And they all lived happily ever after…


I’m afraid the time has finally come… the closing of the Monash Fairy Tale Salon. Very sad, we know!

The Salon was founded in 2009 by Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario and Wiebke Eikholt. For the majority of its time, the Salon was co-run by Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario, Dr Belinda Calderone, and Catherine Snell. But now, all organisers are no longer affiliated with Monash University – so we must bid you adieu!

All we can say is that it’s been a magical eight years of meetings at Monash University, Clayton, and we will never forget the three community events we ran during our time. Thank you to all who participated in the Salon and those who attended our community events. A special thank you goes to the Glen Eira Council, who hosted several of our events at their lovely Glen Eira Town Hall.

Where to now? Well, many of the Salon members can still be found having lots of fascinating fairy tale discussions at the Australian Fairy Tale Society. We hope you will pay them a visit!

Farewell and enchanted regards xo



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Don’t Forget to Register!

Hello fairy tale enthusiasts!

Just a quick reminder to register for the 4th annual Australian Fairy Tale Society conference coming up in June.

This year, the theme is: “So Many Mattresses: Truth, Reality, Fiction On A European Bed”

Don’t you just love it??

View all the details here.

Enchanted regards,
Belinda Calderone
The Monash Fairy Tale Salon

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Book Review: Advice from Pigeons



Review of Advice from Pigeons, a novel by Patricia S. Bowne (Double Dragon Publishing)   

Advice from Pigeons, A Royal Academy at Osyth Novel by Patricia S. Bowne, is a welcome addition to the genre of urban fantasy.

Bowne’s humour leaps forth with a notion that dismembering a demon is the best way to get out of heading a Demonology Department: ‘Only two administrators had left that way.’ And later: ‘A demon alone was trouble enough. An affectionate demon was worse.’ Slip in a few banshee screams, a sprinkle of imps or brownies (the kind that stuff cockatrices instead of milking cows), or a spiffy collective noun: ‘a gaggle of nurses by the elevator’, and we’re good to go.

All the better that the central action is set in a pentarium, within a College of Magic. Set in the city of Osyth, the pentarium is financially in thrall to the International Demonological Association that funds its maintenance, in exchange for its hosting of demon conjuring for the purpose of study. There’s even a Guild of Alchemy and a Bank of Mammon – of course!

Among the novel’s attributes is Bowne’s knowledge of magic arts, apparent at the outset. If you share my interest in the kind of job where people casually pull scrying bags out of briefcases or submit papers about incubi in ducks, this tale is for you.

There’s a hint of magic-realism: ‘A black piglet appeared from nowhere and trotted past him, its hooves spattering so close to the lines that Rho caught it up and held it, kicking and nipping, out of harm’s way against his chest.’ From golems to ghosts, and gowns to grimoire, this is magick with whipped cream.

Bowne queries the retreat of academia into its own ranks:

‘Vampires, ghouls and incubi roamed the city… and where was Demonology? Here, fighting over prestige… While wizards built the skyscrapers… and sorcerers cured its businessmen of their ailments, magicians sulked in their castle as if the very existence of a mundane world insulted them.’

Perhaps our cities need such participation, notwithstanding there is a counter call for our universities to maintain integrity from encroaching demands of industry and the edicts of corporate managerialism. Bowne doesn’t balk at satirical allegory. In this caper, academics vie for publication space in nasty journals, regard time on the podium as a chance to attack each other’s research, and become embroiled in magewars at conferences, e.g. when a demon ploughs through someone’s wards to rip him apart.

I also like the recognition by one of the characters, James, that being classist might be more annoying than being sexist. Another chap, Russell – a language magician – expresses what I’ve sometimes disliked about literary theory: ‘We’ll end up with no magic at all… When we’ve studied all the words, broken all the way out of our conditioning into rational analysis, what will we use to call the magic up in ourselves?’

Reading about demon-warding in this e-book was a pleasing synchronicity, as I was reading about wards in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle in parallel.

