensland. View her profile & journal article & buy the book.

Frank's Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre performed rambunctiously at our conference. The talented puppeteers are running a crowdfunding campaign with the Australian Cultural Fund (a tax deductible platform), raising money to turn a horsefloat into a portable puppet theatre. More about them later in this blog under 'Presenters'.

Thanks Gypsy Thornton for this recommendation:
The Faery Folklorist
Gypsy's own site, Once Upon a Blog, remains one of the world's leading sources of fairy tale news & commentary.

Press Release from Sophie Masson:
Pitch Independent, a gathering of indie publishers, an opportunity for writers & illustrators:
W: here

News from Georgina Ballantine:
An anthology call-out for fey stories on the theme of 'Oath and Iron': here

Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden blogger posted an interview with me, Louisa John-Krol, about The Australian Fairy Tale Society here

Fairy Tale Conference Report:

Australian Fairy Tale Society's 5th annual conference unfurled this midwinter at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney, entitled 'Gardens of good & evil: growing life, plucking death'.

All day: Visual arts included glass slippers, keys and mandalas by Spike Deane, with illustrations by members such as Leila Honari, Lorena Carrington and Erin-Claire Barrow. An accompanying book stall featured writing by attending author-members such as Marianna Shek (The Stolen Button), Thang Dac Luong (Refugee Wolf - new education edition), Monique Mulligan (several titles) of Serenity Press, Phillippa Adgemis (Melpomene and Andonis) and our Keynote, Dr Kate Forsyth (Vasilisa the Wise and other tales of brave young women and her novel Beauty in Thorns).

Noon-2pm was a free public segment, comprising a fairy tale garden tour by Jo Henwood and map with designs by Debra Phillips, puppetry (Rapunzel and Spinach) by Frank's Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre, storytelling & music by Louisa John-Krol (me) improvising with puppeteers and Les Davidson as impish Green Jack to understudy a cancellation, and Liz Locksley of Thrive Story, with her true tale of Goblin's Gold and the Tardigrade, a super resilient moss.

Sessions morning and afternoon for registered attendees included anthro-botanical research on fairy tale rings, storytelling about an Australian wildflower princess painter, a literary panel (publisher/ writer/ illustrator), Q&A around fairy tales from The Silk Road and presentation of our Fairy Tale Award to Dr Kate Forsyth, this year's Keynote.

Bios/Intros of presenters are below, but first let's thank the dedicated fairy folk who made the practical wheels of this event turn:

Attendees from our main Committee, besides myself:

Spike Deane from Canberra designed call-outs, fliers, printed programmes, web banners and social media promo. Spike also participated in the exhibition with her glass art, and brought along the glass sculpture she created, on which we engrave names of our fairy tale awardees.

Jo Henwood from Sydney, as public officer, Ring Maiden and co-founder, was head of venue liaison this year. She also handled catering & quilting (collecting and sewing fairy tale patches from members for quilts as gifts for the homeless), hosted dinner and led a fairy tale garden tour.

Patricia Poppenbeek from Melbourne volunteered far more than her share of time to stall-minding, and helped set up rooms on the previous day, together with dedicated members of the Sydney Fairy Tale Ring. [Patsy, an author and editor, chairs our sub-committee for a proposed Anthology, South of the Sun - Australian fairy tales for the 21st century.]


Last year's bursary recipients, Georgina Ballantine and Joe Vandermeer, assisted with a number of tasks, from catering to filming, while this year's recipients, Danielle McGee and Monique Mulligan, helped to mind the stalls. Notably, Monique was also a presenter and panelist, as an editorial director of Serenity Press, an indie publisher in Western Australia.


Shirley Way stepped into the role of MC at a week's notice after a cancellation, travelling from Brisbane; she performed admirably amidst several late changes to the programme.

Nicole Logue as part of her course on event management, assisted with many tasks from catering to publicity, and wrote a stunning press release.

Erin-Claire Barrow as Returning Officer for this year's AGM, carried proceedings with aplomb. She also participated in the exhibition with her beautiful art. Erin illustrated last year's Fairy Tale Award certificate. [This year's Award illustrator was Jane Carlisle.]

Apologies in advance for any oversights in this list of thanks. If you notice any gaps, please let me know.

