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Happily ever after

16 January 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Fairy tale competition leads to publication for UCLan writers

A collection of dark and bewitching adult fairy tales written by staff and students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is on sale in popular UK book shops.

The Red Rose Book of Fairy Tales is the latest publication from UCLan Publishing, UCLan’s own University press, and contains a selection of nine short adult fairy tales written by a cross section of staff and students from across the University. 

The wannabe writers will see their work in print in large book shops such as Waterstones and Blackwells after a competition set by Helen Day, who was Course Leader for the MA Publishing last year, prompted them to put pen to paper and come up with either an original story or a new twist on an old tale.

The best submissions have been edited by students on the University’s MA Publishing course who also had to select the order and lay out the design, allowing them to learn valuable technical skills as well as how the writer-publisher partnership works.

Senior Lecturer in Children's Literature and Course Leader for the MA Writing for Children course Helen Day commented: “This project reveals the incredible talents of our staff and students.  The stories chosen for The Red Rose Book of Fairy Tales are dark, sensual, disturbing and bewitching.  Contrary to popular belief, fairy tales are not always aimed at children, indeed the earliest oral folk versions were told to adults.

“As these contributors come from almost every school in the University it just goes to show that you never know who has a secret writing talent and is waiting for such a competition to reveal themselves.”

“As these contributors come from almost every school in the University it just goes to show that you never know who has a secret writing talent and is waiting for such a competition to reveal themselves.”

Kathy Bullough from the School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education wrote an original fairy tale entitled ‘The Willow Tree’ which includes themes of abandonment, forgiveness and hope.

She said: “I’ve written all of my life for friends and family but fairy tales is a new genre for me. I’ve found the experience both fascinating and exciting and jumped at the opportunity as soon as I heard about the competition. It’s a great feeling to see my work in print.”

Colleague Barbara Brown has recently retired from UCLan after working as a Principal Lecturer supporting Dentistry. Taking part in the competition was Barbara’s first attempt at writing a short story.

She commented: “My tale was a modern twist on the story of Aladdin. I’ve always wanted to have a go at writing and this competition gave me the push I needed. It’s been useful to work alongside the MA Publishing students who gave constructive feedback and boosted my confidence.”

“Anyone who reads The Red Rose Book of Fairy Tales is sure to enjoy these stories and also be sent back to the originals, the ancient thorny plants from which have sprung such sweet-smelling new red rosebuds.”

The forward was written by Adèle Geras who is a UCLan fellow and bestselling author of books for young children, young adults and adults, in particular Happy Ever After, a beautiful retelling of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.

As Adèle’s forward makes clear, there is something about fairy tales that endures and that sparks the imagination of writers. She praises the publishing students for ensuring that readers are presented with a varied and challenging selection.

“Anyone who reads The Red Rose Book of Fairy Tales,” she writes, ‘is sure to enjoy these stories and also be sent back to the originals, the ancient thorny plants from which have sprung such sweet-smelling new red rosebuds.”

Contributors to the book include Andrew Phillimore, a postgraduate taking the MA Writing for Children course; recent graduate in Fine Art Faye Spencer; Ian Crook, Senior Lecturer in Media Production; Barbara Brown, Kathy Bullough, Amy Binns, Senior Lecturer in Journalism; Jon Aveyard, Composer and Lecturer in Music Practice; and Cathy Lennon, a Research Projects Assistant in Health who has now become a full-time writer, due to her successful in this and other competitions.

The book’s cover was designed by Claire Geddes as a professional commission. For inspiration she used an original photograph taken by UCLan photography students as part of the Letters to Africa project.

UCLan Publishing is the University’s own publishing house and offers students the chance to work in a real publishing environment which produces commercial books for sale on the open market. The facility has already published children’s book Letters to Africa and Lancashire Cooking: Braises, Bakes, Puddings and Cakes: Treats from a Lancashire Oven.

The Red Rose Book of Fairly Tales is available to buy in popular UK book stores and online.

For more information about UCLan Publishing or the MA Publishing contact the Head of UCLan Publishing Debbie Williams on DJWilliams1@uclan.ac.uk. For more information on the MA Writing for Children contact Helen Day HFDay@uclan.ac.uk