Sunday, May 27, 2018

2018 Australian Fairy Tale Society Conference on June 10th Is Garden Themed! (And Being Held at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney)

Have you ever wondered about the herbs, flowers or seeds that turn up in fairy tales? Would you like to learn more about the symbolism or practical uses of plants over the centuries? Is grass really greener on the other side of a fairy fence? How about a little shade with your sunshine?Welcome to the 2018 AFTS 5th Annual Fairy Tale Conference
‘Gardens of Good & Evil: Growing Life, Plucking Death.’ 
What is it? 5th annual national conference of the Australian Fairy Tale Society 
When is it? Sunday 10th June, 2018 
Where is it? Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney (NSW, Australia) 
Who is the Keynote Speaker this year? Bestselling author, scholar and storyteller Kate Forsyth. 
Who can attend? Anyone who is a fairy tale enthusiast! Our conference generally appeals to writers, illustrators, publishers, storytellers, academics, budding scholars and many other disciplines manifested by enthusiasts of fairy tales. 
What AFTS specific items are included on the conference agenda? 
  • Annual AGM  
  • AFTS communal quilt project 
  • 2018 Australian Fairy Tale Society Award Presentation (which honours a person who has significantly contributed to Australian fairy tales, through literature, academia, art, or performances. Nominees for this year’s award include authors Dr Kate Forsyth and Kevin Price, and Australian fairy tale expert Dr Robyn Floyd.)  
  • Milestone Membership Celebration  
What is the cost? There are two parts to the conference this year! A free-to-public segment with the registered guest conference presentations following. 
         Free-to-public segment noon-2pm is free. 
         It is interactive and family-friendly, featuring a fairy tale garden tour, puppet show with Frank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre, presentation on ‘The Language of Flowers’ and storytelling with Thrive Story. [PSSST! Come in costume - we dare you! Fairies love giving prizes for magical things like the maddest hat, most abundant garland, leafiest cloak and jumpiest boots!]
         Remainder of conference (9am to noon + 2pm - 5:15pm) is for registered guests:
$95 Full Price
$85 AFTS Member Discount conference + membership
Registration for Conference ONLY:
$65 AFTS Member Discount conference only
$85 Friends of Royal Botanic Garden, or Students
Botanical explorer, natural history author and artist
Cheralyn Darcy will talk to us about the
'Language of Flowers in Fairy Tales'.

Dr. Kate Forsyth (Scholar, storyteller, international bestselling author & 2018 Keynote Speaker): “Edward Burne-Jones’s obsession with ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and the motif of the rose”
Her novel Beauty in Thorns is the story of Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones’s obsession with the Sleeping Beauty fairy-tale and the symbolic meaning of flowers, e.g. 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 will perform the tale of Katie Crackernuts.

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? Follow Christine, Robyn and Phillippa down a wonderland ‘rabbit hole’ as they explore the impact of transplanting traditional tales into new natural environments: the garden, the bush, the island. They'll present a dialogue (trialogue?) that questions the effect of various natural settings on mannerisms, behaviour and appearance of characters in retold/ adapted fairy tales and mythologies.

What if this small press shifted its focus to
forgotten tales from folklore and fairy-tale retellings?
Monique Mulligan, Editorial Director of
tells a story of serendipity and shares upcoming projects.
Graham Ross (Storyteller & Historian):  “The Australian Fairy Tale Princess” - the story of a nameless Australian Princess, orally performed (not read).
It is intended to be historically allusive, yet told in a fairy tale genre (i.e. palace, royal garden, fairy godparents, magic), and aims to deepen interest in the life and 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 Fairy Ring in South Australia. He comes from an eclectic background of psychology, teacher education and 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, which present as a ring of darker grass, or dead grass, or mushrooms (Rutter 60). Its presence in folklore is more convoluted. It can mean a trap, luring unsuspecting mortals; or a portal to a magical world, protection or fortune. This academic paper explores the fairy ring in folktales, art and literature. It will break down elements intrinsic to this phenomenon — magical, scientific, symbolic — to explain why the fairy ring captivates imaginations. [Rutter, Gordon. “Fairy Rings”. Field Mycology 3.2 (2002): 56-60. ScienceDirect. Web. 15 Jan. 2018.] Natalie is a doctoral candidate with the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University. Her thesis focuses on symbols and personifications of death in literature.

What is the point of the garden, the bush, the landscape
in folktales? Christine, Robyn and Phillippa explore the
impact of transplanting traditional tales into new
natural environments: the garden, the bush, the island.
Helen Hopcroft (Manager of Frank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre): “Rapunzel and Spinach”
FFFTT is a portable puppet theatre in Maitland, telling traditional fairy tales in new ways for contemporary families. 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, it’ll take you on a magical journey into imagination! 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.

