Recently, we received an e-mail from a reader who wrote the following:
I received a note from an agent today saying: ‘…Nor do I think harking back to one of the oldest fairytales of all time . . . is right for contemporary fantasy readers.’ To give this comment context, one of my characters escaped with the help of a genie. Just like Aladdin. The genie had a direct context within the novel and returns in a further novel. I am surprised at this agent’s belief, because I can think of some of my favourite fantasy writers who use fairytale, sometimes directly, sometimes with a slant. It is perhaps as logical as it can be. Was not literature in the first instance legend, then fairytale and then by extension fantasy? I was wondering if you were interested in opening this up for a discussion in the future with some of your excellent published writers.
It was a great question, and deserved a great answer. Or two. So we asked our resident fantasy authors Sophie Masson and Juliet Marillier to share their perspectives — and they had a lot to say about it! Below is Sophie’s response. We’ll have Juliet weigh in at a later post. Enjoy!
Fairytales, from European, Asian and Arabic traditions, have always been a rich source of inspiration for me, and those of my books for young people that are based on fairytale elements seem to have struck the strongest chord with readers. And that includes books which have been set in contemporary times! [Read more…]