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Chichester professor named among world’s foremost fairy tale experts

A LEADING folklorist from the University of Chichester has spoken of his delight after being named among the top fairy tale scholars in the world.

Professor Bill Gray, who specialises in Literary History and Hermeneutics, was praised by popular digital magazine Mashable as part of a feature highlighting eight alternative fairy tales worthy of Hollywood adaptations.

The publication listed the scholar alongside famed folklore author Jack Zipes, who has previously lectured at Chichester, and Harvard University academic Maria Tatar, whose expertise lies in children's and German literature.

Professor Gray leads the University’s Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales, and Fantasy which provides a forum for writers and artists to explore folk narratives in print and film.

He said: “I was delighted to be involved in this piece in Mashable, and not just because I was named alongside Jack and Maria, who themselves are both on the advisory board of the Sussex Centre and the editorial board of its journal Gramarye.”

The article, published earlier this year, highlights Hollywood’s obsession of transforming fairy-tales into live-action films following the release of Disney blockbusters Into the Woods, Maleficent, and Cinderella.


This is a cause for concern, according to Professor Gray, who claims the lack of diversity in Disney fairy tale films and its mainly white cast members is "depressing."

He added: “I was delighted to work on this piece by Yohana Desta, who has highlighted the extent to which the Disney versions of fairy tales have tended to be dominated by white tales and white males.

“Yohana’s idea of listing fairy tales other than the usual European suspects to film is excellent, and I was pleased to help out on this.

“I hope Hollywood - and other film-makers - get the message and we see some films of fairy tales other than the usual European suspects endlessly repeated with contrived tweaks to meet an increasingly multicultural audience.”

To find out more about the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy visit or go

Alternatively to read the Mashable article with extracts from Professor Gray go to

Sussex Centre