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Reading Groups

Little Red Razes the Woods: Folk and Fairy Tales in the Modern Era with Jacqueline Ahl


5 Sessions via Zoom

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Once a Month Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST September 16, 2020 to January 6, 2021

Meeting Dates:
9/16, 10/14, 11/11, 12/9, 1/6

This series focuses on incarnations of folk and fairy tales in the modern era. It considers the ways in which pervasive themes drawn from oral tradition find their way into our collective consciousness, either perpetuated or subverted by current fiction.

Fear, hope, safety, danger, desire: these are the foundations of our most formative tales. Such stories suggest how we can expect to be treated and what we should expect to find in the world. What happens when we question or reject these expectations?

Some works actively tackle problematic tropes and over-worn narratives head-on—especially those related to gender and power, reacting to, resisting, and rewriting them. Characters relegated to the role of passive recipient take on greater agency. Little Red razes the woods. Other works raise a mirror. Sometimes the wolves are within us. We are at a time when assumed collective cultural agreements are coming under scrutiny, with good reason. The stories we tell ourselves are changing. The stories we tell our children are changing. The storytellers up for consideration here take the core conventions of oral tradition one step further by way of inversion, exaggeration, or reversal to serve the purposes of a 21st century listener and reader.

  • Meeting 1: Rebecca Solnit, Cinderella Liberator, 2019 and Donald Barthelme, Snow White, 2013
  • Meeting 2: Octavia Butler, Fledgling, 2005
  • Meeting 3: Catherynne M. Valente, Six Gun Snow White, 2017 and Ursula Le Guin, Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight, 1994
  • Meeting 4: Helen Oyeyemi, Boy, Snow, Bird, 2014
  • Meeting 5: Assorted Short Stories (provided by instructor)
    “The Devourings” by Aimee Bender
    “There’s Someone in the House” by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
    “Bears: A Fairy Tale of 1958” by Steve Duffy
    “Travels with the Snow Queen” by Kelly Link

This group will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions for access prior to the first session.


Led by

  • Jacki Blue White headband Haunted Waters Press

    Jacqueline Ahl

    Jacqueline Ahl

    Jacqueline Ahl is a writer, presenter, and educator. At SUNY New Paltz, she served as visiting poet for Understanding Poetry, Director of the Creative Writing Mentoring Program, and member of the William Vasse Poetry Board. A former grant writer and performer for Arts for Peace, Jacqueline’s publications include A Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley (2013) and Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers (2007). Her features include the Hudson Valley Poetry Festival, Albany Wordfest, and The Woodstock Roundtable on WDST. Jacqueline’s plays have been produced in NY, NC, and MO, receiving national and international awards.