Event—Adult Education

Fairy Tale Archetypes and Motifs


After exploring popular elements of fairy tales, try your hand at blending these elements as you write your own experimental fairy tale.

Old French fairy tales by Comtesse De Segur, illustrated by Virginia Frances Sterrett. Call number: Wing folio ZP 983 .S8005

Class Description

In this one-day class, we will explore recurring elements known as archetypes or motifs in fairy tales. We will touch on popular characters, including heroes and heroines, ineffectual parents, evil stepparents, and helpful animals. We will also discuss fairy tale landscapes, architecture, and common themes that arise from plot.

Class participants will experiment with mixing archetypes to write a rough draft of a fairy tale in class and share drafts in small groups for supportive feedback.

Anca L. Szilágyi is the author of the novel Daughters of the Air, which Shelf Awareness called “a striking debut from a writer to watch.” Dreams Under Glass, her second novel, was released in September 2022. Szilágyi has taught creative writing since 2010.

Materials List


  • Instructor-Distributed Materials

First Reading:

  • No first reading assignment

Cost and Registration

One session, $95 ($85.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


Support the Newberry

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone.

Make a Gift


Call us at (312) 255-3700 or send us an email.

Email Us

More Upcoming Classes