2023 AFTS Award Winner!

The Australian Fairy Tale Society is thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2023 AFTS Award for outstanding contributions to the field of fairy tales in Australia is Shirley Way.

Shirley Way has contributed immensely to the fairy tale community in so many ways over so many years – as former eZine editor, initiator of the podcast series (to be found on the AFTS youtube channel), member of the Brisbane Fairy Tale Ring, hardworking, skilled, and insightful Committee member, co-organiser of the AFTS conferences in 2020 and 2023, as well as captain of the hugely successful 2022 conference in Brisbane.

Congratulations Shirley!

Against a stained glass background which is part of the award, is a framed image of Shirley Way facing left, smiling, with honey coloured wavy hair.

Shirley’s co-nominees were:

Sophie Masson

This year, Sophie – with previous winner Lorena Carrington – launched a small indie publishing company, Pardalote Press, to get their magical stories and artworks out into the world.

Sophie’s book ‘French Fairy Tales’, which is illustrated by Lorena, inspired musician/composer Reilly McCarron to produce a CD, ‘Il était une fois’ (Once upon a time). And these three AFTS members are part of our anthology, ‘South of the Sun: Australian fairy tales for the 21st century’.

Sophie’s tales and passion for fairy tales have inspired art, music and readers around the world. Her body of work includes ‘French Fairy Tales’, ‘Satin’, ‘The Crystal Heart’, ‘Scarlet in the Snow’, ‘Moonlight and Ashes’, ‘The Firebird’, and ‘Hunter’s Moon’.

Spike Deane

An award-winning mixed media artist, specialising in cast glass, Spike draws much of her inspiration from fairy tales, folklore and mythology. Her prolific contributions to Australian fairy tale culture span from the old forests of Europe to engaging with chatbot, and an array of beautiful art in between.

Spike has volunteered her time, energy and skills as the AFTSeZine graphics editor since 2016.

Against a stained glass background, being part of the award, are three headshots labelled Sophie Masson, Spike Deane, and Shirley Way. The title is The 2023 AFTS Annual Award for inspiration and contribution to Australian Fairy Tale Culture nominees are and there is a crowned frog on a tree branch in an oval in the top left corner, being the logo of the Australian Fairy Tale Society.

Key dates for 2023 AFTS Award and Bursary

2023 AFTS Award for Inspiration and Contribution to Australian Fairy Tale Culture

  • Nominate your candidate from April 24 to May 7.
  • The winner will be decided by popular vote between May 8 and May 15.
  • Nominees need not be an AFTS member, however nominators and voters must be current AFTS members.

At the 2023 Sydney Conference, we will again honour, by popular choice the person who has most inspired and contributed to Australian fairy tale culture.

To date, we’ve recognised the very different achievements of Belinda Calderone (2017), Dr Kate Forsyth (2018), Dr Robyn Floyd (2019), Lorena Carrington (2020), Louisa-John Krol (2021) and Jo Henwood (2022). Their names are engraved in our permanent Award, created by Spike Deane.

For 2023, we’re asking for your nominations, from which the finalists will be selected based on their body of work. This will have enduring significance due to its a) originality, b) influence, c) beauty or quality, d) depth of insight and breadth of scope, e) contribution to understanding of Australian fairy tales.

More details about the Award, and previous winners and finalists are here.

2023 Bursary – travel to the NSW conference!

  • The AFTS Executive will make a decision by May 14, 2023, from applications received between April 24 and May 8.

One AFTS bursary is on offer to a current member, who needs assistance to attend our Sydney conference. The bursary will cover a) transport and accommodation costs to $400, and b) a ‘fairy godmother/father’ as conference mentor.

Please note that the bursary holder is responsible for their own registration cost as detailed here. All best. We look forward to seeing you in Sydney!

Welcome, Dr Michelle Smith – our 2023 keynote!

Dr Michelle Smith

Dr Michelle J. Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies at Monash University, where she teaches fairy tales and children’s literature.

She has published research on Australian fairy tales and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in the Victorian era, as well as guest-editing an issue of Marvels & Tales. Michelle is currently writing chapters about fairy tales in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific for The Routledge Companion to Fairy Tales and The Cambridge History of Children’s Literature in English.

She is the author of three academic books and six edited collections on children’s literature and Victorian literature. Two co-edited books will be published in the coming year: Literary Cultures and the Nineteenth-Century Childhoods (Palgrave) and The Edinburgh History of Children’s Periodicals, for which she has written a chapter on fairy tales in St. Nicholas magazine.



