On October 7, at the 2017 English Association of the Pennsylvania State Universities Conference hosted by Kuztown University, Daniel Weinstein (English Department) presented a talk, titled "A Fairy Tale Collaboration—Literally," about a unique, creative
project carried out by students in ENGL 360 and ART 421 for the past two years.
The project, an interdisciplinary collaboration between Weinstein and assistant professor and Art Department Chair Nathan Heuer, consists of a collection of contemporary fairy tales written by students in Weinstein's ENGL 360 Editing and Publishing class
and illustrated by students in Professor Heuer's ART 421 Advanced Drawing class.
Here's the story behind the collection.
In fall 2016, students in ENGL 360, a course in editing and publishing digital texts, part of the curriculum of the BA English program at IUP, took part in a literary experiment. Through a carefully orchestrated procedure of collaborative writing known
as l’atelier d’ecriture, or writing workshop, students studied a collection of Grimms’ fairy tales and took stock of their elements.
Storytelling patterns, such as things that come in threes, and promises which, when broken, cause dire spells to be cast, became these students’ stock-in-trade which they quickly applied to stories of their own. Some of their tales were written collaboratively
by as many as four students at once; others are the products of individual writers working by themselves, but inspired by the memory, by the lingering atmosphere, of collaboration. All were written, almost like magic, within the space of one week.
Of course, it wasn’t quite through magic that the tales in the book came to be, but rather through the remarkable creative energies of a class of very talented writers. Perhaps one could go so far as to say these young authors wrote under a spell of pleasure
and adventure born of deep reading, love of storytelling, and the joy of working together.
Something even more remarkable happened when students in ART 421 joined the game. They added their talents to the mix (or should we say to the potion?), and before you could say, “Rumplestiltskin!” the illustrated collection, Tales for Today, was born.
The 2016 edition of the collection of the tales is available from Weinstein as an ebook upon request.
Cover illustration by Abby Krick.
Department of English