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Bethany O’Brien

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

ONCE UPON A CUR(S)E: Disability and fractured prosthesis in contemporary fairy tale retellings

I am researching the representation of disability in contemporary fairy tale retellings by examining the changes, alterations and erasures made to disables characters. I am particularly interested in when ableist tropes or plotlines are still used in a contemporary retelling but are altered to serve a different function to earlier versions of the tale.

Research Area

  • Creative Writing
  • Languages and Literature


Light Perception, Wild Pressed Books2019

I Left the Room Burning, Wild Pressed Books, 2021.

The Earth is a Bookcase, Black Pear Press, 2021.

Catching Sight, Blanket Sea Press, 2021. 

I Chase Lightning, Black Pear Press, 2022.  

Public Engagement & Impact

In February 2022, I started a website called Disabled Tales. This is a place for disabled people to share their connections, thoughts and pet-peeves surrounding the representation of disability in fairy tales and folklore. It accepts thoughts, essays, articles, anecdotes, poems and fiction. By accepting formal and informal styles of writing, I hope to encourage as many people as possible to join in the discussion!

Disabled Tales is on twitter: @DisabledTales

Other Research Interests

Disability studies

Fairy tales

Contempary fiction