While we were preparing for The Heroines Festival 2018, we asked our panellists to prepare to share some recommended reads: novels written by women and focused on women’s stories.
This is the second in our series of Heroines Recommended Reads with recommendations from Storyland author Kate Forsyth.
Blog by Chelsea Woods.
Kate Forsyth has known since her youth that she was destined to be a writer and this knowledge came to fruition in her career as a novelist. She draws inspiration from history and mythology : the award-winning Beauty in Thorns was influenced by the love affair with Edward Burne-Jones’s famed ‘Sleeping Beauty’ painting, and the Brothers Grimm assemblage of fairy tales inspired her to write The Wild Girl.
Forsyth’s extensive literary endeavours include children’s books such as ‘Vasilisa the Wise & Other Tales of Brave Young Women’, which acquired the silver medal in the Fairies and Folklore Category of the Readers Favourite in the US. Forsyth’s prestige doesn’t cease there; she has a Doctorate of Creative Arts in fairy tale studies and is an accredited performance storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers.
From the Beast to the Blonde by Marina Warner
This superb work approaches the psychoanalytic meanings by uncloaking the evolution of fairy tales, oral tradition and archetypal characters. The origin of storytellers is also examined with a close feminist eye, from the ancient sibyl to the 18th century salionieres and a more modern Disney. Warner substantiates associations and histories of tales that are considered as old as time, illustrating the repression of the female voice in The Little Mermaid along with women’s fear in a marriage with a beastly counterpart as perceived in Beauty and the Beast.
Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
The Wild Woman is fierce, wise and instinctual—an archetypal glance into what lingers within the female psych. Women are passionate, loyal and bold creatures, like wolves, amid patriarchal objectives, inducing an oppression to their wild ways. Pinkola Estes explores femininity with a close study in myths and fairy tales in a bid to empower her female readership. She draws upon both her deep professional experience as a psychotherapist and her heritage to engender images for women of courage and resilience.
If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie
Sharon Blackie finds herself disconnected from the roots of the natural world, and she commences a journey to find her true place from amidst a dark place in Western culture. Longing for a life of meaning and authenticity, Blackie reconceptualises the position of women through myth and Celtic tales, summoning history through native terrain. This story sings to women who have lost their way in the wasteland of modern day, calling for them to reconnect with their own roots and live for their own fulfilment.
What the Bee Knows by P.L. Travers
This collection of spiritual and literary essays is imbued with mythical, biographical and abstruse motifs, and is a search for truth in folklore. Readers witness the configuration of P.L Travers character through tales of friendship and her own study of global religions. The mythology of bees is examined intimately in addition to the conventional ‘Hero’s Journey’, dissecting the impetus of such quest with relevance to the many tales
And finally, one of Kate’s own!
The Rebirth of Rapunzel by Kate Forsyth
The Rebirth of Rapunzel chronicles the evolution of the ‘Maiden in the Tower through many retellings, it follows Rapunzel from hear appearance in traditional old tales where she was active and had no need to be rescued, through to more contemporary approaches. The Rebirth of Rapunzel’ is an exploration of Forsyth’s scholarly research and presents a notable alternate to Rapunzel’s heroic dependency and forgoing of empowerment and passion that once matched her red hair.