Our 2023 conference will be a live event, in Sydney on the weekend of the 24th and 25th June.

We are calling for any and all submissions relating to an Australian interpretation of a fairy tale. Submissions may be sent, by 11pm AEDT, March 11, by using the form via the bit.ly address in the poster.

EDIT: Submissions have now closed. We anticipate releasing the program and registration details in early April.

A poster with a stone wall background subtitled Power with prompts about Power in fairy tales
A poster with a stone wall background with further discussion of Power and new discussion of Place in fairy tales. Images of a witch on a stool, a steaming cauldron, and two fairy tale monsters.
A poster showing a cottage and part of a witch, describing the Australian Fairy Tale Society's aims and inviting proposals for their 2023 conference.
A poster with a stone wall background with subtitle: We Are Looking For and exampls of conference activities, illustrated with a fairy tale monster and a fairy tale castle.
A poster with a stone wall background subtitled Submissions saying submissions are due 28 February 2023, illustrated with a fairy tale monster, a steaming cauldron and a fairy tale cottage..
A poster with a stone wall background subtitled What Happens Next illustrated with fairy tale monstesr and a steaming cauldron.

Announcing Salonline!

Salonline is a new webseries telling the stories of our stories in a whole new way.

Watch the subversive fairy tale writer of the French Salons meet to discuss their scandalous lives and share their latest stories – and read the book, now available on Amazon and Apple Books.

The screen shows headshots of 3 women in elaborate wigs each speaking from salons featuring fine furnishings. On the top left is Charlotte Rose de Caumont de la Force smiling in a lime-shaded salon; on the top righ is Henriette-Julie de Castelnau du Murat looking mischievous in a pink-shaded salon, and on the bottom is Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy beaming from a blue-shaded salon.

Created between August 2021 and September 2022, this original webseries communicates the stories of the origins of the fairy tale genre in the French Fairy Tale Salons of the late 17th century through the fictionalised dramatic lives of the most significant Salonnières: D’Aulnoy, Murat, and De La Force, and their performances of fairy tales they wrote.

Catch up with both well-known and little-known fairy tales and behind-the-scenes gossip on the Salonline AFTS You Tube channel.

Meet our Salonnières –

Against the lime-tinted background of a richly furnished salon, two ornate gilded frames hang. On the left is a photograph of a woman resting her arms on antique furniture, and on the right is a seventeenth century portrait of a woman resting her hands on a harpsichord. The text reads Starring Alyssa Curtayne as Charlotte Rose Caumont de la Force.

Alyssa Curtayne – storyteller, Ring Leader of the Perth Fairy Tale Ring, and academic, currently researching Charlotte Rose Caumont De La Force for her Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Deakin University. Alyssa re-enacts De La Force’s romantic life and performs some of her stories – Green and Blue, Fairer Than a Fairy, The Good Woman, and most famously, Persinette, the story which became known as Rapunzel.

Against the pink-tinted background of a richly furnished salon, two ornate gilded frames hang. On the left is a photograph of a woman in a garden, and on the right is a seventeenth century portrait of a woman in a garden. The text reads Starring Jo Henwood as Henriette-Julie de Murat.

Jo Henwood – storyteller, tour guide, and President, Ring Maiden and co-founder of the Australian Fairy Tale Society, is a museum theatre creative, and workshop leader on literature, history, creative writing, folklore, and storytelling. As Henriette-Julie de Murat, most scandalous of the scandalous Salonnières, she performs The Savage, The Pig King, The Isle of Magnificence, and The Turbot, re-telling these stories, just as Murat retold stories she found in Straparola.

Eliane Morel – writer, actor, producer, and singer of cabaret and opera, continues to perform her award-winning show ‘Disenchanted: A Cabaret of Twisted Fairy Tales’ which plays with the character of Marie Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, the Baroness d’Aulnoy, the leader of the fairy tale writers. Eliane performs some D’Aulnoy stories – The Ram, The White Cat (which you might know from the ballet of Sleeping Beauty), and Belle-Belle, which the AFTS explored in September 2020.

The Salonline webseries, edited by our website Guardian, Kathy Smart, is already available on YouTube for free viewing.

And very soon, an eBook full of biographies, timelines, essays, and the retellings of these forgotten fairy tales, illustrated with art by Debra Phillips and with graphic design by Devahuti Chahlia, will be for sale from this website.