I have two quibbles. The first is excessive use of prepositions in the opening, such as ‘up’ – a minor flaw. Of more concern is the plethora of characters, but admittedly I have the same criticism of Alan Garner’s fantasy classic, The Owl Service, which, like Advice from Pigeons, brims with dialogue. A high number of speakers warrants distinctiveness for each voice, whether it be by dialect, tone, lingo, or another distinguishing quirk. A cast can then be reduced by combining any surplus characters who seem interchangeable. In Bowne’s tale, abundance of characters hasn’t subdued the magnetism of the protagonists, chiefly Harim Rho. His  ambivalent nature (more feline than human) suits his personality; he has learned the language of animals, and is well acquainted with the habits of alley cats. As an ailurophile, I find Rho intriguing.

Expression is savvy, chic and arresting, as in this probing alliterative question: ‘Or would he find himself trapped inside whatever he had recklessly entered—a tree or a tapeworm?’ Or these gorgeous lines: ‘The pentarium at the Royal Academy of the Arcane Arts and Sciences lay below ground in a cavern under the Magic Building, dug into the ley-line itself and humming with power’; ‘Syllables beat against one another like waves at cross purposes or birds fighting in midair’; a pigeon’s wings are ‘blowing snow crystals up in a swirl’.

My favourite passage makes eerie, terrifying sense, as a description not only of a disembodied spirit separated from its body, but also, of mental conditions such as anxiety or distraction, the kind that haunts our exhibitionist, petty, materialistic era:

‘This was loneliness. Not an empty void, not silence, not solitude. Lonely was a busy place, where every passing thought looked into Russell’s face and made sport of him, and nothing was to be learned from any of them. An endless crowd of thoughts surrounded him, pushing in on every side, the detritus of a life’s idle fancies, and Russell had no eyes to shut against them, no ears to stop. The mental chatter he had kept up all his life filled him now.’

With insights like this, Advice from Pigeons deserves to be wrested from cyberspace and fully embodied in the incarnation of print, as one hopes Warren’s soul finds reconciliation with his body, or demons with alchemists, or Rho with his talents. But for now, you can get the ebook edition here.

Bowne shows verisimilitude in world-building, felicity with imagery, and knowledge of magic. Recommended for readers of urban fantasy, magic-realism and upbeat fairy tales.

Author: Patricia S. Bowne
Patricia is the author of a wide variety of fantasy stories and the Royal Academy at Osyth series, novels and stories set in the Demonology Department of a modern University of Magic. For details of more Royal Academy novels and short stories, visit her website

Reviewer: Louisa John-Krol
Louisa is an enchanting and treasured Monash Fairy Tale Salon member. Find out more about her at her website, and read more of her reviews at the Victorian Fairy Tale Ring blog.



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Program for the 2016 AFTS Conference

Good morning to all the fairy tale lovers out there,

In case you haven’t read some of our earlier posts, this year we are teaming up with the Australian Fairy Tale Society to bring you the third annual conference for the Australian Fairy Tale Society. It’s fast approaching (26 June) and the program has just been released – woo! You’ll find all the details on the AFTS website here.

There’s such a wonderful mix of presentations this year – it’s sure to be a great day!

Also, remember that registrations are open online: visit the Conference Registration page here.

Enchanted regards,
Dr Belinda Calderone
Monash Fairy Tale Salon


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CFP: A Special Fairy Tale Edition of TEXT

I’m excited to announce that I’m collaborating with two wonderful academics, Dr Nike Sulway and Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario, to produce a special fairy tale edition of the scholarly journal TEXT. And we are now calling for submissions! All details below:


Into the Bush: Australasian Fairy Tales
A Special Issue of TEXT
Editors: Dr Nike Sulway, Dr Rebecca Anne Do Rozario,
Dr Belinda Calderone

The fairy tale has a long tradition in both oral and literary forms. Indeed, recently Sara da Silva and Jamshid Tehrani have argued, using a phylogenetic analysis of tales in the Aarne Thompson Uther (ATU) index, that some of the tales still told today ‘can be securely traced back to … between 2500 and 6000 years ago’ (8). Such an ancient tradition has left its mark across a range of literary traditions, including those of Australasia. While old and gnarled, the fairy tale is also alive and well, informing contemporary literary practice across a range of forms and genres, in works written for both children and adults.

