Making Room for Disability: Mining Folklore and Fairytales
with Amanda Leduc and Emily Urquhart
How do the stories we know—and tell—(mis)represent the body?
In familiar formulas, the beautiful princess seems entitled to her Happy Ending. The ogre? Rightfully doomed to obscurity. Why should a character’s physical appearance—their abilities and disabilities—dictate their fate? How can readers and writers become more mindful of the language that continues to haunt the characters in our stories today? Join Amanda Leduc and Emily Urquhart to unpack the effects of ableism in fairy tales, folklore, and popular culture. Discover how a disabled lens can disrupt those familiar formulas, produce fuller stories, and allow every body their Happy Ending.
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AMANDA LEDUC’s essays and stories have appeared in publications across Canada, the US, and the UK. She is the author of Disfigured as well as of the novels The Miracles of Ordinary Men and the forthcoming The Centaur’s Wife. She has cerebral palsy and lives in Hamilton, Ontario, where she works as the Communications Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD), Canada’s first festival for diverse authors and stories.
EMILY URQUHART is a National Magazine Award-winning writer and has a doctorate in folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her first book, Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family and the Mystery of our Hidden Genes (HarperCollins 2015), was a Maclean’s bestseller, a finalist for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and a 2015 Globe and Mail Best Book. Her freelance writing has appeared in The Toronto Star, The Walrus, Longreads, The Rumpus and Eighteen Bridges among other publications. She is a nonfiction editor for The New Quarterly and teaches creative nonfiction at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her second book, The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, my Father and Me (Anansi) launched in September 2020.