In July, 2013, Eggplant Literary Production (ELP) promised a diverse anthology, including being multicultural, about fairytales on a Kickstarter
. From the Kickstarter description:
We want to publish fairy tales retold to include minority, LGBT, and disabled characters. We want to create stories that include the whole spectrum of humanity and make them truly universal.
I and many other PoC helped it fund.
After the Kickstarter ended, ELP’s submission guidelines
dictated a particular set of fairytale formats, guided by the Aarne-Thompson Index (ATI)—a work which Thompson himself noted
might as well be called ‘The Types of the Folk-Tales of Europe, West Asia, and the Lands Settled by these Peoples’, and did not cover the story-shapes of the rest of the world and parts of the world before they were colonized.
A commenter named Gus brought this up in the comment section of the submission guidelines:
I’m seeing some issues with the idea of a “standard fairy tale” formatting, given that different cultures tell their fairy tales in different ways. How might that be handled?
To which ELP originally replied:
This project isn’t meant to be a multi-cultural fairy tale anthology, but fairy tales that are retold. That’s the reason for sticking to the standard fairy tale format.
ELP has since struck out this text and put in:
ETA: Submissions should follow the structure of the fairy tales they are retelling. They should not be short stories just using fairy tales as a jumping off point or for source material.
The comment thread goes further. You can see more in the comment section
. For instance, here’s a snippet I’m not sure what to conclude about
Last year, when I first made an explicit call for non-Western settings and characters for Spellbound, I received several submissions that took place in African countries and cultures. The only fantasy element of these stories were the appearance of ancestor spirits. Turning a culture’s belief system into a fantasy element bothered me.
I guess that means cultural stories centering around ancestral reverence aren’t valid jumping-off points for stories for this anthology because they aren’t really fairy-tales according to… somebody.
How about this:
Instead, imagine a collection of Grimm’s tales if the Grimm brothers had collected them from a world where POC, LGBT, and disabled peoples had equal representation in media and culture as white cis heterosexual males. What would these fairy tales look like in that light?
That sounds rather Euro-centric. Hell, it is
There was another instance with ELP asking why a story with a WoC was in Europe rather than taking place "in her own country"