The 2021 nominees for the Australian Fairy Tale Society Annual Award for Inspiration and Contribution to Australian Fairy Tale Culture” are Jo Henwood, Louisa John-Krol, Serene Conneeley, and Spike Deane.. Voting is open to AFTS members only.
Here are some of the things mentioned by their nominators:
- Jo Henwood (www.johenwoodstoryteller.com.au) is the unsung hero/heroine of the AFTS. Jo is the fairy godmother, the wizard, the guardian of the magic that is the AFTS. Although I wasn’t there at the very beginning I know Jo was. In the ups and the downs of its evolution from the germ of an idea Jo has been there encouraging, supporting, organising and ensuring the most mundane of tasks (such as policy writing) have been done. No matter how busy Jo is she is never too busy to ensure the AFTS runs smoothly. I could list her roles in the society, in fairy rings and on the committee or remind you of the storytellings or other activities she has involved us in; it is a lengthy list. Jo is an AFTS stalwarts and a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker. Those of you who are new members, and those of us who have been there since the first conferences owe a continuing debt to Jo.
~ Her knowledge of Australian fairy tales and ability to weave and tell a tale, modify a tale to add an Australian essence and encourage all to participate in fairy-rings is totally amazing!
- Louisa John-Krol (https://louisajohnkrol.com/) is a musician, artist and storyteller who has released 8 solo CDs and as many collaborations, mostly on indie labels, primarily a fairy-world label in France, exploring Faery realms. Her lyrics draw upon mythology, poetry, folklore (especially fairy tales) and notions of parallel worlds. She has performed her music around the world, bringing her Australian fairy tale magic to France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, America and beyond.
Louisa served on the AFTS committee of management for many years, including her time as President, and founded the Victorian Fairy Tale Ring. She not only organised and/or performed in several AFTS conferences and seminars but also pushed for funding in areas that continue to bear fruit for the fairytale community, and introduced a lot of members to each other, stimulated intercultural dialogue (e.g. hiring a storyteller from Singapore as Keynote), and fostering interstate collaborations across disciplines (writing, music, visual art) that nourished the anthology as well as other productions.
During the 1990s, Wonderwings Fairy Shop employed her as a storyteller. The first fairy shop-venue in the world, it led Louisa to further gigs at its spinoff Wonderwings Fairground and other fairy shops, plus the Royal Melbourne Show with Education Victoria & Information Victoria, also Moomba, Lit Fest (Arts Victoria/Vic Arts Centre), Childrens Book Week (Royal Botanical Gardens), International Feminist Book Fair (Royal Exhibition Buildings), National Trust heritage sites Rippon Lea & Como House, and other venues.
The Monash Fairy Tale Salon was another of Louisa’s Australian involvements, prior to and overlapping with the formation of Australian Fairy Tale Society. She encouraged MFTS members to also join AFTS and provided a lot of assistance, performing in ‘An Afternoon in Fairyland’ at the Sir Louis Matheson Library, Monash University (Rare Books Collection) 2013, The Glen Eira Storytelling Festival 2014, and again in 2015 for the 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
~ As well as the big gestures of support, there are many small acts of kindness that enrich the lives of our community. Louisa takes many fairies under her wing, purchasing train tickets for travel, meeting and introducing them to others, and helping people with their English in the academic realm and fairy tale activities.
~ Out of anyone I’ve ever met, Louisa is the truest of fairy godmothers
- Serene Conneeley (blessedbeebooks.com) has created a rich corpus of books on fairy tales, fantasy, and folklore, in fiction and non fiction. Her non fiction, particularly Faery Magic, Mermaid Magic, and Witchy Magic, are broad collections of source material providing a depth of interpretations which illuminate fairy tale research. Her fantasy novels incorporate fairy tale tropes with a subtlety and confidence resulting from all her research, culminating in her latest novel The Swan Maiden, which is a contemporary Australian re telling of the the swan maiden and selkie stories.
Serene is also a remarkable Committee member. She is responsible for the launch of the AFTS merchandise, investing enormous quantities of time in research to decide on Redbubble as the best platform, and basing her decision on AFTS values of sustainability, local investment, and responsible use of our funds.
~ Because of her books, many more people understand the layers of fairy tales.
- Spike Deane’s (https://www.spikedeane.com/) glasswork sculptures, jewellery, and other ornaments continue to delight and inspire all who witness them. Her glass key decorates many Society events and Award winners are immortalised by the engravings on her permanent Award. The posters, programmes, forms, and graphics on our online communication present information clearly, professionally, and elegantly, and any of these that have a print form become a permanent souvenir, giving ongoing pleasure.
~ Her glass art has interpreted fairy tale motifs through an unusual medium to be known and enjoyed by many.