Queer Fairy Tales & Fantasy

June 27, 2023

Last week, we gave a talk for the Smithsonian Associates on Queer Fairy Tales for Pride! YAY!

As part of that talk, we put together a list of some of our favorite queer fairy tales and fairy-tale retellings, and we realized that somehow we’ve never done a list of them for Carterhaugh!?

So, for the last week of Pride Month, we wanted to share our list… and, of course, add to it, because we cannot help ourselves. In addition to fairy tales, we added some of our favorite queer fantasy novels and stories, too.

If this list is initially overwhelming, we were asked a really great question at the end of the Smithsonian talk that we’d like to share.

We were asked, what would we recommend reading first to a teenager who was having a hard time right now? What would they find comforting?

While it’s impossible to know for sure, we gave it our best stab. We said: for comfort that’s like being wrapped up in a cozy blanket, we’d recommend Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue, which is beautiful, lyrical, and easy to pick up and put down. (It’s also considered a foundational queer fairy-tale collection in fairy-tale studies, just like Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber is always mentioned as foundational feminist fairy-tale retellings.) If comfort, for you, comes more from a burn it down vibe, we recommend starting with Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron, which is action packed and politically revolutionary.

Whatever atmosphere or style you’re searching for, we hope you find something here to love, and please tell us about your favorite queer fairy tales and fantasy in the comments! We know there’s WAY more out there than what we’ve read so far and could add to this list!

Fairy-Tale Retellings

Queer Fantasy

Lastly, looking for some great queer scholarship? We love –

Happy reading!!

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