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These new feminist fairytales are set to be your favourite books of 2020

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Sarah Shaffi
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New fairytales by Rebecca Solnit, Malorie Blackman, Jeanette Winterson and Kamila Shamsie.

These retellings of fairytales will inspire a new generation of readers.

As grown-ups, we know that fairytales are not something to turn to when we want stories about independent women making their own decisions and taking charge in the world.

Or at least, they didn’t used to be. But in the past couple of years, we’ve seen the world of fairytales slowly transforming. We’ve had new retellings like Maleficent fleshing out female characters who were previously just rough stereotypes, and books like Louise O’Neill’s The Surface Breaks telling a darker, yet more realistic-feeling, version of The Little Mermaid.

And now, we’re getting a whole series of retellings, written by some of our most exciting female authors.

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The classic fairytales will be rewritten with a feminist slant to show that they “don’t need a happily ever after”.

We’re get four retellings in October 2020 by writers Rebecca Solnit, Malorie Blackman, Jeanette Winterson and Kamila Shamsie.

Solnit, author of books including Men Explain Things To Me: And Other Essays, will take on Cinderella with Cinderella Liberator, which has already been published in the US.

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Blackman, the author of the Noughts and Crosses series, will rewrite Bluebeard while Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit author Winterson will take on Hansel and Gertel.

Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Shamsie will round off the series with a rewrite of The Ugly Duckling.

The books will all be published as hardbacks by Vintage, which is the publisher of books including Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments.

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The Bookseller reported that Vintage said there would be no “passive beauties, macho princes, unconsenting kisses or witchy old women” in the books. 

The publisher continued: “These will be fairy tales reimagined for modern boys and girls – transformed into stories of liberation that don’t need a happily ever after. Written with compassion and freedom at their core this is a way for fairy tales to persist for a new generation.”

Image: Getty

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Sarah Shaffi

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance journalist and editor. She reads more books a week than is healthy, and balances this out with copious amounts of TV. She writes regularly about popular culture, particularly how it reflects and represents society.

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