Now for details of our presenters and exhibitors! This might appeal to those of you who missed the conference, or attended but missed a presentation; there are web-links here for you to seek them out yourselves:


Kate Forsyth: Keynote - “Edward Burne-Jones’s obsession with ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and the motif of the rose”: Her acclaimed novel Beauty in Thorns is the story of Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones’s lifelong obsession with the Sleeping Beauty fairy-tale and the symbolic meaning of flowers, such as the wild rose in ‘The Legend of Briar Rose’. Kate is one of Australia’s best-known writers, with over a million copies sold around the world. Later in the day, Kate - an accredited storyteller - performed the tale of Katie Crackernuts. Her performance was utterly bewitching. Afterwards we presented her with our annual Fairy Tale Award for her contribution to scholarship, storytelling and writing in this field. Her book signing unfurled in the Moore room during our noon-2pm segment for families. Discover more about this fascinating Australian fey woman here

Robyn Floyd, Phillippa Adgemis, Christine Shiel: “A garden always has a point.” ―  Elizabeth Hoyt (The Raven Prince): What is the point of the garden, the bush, the landscape in folktales? We followed Christine, Robyn and Phillippa down a wonderland ‘rabbit hole’ as they explored the impact of transplanting traditional tales into new natural environments: the garden, the bush, the island. They presented a dialogue (trialogue?) that questioned effects of natural settings on mannerisms, behaviour and appearance of characters in fairy tales & mythologies. Find out more about Robyn's PhD on Australian fairy tale maven Olga Ernst, amongst other topics at her blog.

Graham Ross: Storyteller & Historian - “The Australian Fairy Tale Princess”: performed an historically allusive biography with fairy tale elements (palace, royal garden, fairy godparents, magic), helping to deepen interest in the life & work of the Australian painter Ellis Rowan (1848-1922). Graham has been telling stories in an oral tradition for many years, sometimes under the auspices of the local chapter of Storytelling Australia (SA). He is President of this chapter and convenor of the South Australian Fairy Ring. He comes from an eclectic background of psychology, teacher education & performing arts.

Natalie Phillips: Postgraduate Student - “Fairy Tale Rings”: The fairy ring is an intriguing natural phenomenon. Scientifically it is the result of mycelium (fungal threads) absorbing nutrients in the soil - a ring of darker grass, or dead grass, or mushrooms (Rutter 60). Its presence in folklore is more convoluted; a trap, luring mortals; or a portal to a magical world, protection or fortune. This academic paper explored the fairy ring in folktales, art and literature, breaking down elements intrinsic to this phenomenon — magical, scientific, symbolic [Rutter, Gordon. “Fairy Rings”. Field Mycology 3.2 (2002): 56-60. ScienceDirect. Web. 15 Jan. 2018.] Natalie is a doctoral candidate at Western Sydney University.

Helen Hopcroft: Manager of Frank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre - “Rapunzel and Spinach”: Frank's is a portable puppet theatre in Maitland, telling traditional fairy tales in new ways. All their puppets, stories, costumes and props are handmade, loosely based on the Queen’s Theatre at Versailles. Plays are between 5-20 minutes, appealing to children aged 4-10 years. With a crew of six including a storyteller, MC and sound technician, Frank's (or may I say, Helen's!) transported us into imagination with humour and glee. Truly a highlight of our day, it helped weave the kind of playful, quirky, mischievous, whimsical magic that leads seamlessly into storytelling. Helen has a PhD in English & Writing at the University of Newcastle, focusing on the Arabian Nights and Western-European fairy tales. She’s co-published an article in Marvels & Tales. A reminder to support their crowdfunding for a converted horse float for safely transporting their portable theatre.

Louisa John-Krol: I understudied ABC presenter Cheralyn Darcey ('The Language of Flowers in Fairy Tales'), as other acts weren't suitable for children, and this was a segment we'd publicised as family entertainment. Years of fairy festival experience came in handy as I improvised with puppeteers and Les Davidson who was clad in green, playing Jack, in an impromptu pantomime of storytelling and music that included Rapunzel's Wraggle Taggle, an Italian tale 'Cecino the Tiny', a melody I'd set to a Keats' poem, and an original song 'Moon Willow'. My discography on ethereal labels, with other faerielore, abides here.

