Writing on Wednesday: Fairy Tale Reboots

Another panel I recently attended was ‘Once Upon A(nother) Time: Fairy Tales Retold.  Here’s the authors and a bit of what they talked about.


Danielle Paige wrote the Dorothy Must Die series and the television show Hemlock. She was the moderator of the panel and made sure all the authors had a crown or tiara. I had two chances to get her autograph, and both times chickened out because she was on her way somewhere, and there was a moment of eye contact and hesitation like she was silently asking “Did you want me to sign that,” and I missed both windows :(. She was very casual, very laid back, and very entertaining.


E.K Johnston wrote A Thousand Nights, as did Renee Ahdieh. Not co-wrote. They both rewrote the same fairy tale, which made putting them on the same panel kind of odd? I mean, if it was a Thousand Nights panel, that would be one thing, lots of different perspectives, but it was like everyone else on the panel had written about different fairy tales or approached it in a different way, and then there were these two authors, one from the culture that produced the fairy tale, one not, and I think she felt that. I think it made it hard for her to answer questions without feeling like she was stepping on any toes. It would have been like having the writer of Descendants and The School of Good and Evil at the same panel. They’re in direct competition.But maybe they aren’t, I don’t know. I haven’t read either book so they may be entirely different.

One thing I really noticed at the conference was how much I HAVEN’T read. In most circles, I can kind of pride myself on being on top of new releases and familiar with most books. Here, I was in a completely new league. For every author I knew absolutely everything about, there were three I’d been *meaning* to get to, but there’s so many books! So little time. Makes me wonder what else I’ve been missing out on.


Marissa Meyer is famous for her Lunar Chronicles, which I absolutely love. I really wanted to get her autograph, but she said she was on her way to another panel, so I didn’t get a chance to :(. She didn’t say much during the panel, which was a shame because I’m really interested in her perspective. She wrote such an amazing and interesting series.

Lockhart wrote We were Liars and has a fantasy anthology coming out next year. I haven’t read her book, but she had a wry humor which I definitely appreciated, so now I need to add her story to my TBR pile.


Soman Chainani wrote “The School for Good and Evil,” which I actually have checked out from my library right now. He was very anti-disney, and bashed The Little Mermaid, which I hated him for, and Pan, which I loved him for.

Seriously. Pan. I’ve never been so angry when watching a movie. That wasn’t Peter Pan! There’s an origin story for Peter Pan in Little White Bird, this didn’t just contradict everything ABOUT the source material, it changed Peter’s character into someone uncertain and scared and that’s NEVER been Peter. I liked the idea of making Hook and Peter friends but they failed to deliver because they weren’t each other’s foils. They were caricatures picked up from another story. And I’m not even going to go into TigerLily. Ugh.



Renee Ahdieh wrote The Wrath and the Dawn, which is also based on A Thousand and One Nights. I remember seeing her cover making the rounds before her book came out and thinking it was amazing. I’ll definitely be adding it to my TBR pile along with Johnston’s version.
I found it interesting the different impact that fairy tales had on the author’s growing up. Chainani and Lockhart were exposed to the Grimm versions and the darker versions from a young age and kind of resented the sugar coating of those tales, whereas Johnston and the others were raised with the disney versions like myself and were willing to fight to the death to defend them. Personally, I’m a fan of both. Enjoy the magic when you’re little and revel in the darkness as you grow. There’s a lot of layers to fairy tales. Let them mean different things to different people. There’s always going to be something that resonates.

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