Warsztaty pisarskie Virtual Awake Not Sleeping: Reimagining Fairy Tales for a New Generation

UN Women Europe and Central Asia (ECA) are very excited to invite writers and activists to our first two Virtual Awake Not Sleeping: Reimagining Fairy Tales for a New Generation writing workshops for 2022.

UN Women leads action across the world to advance gender equality and to prevent violence against women and girls. Gender equality is a human right that ensures people of all genders are equally valued, experiencing equal treatment and opportunities to realize their full potential and dignity. We believe in the power of stories to spark the imagination and to activate gender equality in our minds, homes, and communities. Fairy tales are a widely loved part of every society’s cultural heritage, yet they are often cruel towards girls and women. If read passively, these harmful tales can model and reinforce gender inequality, casting women as evil stepmothers and witches to be destroyed, or as silent, passive princesses or daughters to be wooed or rescued by handsome princes. 

During 2020 and 2021 UN Women worked alongside over 100 feminist writers to look at old tales from across Europe and Central Asia with ‘affectionate scepticism’ resulting in the creation of this new, powerful collection of 28 fairy tales for young readers. Our collection can be viewed here. 


Building on the success of this first collection, UN Women ECA is now seeking writers and activists who live in or are from the following countries: Armenia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Austria, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Hungary, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, and Kazakhstan. 

At the workshop writers will be invited to reimagine or rewrite a story from their childhood or write a new tale to provide children and young people with a safe way to explore the challenging concept of gender inequality and generate new ways of thinking and of having curious conversations to bring gender equality closer to reality. 

We are offering two Virtual Awake Not Sleeping: Reimagining Fairy Tales for a New Generation writing workshops in March 2022 for you to choose from: 

  • 2nd and 3rd of March 2022 from 10:00 to 2:00pm Istanbul time on each day.  


Please register here for Workshop for both days:

Day 1: When: Mar 30, 2022 10:00 AM Istanbul

Day 2: Mar 31, 2022 10:00 AM Istanbul

Our workshops will be facilitated by our editors, writers, and gender equality activists: Donna Jo Napoli, Kalina Maleska and Angela Walsh. English-Russian translation will be provided.

Key Purpose of these Workshops 

“First of all, I would like to highlight the extremely friendly and professional atmosphere of the workshop. Those who led the workshop were not just professionals, but also inspirers: I felt how this project important for them too. In such an atmosphere you always perceive information and new knowledge better.” Workshop Participant

Aims of our Writing Feminist Fairy Tales for the Awake not Sleeping Collection Workshop

Our workshop will support writers and activists, to critically analyse key fairy tales from respective countries of ECA region and reflect on how to transform, reimagine, reinterpret, redefine or disrupt these fairy tales as tools for gender equality. 

“I learnt to use gender norms analysis to reimagine transformative stories, to write for children (Donna Jo Napoli session), Reading for social change (mirrors, windows and sliding doors),critical reflection capabilities for readers, and narrative strategies for transformative story-telling.”

During the workshop we will:

  • Identify, critically reflect and deconstruct existing systems and key harmful social, gender and cultural norms situated within fairy tales that support gender inequality, and violence against women and girls.
  • Identify, critically reflect and reimagine the transformation of key social and gender norms within a story of importance in our respective regions
  • Support participants to reimagine a short and impactful intersectional feminist version of their chosen fairy story from their region, including problem solving challenges that might get in the way of writing and visualising feminist fairy tales.

After the workshop if your story is selected, you will be supported to write and edit your story with our children’s writer consultant Donna Jo Napoli, our lead writer and editor Kalina Maleska and our project coordinator and Editor Angela Walsh. 

“It helped me think more accurately of the audience we were writing for (children). I also enjoyed using the tools and theory we discussed to re-write the stories and make them fun, dynamic and enjoyable for a young audience, rather than simply didactic.” Workshop Participant


We invite you to select and share one fairy story that has ongoing popularity in your country or region; and that you would most love to rewrite for the collection.

What happens after the workshop?

After the Awake not Sleeping workshop the following story development process will be followed:

Development process steps Timeframe
Writers are invited to submit their stories 17th of April 2022
Shortlisting of promising stories 1st of May 2022
Mentoring relationship for short listed stories with our children’s writer consultant and editor May / June 2022
Invitation to participate in Writer’s Circle held for peer feedback May / June 2022
Review process with children and young people May / June 2022
UN Women Illustrator will create 2 or 3 illustrations for the story July / August 2022
Final editing process with our children’s writer consultant and editor August / September 2022


The connection details will be provided to registered participants.

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