The Season of the Whale

The Season of the Whale is a series of seven interactive and generative workshops where you will explore fairy tales and other traditional tales, paired with strange and marvellous concepts. You’ll have an opportunity to workshop six new stories or poems, and (in the final week) a portfolio of work you’ve revised based on the workshop discussions. This is a supportive and generative workshop that combines reading, discussion, writing, and feedback.

Course Schedule & Instructors



This is a LIVE workshop hosted through Zoom. There are three sections available, and each section is limited to five participants. Workshops begin in February and run through until mid-April.


There is a cap of five participants in each workshop. Send an email to [email protected] to reserve your seat and to indicate your preferred time and day. Workshop groups will be compiled due to participant availability.


Whale Tales


During the first module of the course we will read and discuss a series of folklore and fairy tales about whales, and some non-fiction about whales.

This module is a little different to most of the others for this course: instead of exploring a series of linked tales, or various iterations of a traditional tale type, this module focuses on traditional tales that feature the animal that we’ve chosen to symbolise our final season of the year: the whale.


The Fisherman and His Wife


The Fisherman and His Wife is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 (KHM 19). The tale is of Aarne–Thompson type 555, about dissatisfaction and greed. It may be classified as an anti-fairy tale.

The tale was published by the Brothers Grimm in the first edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen in 1812 as tale no. 19. Their source was the German painter Philipp Otto Runge (1777–1810), from whom the Grimms obtained a manuscript of the tale in 1809. Johann Gustav Büsching published another version of Runge's manuscript a few months earlier in 1812 in Volkssagen, Märchen und Legenden, with some discrepancies with Grimm's version.

The Red Shoes

Andersen's 'The Red Shoes' has been the subject of a range of reimaginings and retellings.

Perhaps the most famous reimagining of the tale is the 1948 film The Red Shoes, which was written, directed, and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and starred the British ballet dancer and actress, Moira Shearer. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. The film was digitally restored in 2006. One of the main characters in the film, Boris Lermontov, was based on the founder of the Ballet Russes, Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev.

The Juniper Tree


The Juniper Tree is a German fairy tale published in Low German by the Brothers Grimm in Grimm's Fairy Tales in 1812 (KHM 47).

The story contains themes of child abuse, murder, cannibalism and biblical symbolism and is one of the Brothers Grimm's darker and more mature fairy tales.

The tale is of Aarne–Thompson type 720 (My Mother Killed Me; My Father Ate Me). Another such tale is the English The Rose-Tree, although it reverses the sexes from The Juniper Tree; The Juniper Tree follows the more common pattern of having the dead child be the boy.

The Sugar Bride


Pintosmalto is an Italian literary fairy tale written by Giambattista Basile in his 1634 work, the Pentamerone.

Italo Calvino included a variant from oral tradition, The Handmade King, based on two tales from Calabria. He noted that variants are also found in Naples, Abruzzo, and Sicily.

It is Aarne-Thompson type 425, the search for the lost bridegroom, in an unusual variation, involving motifs similar to Pygmalion and Galatea.

The City of Brass


The City of Brass is one of the tales collected in 1001 Arabian Nights. This module looks at this story and other tales featuring fabulous architecture as well as the place of cities in fairy tales.

This course is closed for enrollment.