We hope you enjoy this magnificent fairy tale offering from the Australian Fairy Tale Society.

Three smiling women stand in front of a screen showing a salon with ornate furnishings with a banner saying Salonline above it. The women are in colourful casual clothes, with Alyssa Curtayne on the left, Eliane Morel in the middle, and Jo Henwood on the right.
Alyssa Curtayne, Eliane Morel, and Jo Henwood, stars of the Salonline series.

AFTS eZine Issue 11: Magical Transformations

UPDATE: Deadline extended to 13 December, 2022

Our next members’ exclusive eZine, ‘Magical Transformations’, will be published in March 2023.

Each issue contains works as varied as short stories, essays, poetry, interviews, Fairy Tale Ring reports and visual art. Your fairy tale related news, events, and releases (e.g. albums, books) are as welcome as original lyrics, music and audio performances – in fact any medium we can reflect in print!

Be sure to follow the members’ only submission guidelines and e-mail to austfairytaleszine@gmail.com by November 29.

In anticipation and warmest regards: Melanie, Patsy and Spike; the AFTS eZine Editorial Troupe.

Voting closing for the 2022 AFTS Award

Don’t let Friday August 26, at 11.45pm whoosh by!

It’s a deadline for two very important decisions.

Poster showing pictures of 3 nominees for the 2022 AFTS Annual Award for Inspiration and Contribution to Australian Fairy Tale Culture: Sophie Masson, Spike Deane, Jo Henwood.
2022 AFTS Award nominees: Sophie Masson, Spike Deane, Jo Henwood

Sophie Masson, Spike Deane and Jo Henwood are our shortlisted nominees for the 2022 AFTS Award for Inspiration and Contribution to Australian Fairy Tale Culture.

Members only decide the winner, so please click here to vote: https://australianfairytalesociety.org/afts-award/2022-award/

The Award will be presented on October 1 at our Brisbane conference: ‘Australian Fairy Tales: Flesh or Fossil?’

To be in the room for this magical moment (and for the excellent program on offer), you are welcome to apply for the AFTS Bursary.  

AFTS Bursary – travel to the Queensland conference

A 2-engine passenger jet with Jetstar logos flies up into a bright blue sky.

The selected Bursary holder will need to be a current member and pay their own registration cost, and will receive support for –

a) transport up to $200,

b) accommodation up to $100/night for two (2) nights, and

c) a ‘fairy godmother/father’ as conference mentor.

As the Executive anticipate a decision by September 2, now is the time to vote – and hopefully secure your spot in Brisbane: https://australianfairytalesociety.org/2022-brisbane-conference/

AFTS Conference accommodation and transport

And while you’re here! A word about Brisbane accommodation and transport.

(PS. Monday Oct 3 is a public holiday for Queen’s Birthday)

If coming from interstate, accommodation ($ to $$$) is available in/around the CBD, Woolloongabba, South Brisbane, South Bank precinct areas. (Perhaps consider a room share if coming with friend/s.)

We recommend somewhere close(-ish) to the Ship Inn (opp. Qld Maritime Museum) so that you can walk, train or bus to the conference.

Options are easily searched with the aid of Google maps and booking engines like Wotif.com, Booking.com, and car clubs like RACQ, NRMA.

Those flying into Brisbane can travel direct by Airtrain to South Bank and South Brisbane stations.

• Airtrain tickets can be pre-booked online: https://www.airtrain.com.au/ and here: https://translink.com.au/travel-with-us/airport-services

• Translink (for public transport): https://translink.com.au/ (There is an app you can download.)

Please note: Paper tickets and ‘Go Cards’ can be used on public transport. Translink will also trial a ‘smart ticketing’ system (i.e. using a credit card, or smart phone.) For updates, visit Translink online.

A flying fairy reaches down to a fern and part of an ancient fossil shows beside a fern on the other side of the poster. The text reads Australian Fairy Tales: Flesh or Fossil? South Bank Brisbane, 1-2 October 2022.

Keen to come? We’d love to see you!

Registrations close (absolutely) on September 18, due to catering requirements.

Details and updates here: https://australianfairytalesociety.org/2022-brisbane-conference/

Yours in fairy tales,

The Brisbane Crew – Alex, Bettina, June, Kathryn, Shirley

Look what’s happening in Victoria!

The Victorian Fairy Tale Ring has forthcoming events, to which you are all invited.

