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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy

(I've just found out about this and had to post something straight away!) The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy is a new and incredibly exciting project which intends to 'focus on the importance of fairy tales as a creative force both in literature and culture.'

Here's some information from their website:

The Centre will provide a forum where writers and scholars from various disciplines can discuss folk narratives, fairy tales and fantasy works, both as independent ‘genres’ (the literary fantastic, for example, may not always have obvious folk- or fairy-tale motifs), and also in terms of the resonances and dissonances between them, and other cultural forms.

Although the scope of the project is geographically and culturally inclusive, the founding impulse for the Centre is related to the specific locale of Sussex and its surrounding region. This area is rich in examples of all three kinds of narrative, ranging from folk narratives of various kinds, through literary fairy tales written in, as well as about, Sussex (for example, by George MacDonald and Eleanor Farjeon), to major works of fantasy and myth by Sussex residents such as MacDonald (Phantastes), David Lindsay (A Voyage to Arcturus), Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast) and Neil Gaiman (Stardust).

While the project is situated in Sussex, its planned scope is not only national but also international, bringing together writers and scholars, as well as publishing and curating scholarly resources, from around the globe.

The centre is being directed by Bill Gray, Professor of Literary History and Hermeneutics at the University of Chichester, and the advisory board includes a fantastic number of the most important fairy tale scholars working in the world today (including Cristina Bacchilega, Marina Warner, and Jack Zipes).

The project is going to create an online, multilingual, multi-authored, annotated bibliographic index consisting of links to primary sources of folktales, fairy tales and fantasy works available in the public domain, as well as to secondary sources for scholarly discussion on these subjects.

There will also be events, including a symposium to mark the centenary of author and illustrator Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) in 2011, and an international conference on ‘Folklore, Fairy Tales and the Fantastic Imagination’ in 2012, to celebrate the bicentenary of the publication of the Grimm Brothers’ Children’s and Household Tales.

Planned publications include an online newsletter and journal, and there is a Folktales mailing list, which is going to be used to facilitate interdisciplinary discussion of folktales, fairy tales and fantasy literature. Contributions can include research enquiries as well information about relevant publications and events.

So although the centre is physically based in Sussex it will bring benefits to fairy tale lovers worldwide. Make sure you visit their site to find out more.


  1. Sounds brilliant Claire, just had a peep around their website, very exciting project! :)

  2. Could Sussex be the 21st century fairytale centre of excellence?