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
Fairy-Tales are not just fairy-tales: they are records of historical phenomena, telling us something about how Western civilisation was formed.
In The Fairy Tellers, award-winning travel-writer Nick Jubber explores the secret history of fairy-tales: the people who told them, the landscapes that forged them, and the cultures that formed them.
While there are certain names inextricably entwined with the concept of a fairy-tale, such as the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, the most significant tellers are long buried under the more celebrated figures who have taken the credit for their stories - people like the Syrian storyteller Youhenna Diab and the Wild Sisters of Cassel. Without them we would never have heard of Aladdin, his Magic Lamp or the adventures of Hansel and Gretel.
Tracking these stories to their sources carries us through the steaming cities of Southern Italy and across the Mediterranean to the dust-clogged alleys of the Maghreb, under the fretting leaves of the Black Forest, deep into the tundra of Siberia and across the snowy hills of Lapland.
From North Africa and Siberia, this book illuminates the complicated relationship between Western civilisation and the 'Eastern' cultures it borrowed from, and the strange lives of our long lost fairy-tellers.