1. 28 May 2022 2pm: Our free fairytale event at the quaint & historic Athenaeum Library, 188 Collins St, Melbourne.

Logo of the Melbourne Atheneum Library with building silhouette and subtext The Pleasure of Words beside an image of a pile of books in front of 4 women in front of filled bookshelves.

Add some much-needed magic to your life!

Why are fairy tales still so fascinating? What is a fairy tale? Are there Australian fairy tales? Come to the Athenaeum Library at 2pm on Saturday 28 May 2022 to hear Carmel Bird and the other writers and illustrators of South of the Sun – Australian Fairy Tales for the 21st Century discuss this and other questions.

South of the Sun is an enchanting, illustrated book of fairy tales, but not the kind you read to children at bedtime. They are strictly for the grown-ups. There are dark stories where things don’t end happily ever after, tales to make you laugh out loud, stories of sweet revenge and scenes of sheer delight in the world of magic and the fey.  

There will be magical music, readings, book sales and free refreshments, too!

Bookings essential. Contact library@melbourneathenaeum.org.au or phone 9650 3100.

2.  23-30 June 2022 Bendigo Library: Winter Solstice Celebration: Love of the Fey.

Modern building lit up by old fashioned street light and other glowing lights.

A week-long exhibition of Lorena Carrington’s illustrations bumps in on Thurs June 23rd and will culminate in two sessions of Louisa John-Krol’s storytelling and music on June 30th.

June 30th includes guests for South of the Sun readings, informal author chat, face-painting, costume prizes, signings & sales. 

  •          The 2pm session will probably be for ages 8 – 12, by library’s request, and
  •          The 5.30pm session is for grown-ups with dress-up theme, which is likely to have gothic, psychedelic, steampunk, pre-Raphaelite, cross-dressing and other flamboyant elements. All genders welcome.

2022 Conference – Call for Presentations


October 1-2, 2022 at Brisbane’s South Bank precinct

The Australian Fairy Tale Society investigates and creates fairy tales from an Australian perspective. Local Fairy Tale Rings gather in person and via Zoom to explore specific fairy tales. We have mined rich themes at previous conferences, and celebrate members’ talents through our eZine and a new anthology, ‘South of the Sun: Australian Fairy Tales for the 21st Century’.


As always our focus is on the Australian interpretation of fairy tales, particularly contemporary multicultural, diverse Australia. As AFTS Conference-goers delight in diversity, we are looking for –

  • Talks of no more than 25 minutes, including Q&A
  • Case studies of projects, with a fairy tale basis
  • Performances of no more than 10 minutes, with an option for 5 minutes’ Q&A
  • Panel discussions of no more than 25 minutes, including Q&A
  • Stalls to sell your merchandise.

Feel free to contact us with a new idea. We want to celebrate your creativity not stifle it!


By midnight May 6, 2022, please submit your proposal using the online form. This will include –

  • Name/s
  • Email address and phone
  • Bio (max 150 words)
  • Type of presentation (as above)
  • Title / Topic, plus a 100-200 word description
  • Your experience in delivering this material or something similar
  • Resources … a) that you will provide, b) that the AFTS needs to supply.

What happens next

If your presentation is accepted for the conference, we will ask you to provide –

  • A colour photograph in high resolution, preferably a close-up of your face, for the program
  • A two-paragraph introduction which can be used by the MC
  • Permission to video-record your presentation for later access by AFTS members. (This will be subject to grant funding.)
  • Permission to use the material you have given us, including your photograph, in any conference promotions. If this includes media interviews, we will discuss this with you first.
  • Permission to use elements from your presentation (e.g. photos, summaries, links to your publications) in future AFTS publications, such as the eZine. We will discuss these needs as they arise.

We intend to respond to your submissions by the end of June, in order to announce the program in July 2022.


  • The joy of sharing your fairy tale passion with like-minded enthusiasts.
  • A discount to the conference, and a gift of an annual membership. You will need to complete forms for both of these.

Want updates?

Sign up to receive the latest 2022 Conference news. (This feature is coming soon.)

Website graphic design

Devahuti Rai Chaliha sits on a sofa smiling and holding a mug. Behind her is an Indian statue.
Devahuti Rai Chaliha, “Debs”

Sharp-eyed visitors will have seen our beautiful new header, and gallery images on the Activities and Shop pages linking us to where we want to go.

Who is responsible for these beautiful images? Devahuti Rai Chaliha, PhD student by day, AFTS volunteer by night.

Thank you, Debs!