Last night I squeezed into the presentation room at the University of Arizona Poetry Center to hear a fabulous reading from the anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales. It was a great turnout, there were even people standing outside in the cold during the whole reading (I’m assuming there is a speaker out there.)
The event was moderated by the book’s editor, Kate Bernheimer. Bernheimer charmed the audience with her wit and candor and talked about the genesis of the book before she read her piece from the anthology. She was followed by authors Kathryn Davis, Lydia Millet, and Joy Williams each reading a work of their own including an original interpretation of the Russian classic Baba Yaga and an update of the Grimm Borthers’ Snow White and Red Rose. During the Q&A Bernheimer defined a fairy tale by saying, “when you hear it you know.”
The audience was asked what their favorite fairy tales were. One person answered the Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde. I didn’t know he wrote any so I looked up them up and you can read some at Art Passions.
The fairy tale lives again in these forty new stories by some of the biggest names in contemporary fiction:
Indibound (a website for independent bookstores) says, “Fairy tales are our oldest literary tradition, and yet they chart the imaginative frontiers of the twenty-first century as powerfully as they evoke our earliest encounters with literature. This exhilarating collection restores their place in the literary canon.”