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‘His cornucopia of tellers and tales is a delight, a riveting celebration of a genre that revels in its own hybridity and the imaginative riches produced by the crossing of cultural and literary borders’ Financial Times

‘Like a child after the Pied Piper I pursued Jubber into a world both human and full of magic. A carnival of a book, rigorously researched and jostling with life‘ Amy Jeffs, author of Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain

Magical tales about magical tales and tellers. Jubber, congenially and fascinatingly, explores the land from which the great fairy stories seeped, making the stories more resonant, powerful and important than ever‘ Charles Foster, author of Being a Human and Being a Beast

The surprising origins and people behind the world’s most influential magical tales: the people who told and re-shaped them, the landscapes that forged them, and the cultures that formed them and were in turn formed by them.

Who were the Fairy Tellers?

In this far-ranging quest, award-winning author Nicholas Jubber unearths the lives of the dreamers who made our most beloved fairy tales: inventors, thieves, rebels and forgotten geniuses who gave us classic tales such as ‘Cinderella’, ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Baba Yaga’.

From the Middle Ages to the birth of modern children’s literature, they include a German apothecary’s daughter, a Syrian youth running away from a career in the souk and a Russian dissident embroiled in a plot to kill the tsar.

Following these and other unlikely protagonists, we travel from the steaming cities of Italy and the Levant, under the dark branches of the Black Forest, deep into the tundra of Siberia and across the snowy fells of Lapland. In the process, we discover a fresh perspective on some of our most frequently told stories. Filled with adventure, tragedy and real-world magic, this bewitching book uncovers the stranger lives behind the strangest of tales.

Reviews

I love this book - a whole new way into these classic tales. The Fairy Tellers is full of fascinating detail, a must for those intrigued by the traditional tale. Author Nick Jubber is the real thing, a scholar gypsy of courage and skill
Robert Twigger, award-winning author of Red Nile
Jubber's style is so pervaded with intrigue and adventure that it is impossible not to be swept up by these seven fascinating tales of the neglected tellers of our most treasured stories. The Fairy Tellers brilliantly reveals all the serendipity at the heart of what we think of as eternal, the specific circumstances and individual creativity behind the great archetypes that inform our understanding of our world in childhood and beyond. Enchanting, illuminating, and delightful
Jennifer Croft, author of Homesick and co-winner of the Man Booker International Prize for Flights
A dazzling treasury of observation, erudition, and folklore - recounted with spellbinding sensitivity and grace
Tahir Shah, author of In Arabian Nights
Jubber astutely delves into the origins and deeper meanings of fairy tales and their cultural history - the cooking pot of languages and stories which have continually fed our imagination down the centuries. A fine achievement
James Crowden
Wondrous. Jubber evokes hidden moments and atmospheres across the world, from smoke-filled dens to exquisite palaces, so beautifully that they will linger long in my memory. A treasure trove of a book
Zoe Gilbert, author of Folk
A fabulous book . . . My favourite kind of nonfiction - skilled writing that takes imaginary worlds and renders them almost tangible
Edward Brooke-Hitching, author of The Phantom Atlas
Magical tales about magical tales and tellers. Jubber, congenially and fascinatingly, explores the land from which the great fairy stories seeped, making the stories more resonant, powerful and important than ever
Charles Foster, author of Being a Human and Being a Beast
In this rich and sparkling journey, Jubber follows the ink trails of the great storytellers of the past, weaving a tale of his own by turns witty, bawdy, poignant, always eye-opening
Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, author of Beyond the Northlands
Fantastic, moreish and utterly original, with The Fairy-Tellers Jubber not only takes us through some wildly eclectic histories and landscapes, he also reminds us of what heights travel writing is capable of
Caroline Eden, author of Black Sea
Like a child after the Pied Piper I pursued Jubber into a world both human and full of magic. A carnival of a book, rigorously researched and jostling with life
Amy Jeffs, author of Storyland
Insightful, original, and, often, as charming as the tales themselves
Professor Nancy Canepa
A fabulous quest through time in search of the lost tellers of tales of wonder, Nick Jubber is a master storyteller whose endless curiosity, wit and panache brings the lives of key fairy tale tellers to vibrant life
Kate Forsyth
Engaging and interesting . . . Jubber's book shows the long-sustained value of these narratives, and should make us wonder what might happen to us if they disappeared from somewhere at the back of our brains.
The Spectator
His cornucopia of tellers and tales is a delight, a riveting celebration of a genre that revels in its own hybridity and the imaginative riches produced by the crossing of cultural and literary borders
Financial Times