This Special issue of TEXT, developed in association with the Australian Fairy Tale Society, responds to the challenge of honouring the long-lived traditions of the fairy tale in the Australasian context, of exploring and expanding our understanding of fairy tales and their tellers in a postcolonial context.

This issue seeks to reflect on Australasia’s unique creative and scholarly contributions to this long-lived genre, and seeks submissions that address the growing interest in fairy tale narratives across a range of platforms, particularly those stories set in and around Australasia.

Submissions may address, but are not limited to, the following:
 Writing about fairy tales and their tellers
 Fairy tales in the Australasian landscape/context
 Fairy tales in the colonial and postcolonial context
 Appropriations and adaptations
 Gender, sexuality and the fairy tale
 Teaching and learning about fairy tales
 Tale types and tropes: critical discussions of the ATU and Propp models, of Dundes’s motifemes or similar schemas
 Other relevant topics and issues

Scholarly papers should be no more than 6000 words in length. Creative works will usually be up to 3,500 words in length, or as agreed by editors.

Creative work must be accompanied by an ERA research statement that clearly explains the submission’s relevance as a research outcome. Peruse any of TEXT journal’s Creative Writing as Research special issues to familiarise yourself with research statements.

Please also contact us with ideas for book reviews.

Please include a brief biography (200 words max, in TEXT style) and ensure that you include your email address for reply. Submissions MUST be in TEXT style and formatting. Please see for submission guidelines.

Deadline for initial submission: July 29, 2016
Final revised submissions will be due: September 15, 2016
Publication date: April, 2017
Email:,, or

Enchanted regards,
Dr Belinda Calderone
Monash Fairy Tale Salon


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My Fairy Tale Seminar Next Thurs

Belinda Calderone - Photo


Hello fairy tale lovers!

Just a quick note to say that I’ll be giving a seminar on fairy tales next week in Melbourne and everyone is welcome!

For all the details, see the PDF flyer:

Childrens Literature and Culture Seminar 24 March 2016

And remember to RSVP to:

An enchanted week to you all,

Dr Belinda Calderone
Monash Fairy Tale Salon




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The 2016 Australian Fairy Tale Society Conference

I have exciting news!

The official Call for Presentations is out for the third annual conference of the Australian Fairy Tale Society. (I may be more excited than others, being the President, but still!)

Here are the details:

When: Sunday, 26 June 2016

Where: Glen Eira Town Hall, Caulfield, VIC, 3162.

The CFP is now officially open, and will close at 5pm on Friday, 29 January 2016. See the call for papers below, or download a PDF version here: AFTS 2016 Conference – CFP.


Australian Fairy Tale Society – 2016 Conference

Call for Presentations – Into the Bush: Its Beauty and Its Terror

‘Into the Woods,’ is a phrase that has become closely linked to the fairy tale genre. It conjures up all manner of fairy tale images, such as roguish wolves waiting behind trees and lost children stumbling upon gingerbread houses.

But how does it translate into the Australian fairy tale tradition? For our third annual conference, we will be exploring what happens when we venture… ‘Into the Bush.’ Australian fairy tales reflect many of the realities of the bush, while also reimagining it as a space of magic and mystery. Whether it is depicted as real or otherworldly, the bush always encompasses duality – it is a place of both beauty and terror.

We are now accepting proposals for storytelling performances, musical performances, academic papers, and creative readings. We would also love to hear from artists wishing to display and/or sell their works at the conference.

Presentation topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Into the unknown
  • Getting lost, getting found
  • Native flora and fauna
  • Environmental concerns
  • Drought and fire
  • Elements of nature: earth, wind, fire, water
  • Urban and rural
  • The bush as sexual metaphor
  • Fear and danger in the bush
  • Secrets and hidden treasures
  • Havens, homes and holes in the ground
  • A place to breathe in: spiritual nourishment
  • National identity and our relationship to the bush
  • Tales of colonisation
  • Culture clash, culture meld
  • A fork in the road
  • The bush as a liminal space
  • Making your own path
  • Following tracks
  • Blazing trails and dropping breadcrumbs
  • Survival kits (including a storyteller’s swag bag)
  • Stories like wildfire
  • The wildness of stories (and their seeding)
  • Changing nature and ‘the changing nature’ of the Australian bush and the stories we tell there
  • When European fairies and tales re-root themselves in the bush
  • The changing landscape of fairy tales and tellings in Australia

Academic papers will be up to 20 minutes in duration and performances and readings will be up to 15 minutes in duration. All presentations will be offered the option of 10 additional minutes of question time.

