Fairytales for grown-ups

Goldfields Libraries officer Hayley West, authors Carmel Bird and Cate Kennedy and illustrator Lorena Carrington are looking forward to the July 3 event.

Think fairytales are just old-fashioned stories you read to children at bedtime? A special event coming up at Castlemaine Library is going to change your mind.
South of the Sun – Australian Fairy Tales for the 21st Century is a ground-breaking anthology put together by the Australian Fairy Tale Society.

As part of the book’s launch, the local library is hosting an event on Saturday July 3 with renowned local authors Carmel Bird and Cate Kennedy and Ballarat artist Sarah Hart, in a panel chaired by local photographer and illustrator Lorena Carrington, as they discuss fairytales for grown-ups in contemporary Australia.
The stories in this enchanting, illustrated book are definitely not for children. They are strictly for grown-ups. Often dark, the stories visit places where things don’t end happily ever after, where a single decision can haunt you forever. But there are also tales to make you laugh out loud, stories of sweet revenge and scenes of sheer delight in the world of magic and the fey.

But what makes a fairytale a modern Australian one? How does it differ from Indigenous storytelling? How can we include Australia’s diverse population from so many different cultures?
The panel shows what a wealth of talent we have in Castlemaine and surrounding areas. Leading the discussion will be Lorena Carrington, award-winning and internationally published illustrator.
“How lucky we are to have such extraordinary writers and illustrators in our midst. I’m so looking forward to diving into the wealth of knowledge and creative brilliance that our panellists share,” Lorena said.

Lorena will be casting a talking spell over Carmel Bird, who has been working with the motifs and narratives of fairytales since the 1980s. In 2016 Carmel won the Patrick White Literary Award.
The second panellist is Cate Kennedy, who likes a steady diet of stories – she’s published short ones, long ones, true ones and made-up ones. Two collections of her work are currently on the VCE syllabus.
And the last, but not least, is Sarah Hart. Sarah is a Ballarat-based mixed-media artist and writer with an abiding passion for fairytales, Feminism, the glory in the ordinary, and the stories and experiences of women.

The local creatives told the Express the project was a fantastic way for them to connect and continue to write and create during the 2020 lockdowns.
The book was pieced together by a dedicated ‘Anthology Committee’, which was formed about two and a half years ago and had countless meetings via Zoom during the lockdowns to bring the incredible collaborative project to fruition.

“It was really delightful to be able to continue to connect and share ideas and inspiration,” Lorena said.
“I think we all could probably do with a little magic in our lives at the moment, so escape to a land of modern wonder and come along on July 3.”
The event will kick off at 10am. Tickets are free – just contact the Library to get one.