Liz Locksley: founding Storyteller of Thrive Story - “Goblin’s Gold”: a storytelling experience - A fragment of Goblin’s Gold, is snatched from behind a wizard in a cave on the wooded escarpment of Alderley Edge. In it lives a Tardigrade, one of Earth's most tenacious creatures. We heard the tale of a lifelong quest, of Goblin’s Gold and the Tardigrade. Goblins’ Gold, also called Schistostega pennata and luminescent moss, is known for glowing and growing in dark places. Unlike other moss, the Tardigrade, or Water Bear, is perhaps the most resilient creature on Earth. It can survive a wide range of temperatures and environments, perhaps even cosmic catastrophe. Liz Locksley is founder of Thrive Story.

Marianna Shek and Leila Honari: “The Silk Road - Cultivating a Hybrid Garden”: The creative journey behind The Stolen Button book, a fairy tale on the Silk Road. They discussed themes of migration, displacement and multicultural stories in an Australian landscape. The Silk Road is a hybrid garden, a space to portray an exotic other, where wands, dragons and goblins mingle with nagas, djinns and huli jings. This Q&A led to an exhibition of Leila Honari’s art. Leila and Marianna worked on The Stolen Button while teaching and completing PhDs in the animation dept at Griffith Film School. Marianna is a transmedia writer working with non-linear narratives. Her latest work If The Shoe Fits won first place in the 2017 Conflux Short Story comp. She has forthcoming works in anthologies by Tiny Owl Workshop. Leila’s research investigates the mandala structure of Persian mystical stories. Her projected installation Farsh-e-Parandeh (Flying Carpet) is available for exhibitions. Find out more here.

Monique Mulligan: Editorial Director of Serenity Press - “Growing beautiful stories: Keeping the flame alive”: S.P. is a small independent publisher now focussing on folklore, fairy-tale retellings and original fairy tales, keeping traditional stories and storytelling alive by fostering understanding and enjoyment of folklore, fairy tales and myth. An editor, author, founder of Stories on Stage in Perth, and journalist, Monique published Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women retold by Kate Forsyth, illustrated by Lorena Carrington*. These tales of courage and cleverness, an antidote to the assumption that classic fairy-tales feature passive princesses. Set in forests, secret gardens and wild seashores, they invoke nature – a doll made of wood, a hazel-twig wand, roses, a silver castle hanging from oak trees, a wooden flute that summons a griffin, primarily created out of detritus from forest floors – leaves, bones, moss, twigs, seeds, mushrooms. Discover more here - and buy the book!

Exhibitors included Erin-Claire Barrow, Spike Deane, Debra Phillips, Leila Honari, Marianna Shek, Jane Carlisle (in absentee) and one of our panelists Lorena Carrington*, who explores lost or forgotten fairy tales. Her work delves into themes around life and death, created from her garden and surrounding landscape.

Fairy Carriage by Lorena Carrington
*Lorena, Monique and Kate united for a fascinating panel discussion in the afternoon.

Fey Regards,

Louisa John-Krol
Australian Fairy Tale Society

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Fairy post #36 - Serenity & Button pre-conference

Faerie News

New Music from Melbourne, Australia

Ambient Pop by Elvan

The Stolen Button
a new fairy tale by Marianna Shek and Leila Honari
who shall co-present a Q&A session
at the 5th annual conference of the Australian Fairy Tale Society

flying from Brisbane to Sydney:
When: Sunday 10th June 2018
Where: Botanic Gardens of Sydney
Art & books by other published attendees will be for sale there too.
Or buy The Stolen Button online now,
so you know what to ask if you attend!

Join us at the Australian Fairy Tale Society's 5th annual conference
on Sunday 10th June 2018 at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney,
'Gardens of good and evil: growing life, plucking death'.
To register, click here 
To view our programme, click here
Liz Locksley of Thrive Story with Goblin's Gold and the Tardigrade
a most resilient moss!

Our panel trio comprises Monique Mulligan (an editor of Serenity Press) of WA,
our Keynote Dr Kate Forsyth (scholar, storyteller, bestselling author) of NSW,
and illustrator Lorena Carrington of Vic, whose pictures will be in our exhibition,
like the gorgeous floating castle below, shared here with her kind permission,
from Vasilisa the Wise and other tales of brave young women - more info here