Audiobooks: Awake not sleeping: Reimagining fairy tales for a new generation
Date: 15 November 2021
The UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia presents its new creative writing initiative, "Awake not sleeping: Reimagining fairy tales for a new generation". The powerful collection of fairy tales from across Europe and Central Asia aims to support fresh, creative dialogue to change the way societies think about women and girls’ roles, leadership and rights by rewriting and reimagining popular fairy tales. It includes 28 stories from 23 countries – Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.
The initiative explores the role of fairy tales in the cultural struggle for gender equality, ending violence against women and intersectional feminism. Listen to the audiobooks of reimagined fairy tales providing new generations the opportunity to explore new possibilities of seeing gender equality for themselves, their friends, families and communities.
Audiobook: Jack and the Beanstalk
Siobhan Tebbs catapults the classic English fairy tale, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, into the 21st century, refocusing it on a character who is barely acknowledged in previous interpretations. Will today’s technology prevent Jack from making the same old mistakes? Are people still selling magic beans in the street? How do we hold giants accountable nowadays?
This story is read by Alexander van Tulleken, a British doctor and TV presenter also known as “Dr. Xand”.
Audiobook: The Frog Girl
Ivanka Ferenčić Martinčić’s reimagined interpretation of the beloved tale popular in Croatia “The Frog Girl” enchants us with the love parents have for their child – who happens to be a frog. While her parents deeply worry about how the world will treat her, Frog Girl is fearless, staying true to herself as she navigates all that love and life have to offer.
This story is read by Donna Jo Napoli, an Italian-American children’s book author and professor of linguistics and social justice.
Audiobook: The Storyteller
“The Storyteller” in Asli Tohumcu’s reimagined tale is being held captive under his writing desk by our favourite fairy-tale characters. His hands and feet are tightly bound with Rapunzel’s thick blond hair and his mouth is gagged with Little Red Riding Hood’s cape. The time for reason has come to an end and Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are sick and tired of asking him, time and time again, to change his cruel storylines and sexist and cruel portrayals of women. What will happen next? Will the Storyteller live to tell another tale?
This story is read by Kerem Bürsin, a well-known actor, producer and the HeForShe Advocate in Türkiye.
Audiobook: Wee Little Khavroshechka
Daria Apakhonchich’s “Wee Little Khavroshechka” is an enchanting reimagining of a Russian folktale tale of an orphan whose only way to survive is to serve the Mistress and her three daughters. When Wee Little Khavroshechka meets a cow that she has cared for in the past, her life – and those of others’ – change in the most unexpected way.
This story is read by Manizha Sangin, a Russian-Tajik singer, songwriter, and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.
Audiobook: Zumrad and Kimmat
Saida Rashidova’s “Zumrad and Kimmat” live in the beautiful city of Tashkent in Uzbekistan. Zumrad and Kimmat are stepsisters, and Saida’s story explores the impact that reading Cinderella at school has on their loving, blended family. Cinderella raises many questions in Zumrad’s mind: are all stepmothers as evil and cruel? Is her step mum actually like the evil stepmother in Cinderella? Does her life mirror Cinderella’s?
This story is read by Saida Mirziyoyeva, a Deputy Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Mass Media Foundation in Uzbekistan.
Altyn Kapalova’s “Snow” is an achingly beautiful story of grief and loss that reimagines a Kyrgyzstani legend of two winds. Aman is a young girl who is not afraid to challenge and demand more from the strong and unruly wind Shami. Aman believes that transformative change is possible and is not afraid to ask for it.
This story is read by Stuart Murdoch, a musician from Scotland, and the lead singer and songwriter of the band “Belle and Sebastian”.
Audiobook: The Child Without Golden Hair
Kalina Maleska’s “The Child Without Golden Hair” is a powerful reimagining of an old and brutal North Macedonian tale. Narrated by a child, Nomi sees everything that is going on in the King’s palace and the Kingdom. As Nomi becomes increasingly outraged by the way her community treats women and children, she learns how to stand in her own power and challenge those that misuse theirs.
This story is read by Tamara Todevska, a singer and songwriter from North Macedonia.
Audiobook: The Haughty Princess
“The Haughty Princess” by Dierdre Sullivan is a tale narrated by the Princess herself. Our curious Princess finds herself continuously questioning the stories told across the kingdom about boys and girls and why they are so different. She is angry with the expectations placed on herself by the King and that she will have to marry whomever her father chooses. As she questions all these expectations she is called ‘haughty’ by the King, yet she knows that she cannot keep her ‘eyes cast down forever’ so our Princess decides to write her own future, for herself and future generations.
This story is read by Tara Flynn, an Irish actor and writer.
Check out "Awake Not Sleeping: Reimagining fairy tales for a new generation” initiative's interactive website here.