Hi, I'm Elizabeth Hopkinson. Some of you might know me from Swanwick Writers' Summer School, the Brick Box Rooms, Bradford, the Forgotten & the Fantastical anthologies, Liars' League or somewhere else. I've done a lot of writing! Here are some of my books:
One of my specialities is fairy tale, and to that end, I wanted to produce a special collection of Asexual Fairy Tales. Some of them are my own, original tales that previously appeared in other anthologies and magazines, but most are retellings of traditional fairy tales, myths and legends that - to me - speak to asexual themes. I identified relatively late in life, and these tales are the ones that helped me on that journey. It is a very personal collection, reflecting a very personal experience of what it is to be asexual, but I hope other people will relate to it too, and that it will add to the representation of asexuality in literature.
AVEN (the Asexual Visibility and Education Network) defines an asexual person as one who does not experience sexual attraction. This term embraces a whole spectrum of different identities and represents around 1% of the population. Most people have never even heard of asexuality, or think it is not real or needs to be cured. Yet many of the tales told by our ancestors seem to be about asexual characters and speak to asexual themes. It is these tales that I want to bring to life.
The collection also includes (by kind permission of the Moving Image Library) a retelling of a little-known silent film, The Man Without Desire (starring Ivor Novello in the title role). It is a gender-reversed Sleeping Beauty set in 18th-century Venice, and I am honoured to bring it to greater attention.
Each tale will be accompanied by a beautiful black-and-white illustration by Anna Hopkinson, an illustration undergraduate at the University of Huddersfield. Prints of the artwork are included in the rewards for £15 and £60 pledges.
Whether you are a member of the asexual community, a fairy tale enthusiast or just an interested reader, I do hope you can get behind this project and help us bring these tales to life. I have already had kind expressions of interest from AVEN and from BookTuber Jen Campbell, so I'm sure the readers are out there. I hope you'll be one of them.
What's in the book
The book contains 12 stories:
- The Origin of Love ~ a story from Greek philosopher Plato, originator of the term Platonic Love
- The Glass Coffin ~ a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm
- The Half-Marble Prince ~ a tale from 1001 Nights, the masculine equivalent of The Glass Coffin
- The Tale of Princess Kaguya ~ a traditional tale from Japan
- Zellandine and Troylus ~ the original Sleeping Beauty, from medieval French romance Perceforest
- Pygmalion and Galatea ~ my own version of the Greek myth, partly inspired by Victorian fairy tale writer George MacDonald
- The Ivory Maid ~ an original tale, inspired by medieval romance
- Companions of the Grail ~ an episode from the Arthurian legend
- Pearls and Roses ~ a German fairy tale from Franz Xaver von Schonwerth
- The Ice Queen and the Mer-King ~ an original tale, inspired by The Lady of Shalott and The Forsaken Merman
- The Man Without Desire ~ a retelling of a 1920s silent film starring Ivor Novello
- The Lost Children of Lorenwald - a re imagining of the Daphne myth, first published in The Forgotten & the Fantastical
Each story comes with its own illustration, as well as a brief introduction, talking about its origin and its asexual themes.
The book also has a bibliography, listing all story sources, as well as some additional reading.
How it will happen
- You enter your pledges. You don't pay anything at this stage.
- We reach our goal. Yay! You pay what you pledged.
- I submit the manuscript to SilverWood Books, a self-publishing company who have agreed to work with me on this project. Your pledges will pay for proof reading, preparing the book to print, printing and delivery of the book, and some extras, such as Amazon's "Look Inside" feature, which help with publicity. The process takes around 4-5 months.
- Anna will get the illustrations printed on high quality card at the university. Your pledges will pay for this, too.
- The books and cards are delivered. We sign them and send them out to you.
Risks and challenges
I have tried very hard to consider all the costs, but there may be some I don't know about, so I have rounded up the amount for our goal, in the hopes it will cover everything. Maybe we will exceed our goal and even make a profit. That would be nice!
I know this is a very niche project, but I have put out feelers in advance among the asexual community, and had some very positive responses. There are also people among the fairy tale community who are interested. I will be promoting this very hard on my social media during the campaign. I have a lot of contacts among writers and literary/arts organisations, and I intend to use them. Having an illustrator means there is also a chance of support from followers of Anna's art.
We really hope to meet our goal in the appointed time. But in the event that we don't, we won't be giving up on Asexual Fairy Tales. We will rethink and start again. We hope some of you will come with us. But that won't happen, will it? We're counting on you to spread the word among your friends. If you want to see Asexual Fairy Tales happen, then do what you can to make sure it does!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)