Here’s what we’re about…

The timeless structure, unsentimental fantasy, and deep connections with human nature which characterize traditional Fairy Tales are at the heart of the storyteller’s craft, yet the genre often gets short shrift in our repertoires, performances and discussions. Fairy Tales deserve better treatment! So says the Fairy Tale Lobby.

Your hosts are storytellers operating as a Discussion Group under the auspices of the National Storytelling Network. We invite all story lovers to join us and participate in the discussion. Each month we will ask a question about the genre of fairy tales and solicit your advice and guidance.  The question will appear here and also on The Fairy Tale Lobby Facebook page and the Storytell Listserve.

In slightly more formal language, here are the purposes of The Fairy Tale Lobby Discussion Group:

1.  To encourage storytellers to include Fairy Tales in their performance repertoires;

2.  To advocate the value of Fairy Tales among producers, educators, and events planners;

3.  To educate storytellers and the general public regarding the importance of Fairy Tales in the lives of adults and children;

4.  To serve as a venue for conversation among storytellers, librarians, educators and scholars on the topic of Fairy Tales;

5.  To provide opportunities, such as online cues on Storytell, FBStorytellers and other media, for discussion and education about Fairy Tales;

6.  To heighten the awareness of NSN members and leaders regarding the importance of Fairy Tales;

7.  To serve as a resource for supporting any efforts on the part of NSN and others to include Fairy Tale material in publications, conferences, festivals and other channels;

8.  Focusing primarily on Fairy Tales, we believe our efforts would also encourage the many local and regional storytellers whose repertoires consist mostly of  traditional narrative forms: folktales, legends, and myths as well as Fairy Tales.


15 thoughts on “Here’s what we’re about…”

  1. Tracey Brownell said:

    is this group still active? Tracey Brownell Peoria Illinois.

  2. Hi:
    I’ve just found your site and love what you are doing! I’m over at Enchanted Conversation, and I just wanted to say hi!

  3. Carol farkas said:

    New to your site I am interested in folktale metaphore used with cancer Parients lLook fowrard to exploring with you.

  4. Hi,
    My name is Tracey Brownell. I am a storyteller in Peoria, Illinois. I specialize in Fairy tales, and sometimes I dress like a Faerie, wings and all. I adore your site!! Just wanted to say , thanks!

  5. Nelly Kupper said:

    I am a professor at Northern Michigan University and I am writing a book on the gaze in fiction. I am looking for a very specific piece of information on fairy/folk tales of any region and thus far no one seems to be able to provide this vital piece for my work.

    What fairy/folk tale(s) have the following directive: DO NOT LOOK BACK or DO NOT TURN AROUND or something of that nature?

    If anyone can assist me with this query I would be most grateful.

    Thank you in advance,
    Nelly Kupper
    Prof. of French and Russian
    Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Northern Michigan University Marquette, MI

  6. Thank you for the Valentine’s card. Have not received since I was in sixth grade — 65 years ago. It was much appreciated.

  7. So glad I found this blog

  8. I respond to Kevin’s ‘Cause a Stir’ course outline for an April Workshop.
    It is undeniable that our storytelling generally stays clear of sexual themes, etc as he lists them. I think this is one of the strengths of the Moth and Story Slam movement: they go there. And crowds come (not our crowd by enlarge)… so it is a great theme.
    I sometimes tell some racy content within the narratives in those ‘slams’ to hoots and howls- see Bocaccio’s Decameron (funny sexual material). The Arabian Nights tales often have sexual content (Porter’s Tale- pretty disturbing). Their paying audiences were men in teahouses (or campfires on the trade routes). And I told them (with belly dancer and two musicians) to paying audiences in the private lounge of a bar in Honolulu’s chinatown for 18 months of sold-out shows. Wildly popular- folks wanted to get in (as the Iraq war broke, shock and awe, mission accomplished, etc.).
    So there is an audience. Fringe Fests offer another context for this kind of material.
    As a Story Radio producer, I must say it’s difficult finding great material on some of these themes…. have done Gay Love, have done Man Destroys Sea, and Earth…
    but our collected works here are thin (at least the ones I can find, and I do work at it). Anyway, those are my thoughts this AM- hope it contributes. Jeff Gere

  9. Sorry but I don’t know how to add a new topic.
    I am running a workshop at a Storytelling conference in April and wondered if anyone would like to suggest any Fairy Stories or activities that would fulfil some of my aims? It is in the very early stages of planning…but here is the proposal that I put to the conference team…

    “Causing a Stir”
    “Do we as storytellers ‘shy’ away from explicit or ‘difficult’ telling?”
    “Is there an audience for such performance work?”

    Through drama and story exercises we would experiment with issues around:-
    • Sexual imagery
    • Stories for impacting discussion and change around difficult social, religious and political issues….war, religious ideology, fur trade etc
    • Telling difficult images…..child death, rape, incest
    • Presenting alternative views…..paedophile, rapist
    • Are there any taboos?
    • Where and when would these issues be covered?

