Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tale Writing With Anca Szilágyi - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tale Writing With Anca Szilágyi

Multiple Dates
4 sessions
$225 per person
Up to 30 people
See Dates
$225 per person
$225 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this four-part seminar, delve into the genre of fairy tales—reading and dissecting modern retellings before sharing and workshopping a draft of your own.

Course Description

Fairy tales have long offered rich source material for stories. In this seminar, writer and author ​​Anca L. Szilágyi will explore elements of the genre, reading and discussing contemporary takes from Angela Carter, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, and others. We’ll also touch on appreciations of the form from Fairy Tale Review editor Kate Bernheimer, looking at techniques such as flatness, everyday magic, and intuitive logic through hands-on in-class writing exercises and prompts. Through these techniques, we’ll also consider character, plot, and landscape. Class time will include a mix of mini-lectures, discussion, writing, and sharing fresh writing in pairs, small groups, or with the whole group. By the end of our time together, you’ll have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the genre, as well as a draft of your own fairy tale (or three!).

Syllabus At A Glance

This course includes four total sessions, each lasting for 1.5 hours on four consecutive weeks.

Spring Session A: Meets Saturdays starting April 2, 2022. 

Session 1 (Saturday, 4/2, 2–3:30 PM ET): What’s in a Fairy Tale?: Introductions, a guide to the genre, and “flatness”

Session 2 (Saturday, 4/9, 2–3:30 PM ET): Everyday Magic: How characters in fairy tales respond to magic

Session 3 (Saturday, 4/16, 2–3:30 PM ET): Intuitive Logic: Turning off the analytical brain

Session 4 (Saturday, 4/23, 2–3:30 PM ET): Workshop: Sharing, drafts for feedback

Spring Session B: Meets Saturdays starting June 4, 2022. 

Session 1 (Saturday, 6/4, 2–3:30 PM ET): What’s in a Fairy Tale?: Introductions, a guide to the genre, and “flatness”

Session 2 (Saturday, 6/11, 2–3:30 PM ET): Everyday Magic: How characters in fairy tales respond to magic

Session 3 (Saturday, 6/18 2–3:30 PM ET): Intuitive Logic: Turning off the analytical brain

Session 4 (Saturday, 6/25, 2–3:30 PM ET): Workshop: Sharing drafts for feedback

Summer Session A: Meets Saturdays starting August 6, 2022. 

Session 1 (Saturday, 8/6, 2–3:30 PM ET): What’s in a Fairy Tale?: Introductions, a guide to the genre, and “flatness”

Session 2 (Saturday, 8/13, 2–3:30 PM ET): Everyday Magic: How characters in fairy tales respond to magic

Session 3 (Saturday, 8/20 2–3:30 PM ET): Intuitive Logic: Turning off the analytical brain

Session 4 (Saturday, 8/27, 2–3:30 PM ET): Workshop: Sharing drafts for feedback

Fall Session A: Meets Saturdays starting November 12, 2022.

Session 1 (Saturday, 11/12, 2–3:30 PM ET): What’s in a Fairy Tale?: Introductions, a guide to the genre, and “flatness”

Session 2 (Saturday, 11/19, 2–3:30 PM ET): Everyday Magic: How characters in fairy tales respond to magic

- week off -

Session 3 (Saturday, 12/3, 2–3:30 PM ET): Intuitive Logic: Turning off the analytical brain

Session 4 (Saturday, 12/10, 2–3:30 PM ET): Workshop: Sharing drafts for feedback

Between Sessions

Outside of class, students will read longer short stories to see variations on fairy tales. Students who wish to dive deeper into theory will be given additional readings; we’ll touch on these lightly in mini-lectures, but reading them won’t be required. Students will also expand on and refine writing prompts begun in class in preparation for the final session, in which they will share drafts for feedback.

Course Materials

There are no required materials for this class; all PDFs of short stories will be provided. Students who are interested in reading more might consider purchasing the books My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, edited by Kate Bernheimer, and Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter.

Pricing Options

In addition to full-price tickets, a limited number of no-pay spots are available for this course. Please note that these tickets are reserved for those who would not otherwise be able to take this course and who expect to attend all sessions. No-pay spots are distributed via a randomized drawing two weeks before each course begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Anca Szilágyi
Anca Szilágyi

Anca L. Szilágyi is a Brooklynite living in Chicago. Her fiction appears in Lilith MagazineConfrontationFairy Tale Review, and elsewhere. Her nonfiction appears in Los Angeles Review of BooksOrion MagazineElectric Literature, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from Made at Hugo House, Jack Straw Cultural Center, 4Culture, Vermont Studio Center, and Artist Trust. The Stranger hailed Anca as “a fantastic magical realist.” She is the author of Daughters of the Airwhich Shelf Awareness called “a striking debut from a writer to watch” and The Seattle Review of Books called “a creation of unearthly talents.” Dreams Under Glassher second novel, is forthcoming in Fall 2022. 

You can follow Anca on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

What Else You Should Know

This is an interactive, small-group seminar that meets over Zoom. Students may be encouraged to participate in discussions, work on assignments outside of class, and workshop projects with their instructor or classmates. Due to the interactive nature of this course, we strongly recommend students attend as many live sessions as possible. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes. 

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at experiences@atlasobscura.com if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Group Size

There are 30 spots available on this experience.

Dates and Availability
  • Sat, Aug 6, 2022
    2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
    $225
    Get Tickets
  • Sat, Nov 12, 2022
    2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
    $225
    Get Tickets