Event—Adult Education

Fairy Tale Archetypes and Motifs: An Experimental Workshop

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After dissecting the narrative conventions of fairy tales, you'll be ready to write your very 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 break down the fairy tale as a genre, exploring recurring elements known as archetypes or motifs. We will touch on popular characters (including heroes and heroines), ineffectual parents, evil step-parents, and helpful animals. We will also discuss fairy tale landscapes, architecture, and common themes that arise from plot.

After learning the basics, class participants will experiment with mixing archetypes and motifs to write a rough draft of a fairy tale in class. We will then 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

This class is full, but you can still register for the waitlist on Learning Stream.

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.

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