South of the Sun is an anthology of Australian Fairy Tales, produced by the Australian Fairy Tale Society in partnership with Serenity Press, an Australian independent specialist publisher of the literary folklore/fairy tale genre.
The Australian Fairy Tale Society is a group of passionate, talented writers, illustrators, storytellers and scholars interested in fairy tales. The sub-committee producing this anthology consists of former BBC producer, writer Gabi Brown; multi-published illustrator Lorena Carrington; author and scholar Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario; Cassandra and The Dark Poet author Kathryn Gossow; writer and indie musician Louisa John-Krol; and fearless leader and writer, Patsy Poppenbeek
The project received funding from the AFTS but we also ran a successful crowdfunding campaign on Pozible where we exceeded our target early and even surpassed stretch goals.
Through stories, flash fiction, poetry and illustrations we have produced an inventive, intercultural new Australian fairy tales for young adults and older fantasy readers.
What is a fairy tale? As Rebecca-Anne C. Do Rozario says, ‘Once upon a time, the people tried to define fairy tale. They are still trying. The truth is, like all storytelling, the form and nature of the fairy tale is changeable. The roots of fairy tale reach deep into the past of myths, legends, and old wives’ tales … not all fairy tales feature fairies. Fairy tales can include magic, supernatural creatures, metamorphosis, happy endings, true love, superstitions, swordfights, crossdressing, and even morals, but there are no rules and no definitive claims on authenticity.’
What is an Australian Fairy Tale? We set out to challenge the assumption that fairy tales are for children, are European, and must contain fairies and pale, passive heroines. But what makes a story an Australian fairy tale?’ First and foremost, it is quite distinct from Indigenous storytelling, and we have been careful not to appropriate sacred Dreaming. The colonial settlers brought with them their tales and traditions and later authors brought in elements of Australian landscape, flora and fauna. Today Australia has a diverse population from many different cultures. Our fairy tales reflect this and our authors have backgrounds which include Vietnam, Africa, Sri Lanka, Britain, Europe, Indonesia, China, Iran, Papua New Guinea and Indigenous
Our fairy tales are set partially or entirely on this continent, and all have a distinctly Australian atmosphere, whether expressed through wildlife, cuisine, language, historical events, climate, topography or humour. There is also a contemporary edge. Even those few tales set in earlier times nevertheless carry a modern sensibility that places them in the 21st century. Additionally, we wanted to help retrieve the fairy tale from the nursery to which people of the Victorian era had allocated it, so we specified that we wanted tales for grown-ups: young adult and above.
As Rebecca-Anne says, ‘The question, in the end, is less what is a fairy tale and more … what can a fairy tale be?’
So here we are.