Cook up your own fairy tale: free online CPD with the British Library

, 16:00 - 17:00 FREE
There are four characters in a line. There is a witch with a pointy hat holding and waving a walking stick in the air with her right hand. In front of her are standing three lizards. The tallest at the front and the smallest at the back. They all look like shadows, all filled with black ink, therefore we can only distinguish their outlines. The background is beige and uniform.
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Discover fresh perspectives on global tales - old and modern - and empower children at your school to create their own fairy stories.

  • Hear ideas for giving traditional fairy tales new life by remixing much-loved recipes and adding a touch of magic.
  • Join award-winning authors and experts as they explore the history of fairy tales and share their approaches to retelling.
  • Character, agency and representation in contemporary fairy tales: author Jamila Gavin in conversation with teacher and writer Joanna Brown
  • Challenging stereotypes in storytelling: fairy tales and disability, with author Jen Campbell
  • Enjoy a practical workshop with Seven Stories - the National Centre for Children's Books - full of innovative ideas to inspire your class to retell old tales and generate new ones.
  • Find out how to take part in our exciting spring challenge. We're inviting primary school children to cook up their own fairy tales.
  • Take a tour of the free resources on the British Library's Discovering Children's Books website. Access brand new videos with top tips from Michael Rosen and hear vibrant retellings of classic tales from Cinderella to Anancy.

Register now to reserve your free place

  • Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The session will be run on Zoom, so you'll need internet access.
  • Before the event, we'll send you a link and further details of how to join in.
  • If you have any questions, email

... and sign up for our live online event for schools, with Michael Rosen and Allen Fatimaharan

  • 11am on 7 March, in partnership with Seven Stories
  • Michael will tell some tales from the past, Allen will lead a fairy tale 'draw-along', and you'll find out how to concoct your very own delicious stories! Recommended ages: Years 3, 4, 5 and 6. Book your free place.

About our speakers

Jamila Gavin was born in Mussoorie, India, in the foothills of the Himalayas. With an Indian father and an English mother, she inherited two rich cultures that ran side by side throughout her life and always made her feel she belonged to both countries. Jamila’s family moved to England when she was 11. She studied music and worked for the BBC before having a family of her own and becoming a children’s writer, wanting to reflect the multicultural world in which she and her children now lived. Author of Blackberry Blue, The Wheel of Surya and the Whitbread Award-winning Coram Boy, Gavin’s new YA novel Never Shall I Ever Forget You will be published by Farshore in July 2022.

Joanna Brown is a writer and teacher with a passion for writing new life into stories from the past. She is currently reading for a PhD in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London and is a British Library Eccles Centre Research Fellow. Her short memoir, Birds can be heard singing through open windows, was Highly Commended in the 2020 Spread the Word Life Writing competition. Joanna trained to teach at the Institute of Education. Her recent work for schools includes the Africa Writes poetry development programme. At the British Library, she has led school workshops and CPD sessions, exploring the Library’s treasures with pupils and teachers to spark curiosity and inspire creative writing. Joanna writes for children under the name JT Williams. Her debut novel, The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries, spotlighting Black British lives in Georgian London, will be published by Farshore Books in June 2022.

Jen Campbell is a bestselling author and award-winning poet. She's written ten books for both adults and children, spanning nonfiction, fiction, poetry and picture books. Her most recent book, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers and Other Gruesome Tales, retells fourteen fairy tales from around the world. She is also a disability advocate specialising in the representation of disfigurement in the media, and the history of fairy tales.

Image credit: Detail from Cinderella. Retold by C S Evans and illustrated by Arthur Rackham, 1919


Age group: Primary
When: , 16:00 - 17:00
Key skills: Creative writing
Price: Admission: Free entry
Where: Online
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