    We would look at reinterpreting stories, finding hidden structures and themes in stories, personal stories and accounts, campaigning.
    This workshop would look at the issues of this kind of performance work and finding suitable stories and sources…NOT in any way judging or commenting on the issues themselves.

    ANY thoughts would be gratefully appreciated.


    • mary grace ketner said:

      Kevin, I think we’re on the same page, and there is certainly a place for a workshop such as the one you propose!

      Some support for your thesis might be found in posts and comments on some of our previous Fairy Tale Questions of the Month, such as the rich response to a question about stories for non-traditional families (GLBTQ, stepfamilies . . .) which actually took two months, October and November of 2013. Others topics include incest in April 2013, sexual violence in January 2013, and witches in October 2012. Since Megan and I post four blogs and get four sets of brilliant comments each month, a lot gets said! And there’s space there for more comments from you, too!

      We keep the FT?oM in the right sidebar for the whole month that it is being discussed, then move it to our page called “Previous Fairy Tale Questions of the Month.” You might try browsing that page then going to the archive (below in the black section) to read the four posts/comments on the topic.

      And I’m sure some of your other concerns will come up in future questions from Vasalisa’s readers. As I say, we’re on the same page!

  10. Being an “extreme” advocate of the French Fairy Tales which came from the woman-controlled salons of late 17th early 18th century France, I am constantly amazed at how these stories, literary though they are, are so readily lapped up by the audience. d’Aulnoy, l’Heriteier, and Murat are 3 of the most interesting fairy tale writers AND they show how the fairy tale can be radical enough to be used to criticize current societal norms/beliefs. When I have spoken to/taught groups about fairy tales, I first start off with “How big [tall] is a fairy?” Granted the response is a generalization of the romanticized version of the Tinkerbell a la Disney (don’t get me started on Disney). The class/seminar attendees are more than amazed when I tell them that fairies are taller than humans, fierce friends, awesome enemies, and – in most cases – not interested in much human contact. Then I continue with some of the great tales, using d’Aulnoy’s stories as examples. Many a grin comes when I tell people “You don’t f— with a French Fairy.”

  11. My friend Jeff has laid it clearly across the bow. I must heave too, raise the white flag and join the party.

    As the industrial revolution has become the tech revolution we seek to leave behind the burden of our pre-civilization ancestors. We can no more leave behind our past then we can step out of our own skins. In the age of intellectual honesty we make decision based on emotions and shadows that we dare not know. Our ancient ancestors speak for us from behind are backs and then we complain – as if surprised. Where did all that feeling come from? Why am I so angry? Why am I so sad? We struggle to make sense of a world that is bound by long forgotten choices – human inertia set into motion by people ten thousand years ago…

    I stand with them. I stand with the ancestors who look down the generations towards a future that is barreling towards us. They call out to us! We have left you a map! We have made a road for you to walk! Just look for the signs! Signs they left behind in story. Pride can destroy what you love – wolves don’t make could guides – giants have a lot of wealth. Obvious – yet – forgotten in an age where information is king and nobody knows want they really want – besides a side order of fries. Because few know who they are and fewer still seek to look for the signs.

    Modern therapists tell us that most of our brain activity is unconscious activity. That most decisions we make, may feel like they were carefully weighed by a conscious intellect, are really already decided by our unconscious. The ancestors know this and they knew how to speak to this part of the mind.

    I am a member of the Fairytale Lobby – I look for the signs. I seek to gently waken the sleeping ancestors who stir around my head. I feed them dreams of a world with a future. All I ask of them is what they have already given me – a map to get there.

  12. I too am new to this blog. I think this quote sums up my feeling from site.

    “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Albert Einstein

  13. I am new to this blog, just called it up getting ready for work.
    I find the right sidebar’s reporting a storyteller’s dilemma in the face of
    administrators who fears the parent phone calls and another’s doubt that fairytales will hold the sophisticated adults,

    This reminds me of a story where that happened.

    I had just finished a program of fairytales to upper el. kids who were absolutely mesmerized, laughed on cue, buzzed when buzz is good, etc…. A parent came upto me on the side of the stage immediately after I finished red in the face, rabidly offended that I would bring up such topics (dysfunction, abandonment, hauntings, and magic!).

    I apologized for offending her sensibilities, she continued heatedly and before I could edit, it came out:
    Clearly what these stories report are not part of your reality, but indeed, I must confess that I find much in them which reflects the world I see. Have you opened the papers recently? War on unarmed civilians is rampant. People are displaced from their homes by the thousands. Have you dirven down a back ally at night recently- seen anybody sleeping in a cardboard box? Know anybody from Miexico, or any other America south of here? Howzabout Iraq, Afghanistan… have any Hawaiian friends? My hope is that in their couched symbolic language, the stories will prepare the children for these realities and hopefully a few more answers. We have not done too well by the unfortunates around us- perhaps nobody told us fairytales when we were young. Excuse me.

    Jeff Gere
    in Hawaii

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