Please email your proposal of no more than 200 words to by 5pm Friday January 29, 2016.


Enchanted regards,
Dr Belinda Calderone
Monash Fairy Tale Salon

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Academia Meets the Occult

Good afternoon fairy-tale enthusiasts!

A little while back I reviewed a collection of folk tales from Nordland Publishing. Though not directly related to fairy tales, my interest was piqued again when Nordland Publishing mentioned a new book to me in which academia intersects with the occult. Having been involved in the academic world since 2003, I couldn’t resist!

So I was sent a copy of The Guardian: Blood in the Sand by MJ Kobernus, the first instalment of The Guardian series.




It’s the story of an ordinary academic named Philip Entwhistle. You can’t help but love this unlikely hero – a boyish and bookish historian, who’s office is a mess, and who frequently falls asleep at his laptop.

But one minute he’s plodding along with the usual business of research, and the next his investigations are leading him into a world of witches, spells, djinn, romance, and magical visions of the past. It’s about time academia got a bit sexy and mysterious, am I right?

There were a few moments when I wished that there was a bit of magic to help me along in academia. In one scene, Philip awakes from a dream to find that he’s somehow written 7,000 words of his research manuscript without even realising it. Why couldn’t that have happened during my PhD?? Anyone else have major research envy here?

There were a few nice touches in this book. I let out a little squeal of delight when I realised that together the chapter titles form a poem! I also enjoyed the quotes that opened each chapter – from Shakespeare, to Kierkegaard, to the Arabian Nights.

Of course, the book ends with a little bit of a cliffhanger to prepare for the next instalment, The Guardian: Blood in the Snow. I must admit, I’ve gotten a little attached to dear Mr Entwhistle, so I look forward to seeing how things turn out for him.

If you’d like to read The Guardian: Blood in the Sand, you can get a copy here.


Enchanted regards,
Dr Belinda Calderone
Monash Fairy Tale Salon




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Book Review – Seven Tales by G.C. McRae

Seven Tales - McRae


A few weeks ago I received my review copy of Seven Tales – a collection of seven original tales by G.C. McRae, written in the classic style of authors like Anderson and the Grimms. And I was excited to see that it was personally signed…


Seven Tales - Signed


… what a nice touch! I’ve read many twentieth- and twenty-first-century revisions of classic fairy and folk tales – often dark or ironic inversions. But it was nice to read original tales written in the style of those classic tales. It reminded me of when I was growing up and my Mum would read me a fairy tale I hadn’t heard before.

In McRae’s collection you will find many familiar tropes, including queens afraid of ageing, children given away at birth,  predatory wolves, and women kissing frogs. Yet, at the same time, the tales bring freshness and energy. These original tales are charming and laced with humour. I giggled quite a few times at the sometimes unexpected witty insertions!

McRae’s tales are mostly light-hearted, though every now and then there is an unexpected element of tragedy, like a devastated king who believes that his daughter has been transfigured into a wooden doll and spends years trying to turn her back into flesh and blood. (I may have gotten slightly teary!)

Standout tales for me were ‘The Sneaking Girl and the Other Queen,’ in which a workaholic queen learns how to have fun, and ‘The Dollmaker’s Daughter,’ in which an overbearing father must eventually come to realise that he must allow his daughter some freedom.

Seven Tales is one of those collections perfect to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon. Get a copy here.


Enchanted regards,
Dr Belinda Calderone


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Modern Fairy Tales

Snow Modern

Photo via


Good morning fairy talers!

Just a quick post to let you know that Writers Victoria announced December’s Fairy Tale edition of The Victorian Writer on their website. Their title is: “Modern Fairy Tales”.

Fairy tales are really booming in popular culture at the moment, and there have been countless modern adaptations in literature, graphic novels, film and television in the last few years, so it’s a great time for this edition. Go ahead and send a proposal in!

Enchanted regards,
Belinda Calderone



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