Cheralyn Darcey (Botanical Explorer, Natural History Author and Artist): “The Language of Flowers
in Fairy Tales”
Thumbelina was born in a Tulip. In the Language of Flowers, this blossom speaks of
desires, yet warns of being swept away with inclinations of others. Keeping the language of flowers alive is an oral folklore tradition for learning plant usage for food, building materials, rituals, medicine and creativity along with growing cycles or dangers of poisons, illustrating concepts to advance happy, healthy, sociable lives. We’ll explore the botanical history of flowers, their meanings and how they relate to Fairy Tales. Cheralyn Darcey is a botanical explorer, organic gardener and internationally published author and illustrator of titles focused on the enthnobotanical qualities of plants, especially flowers. She has a regular segment on ABC Radio, ‘Flower of the Fortnight’.

Morgan Bell will teach us how to Interpret Evil Plants.
'Sproutlings: A Compendium of Little Fictions' constructs new
plant-based fables and folklore; and anthropomorphising botanical malice.
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 resilient Tardigrade, one of Planet Earth's most tenacious creatures, likely to outlive all our anthropogenic catastrophes. Hear 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 any 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 a cosmic catastrophe. Liz Locksley is founder of Thrive Story exploring narratives about love for life that works creatively with complexity, conflict and upheaval.

Morgan Bell (Writer): “Interpreting Evil Plants” (discussion, book launch)
In 2016 Morgan published an anthology Sproutlings: A Compendium of Little Fictions. She asked authors to write flash fiction on the theme of wicked weeds. They interpreted the challenge referencing Greek, Cornish, and Welsh myths; constructing new plant-based fables and folklore; and anthropomorphising botanical malice. The anthology compares these new works to classics from Poe, Lawson, Orwell, Lawrence, Wells, Alcott, and Wilde. Morgan Bell is an author and editor. Her works include Sniggerless Boundulations, Laissez Faire and Sproutlings. She is a technical writer, member of the Newcastle Shakespeare Society, and teacher of creative writing at U3A. Her story ‘Midnight Daisy’ was awarded a Story Commendation by the She: True Stories project, with readings on 1233 ABC Newcastle and 2014 Newcastle Writers Festival. She has written many other award-winning stories.

Natalie Phillips' academic paper will explore the
use of the fairy ring in selected folktales, art,
and literature. It will break down key elements intrinsic
to this phenomenon — the magical, the scientific, and the symbolic.
Marianna Shek and Leila Honari (author & illustrator respectively): “The Silk Road - Cultivating a Hybrid Garden”
The creative journey behind The Stolen Button picture book, a fairy tale on the Silk Road. They will discuss development behind the book with 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 leads 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.

Monique Mulligan, Lorena Carrington & Kate Forsyth
tell the story behind the creation of
Vasilisa the Wise & Other Tales of Brave Young Women
at this year's conference.
Monique Mulligan (Editorial Director of Serenity Press): “Growing beautiful stories: Keeping the
flame alive”
Serenity Press is an 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 the Stories on Stage programme in Perth and journalist, Monique published Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women in 2017, feminist fairy-tales retold by Kate Forsyth, illustrated by Lorena Carrington*. These tales of female courage and cleverness, an antidote to the assumption that classic fairy-tales feature passive princesses. Set in forests, secret gardens and wild seashores, they contain motifs inspired by 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.

*Exhibitors include several visual artists, among them one of our panelists Lorena Carrington, a photographic artist and illustrator with an interest in lost and forgotten fairy tales. Her work delves deeply into themes around life and death, good and evil, created from her garden and surrounding landscape. Other exhibitors or participating visual artists include Debra Phillips, Erin-Claire Barrow and Spike Deane.

Considering the garden location of the conference chosen for this year's theme, are there any venue specific presentations? Yes! From noon to 2pm, various venues will host free events focusing on the conference’s theme. These include presentations exploring the relationship between nature and magic within the Australian landscape. The diverse program offers activities for all-ages such as puppetry by Frank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre, garden tours, and an interactive presentation on ‘The Language of Flowers in Fairy Tales’. The enchanting Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney will be host to bookstalls, exhibitions, and a quilting display with a fairy tale motif, handcrafted by members of fairy rings from various states and territories. Conference presentations (papers, performances, panels & more) follows for registered guests. 

The Australian Fairy Tale Society is a national not-for-profit community of writers,
academics, artists, and performers dedicated to exploring, reinterpreting, and creating fairy tales through Australian perspectives. 

It’s $25 to join the Australian Fairy Tale Society. Annual membership benefits include free
participation in fairy tale rings, exclusive access to our Ezine, Reading Refs and Points to Ponder,
discounts, participation in creative projects or contests, and networking with fairy tale enthusiasts in
a highly interdisciplinary, intergenerational, intercultural, inclusive ethos. Welcome!

To register or become a member:
Official website:
NOTE: All official graphics for the 2018 AFTS Conference (seen here) were created by the talented Spike Deane!

1 comment:

  1. Very informative with just the right to keep you wanting to read more, well done!!
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