Fairytale for your fierce princess






THIS 2021 STORYLINES Gavin Bishop Awardwinning picture book is a delightful contemporary fairytale about an independent princess, who looks after a very special lighthouse lamp, fishes off the balcony and goes swimming with seals. The Lighthouse Princess is poet Susan Wardell's debut picture book — a celebration of independence and friendship, with magical and award-winning illustrations by Rose Northey. We asked Susan a few questions: Tell us a little about your book. The Lighthouse Princess is a contemporary fairytale, with a really magical setting, and wonderful illustrations. It's blends the twin pleasures of the “cosy” and the “adventurous”, to tell a story about an independent princess, with a purposeful life, who is ready to open up her world up in new ways when a storm puts a nearby boat in jeopardy. What research was involved? I did some reading and reflection around the norms of fairytale genres, and plenty of searching for other contemporary stories about fierce young girls — which was also part and parcel of having a fierce and wild young daughter, who I wanted to feed up well with stories full of possibility and power. I also did some reading and reflection about lighthouses: as they had featured in my own childhood, and in other children's literature and film. What is the favourite book you have read this year and why? Nina Mingya-Powles' Small Bodies of Water, which is an essay collection with absolutely stunning writing, that took me to new places, but was also felt startlingly familiar in other ways. The themes of ocean, water and swimming, seems to be fairly common to NZ literature (and beyond, of course) and on my mind a lot lately. What projects are you working on next? I always have a lot of projects on the go, across heaps of different genres, so it depends which one jostles its way to the front of the queue next!