Story by Emma Myers~ Copy Editor
Kelly Ann Jacobson and Addie Tsai discussing their books photographed by Emma Myers.
In honor of LGBTQ+ History month, the University of Lynchburg’s Lynchburg Q hosted a book reading/signing featuring authors of LGBTQ+ retellings of classic stories called “From Folklore to Frankenstein: Queer Subversive Retellings Of Kelly Ann Jacobson and Addie Tsai.”
They read from each of their books, Jacobson’s Robin and Her Misfits and Tsai’s Unwieldy Creatures (which was nominated for a Shirley Jackson award for Best Novel).
Robin And Her Misfits is a retelling of the classic Robinhood, and is about a queer biker gang of six young girls, set in a trailer park.
Unwieldy Creatures is a retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, about an IVF geneticist who creates a life without the use of sperm.
Tsai detailed their experiences in researching Frankenstein’s monster, emphasizing the importance of staying true to the original character and story, while translating other parts of the story to fit with more modern ideals.
They talked about their take on the gender roles reinforced in the original, and how important it is to demonstrate the diversity and inclusion that can be an enriching part of the story. In their own words, “Unwieldy Creatures is a love letter to Mary Shelley.”
Meanwhile, Jacobson detailed her disdain for J.M. Barrie’s original Peter Pan, saying that she did the opposite of everything Barrie did in his original in one of her books Tink And Wendy. She wanted to challenge his original ideals, flipping the gender roles to make the story more nuanced and commentative. In Robin And Her Misfits, she wanted to highlight a plethora of issues and tropes, including found family, disability inclusion, etc..
They each spoke about the importance of having a sensitive reader, especially when discussing the heavier topics, like cultures, sexualities and disabilities they do not have lived experience in. It was obviously very important to both of them to handle each topic with as much love, care and respect as possible.
Alexis Paschke, freshman, said, “Both of them spoke so wonderfully and eloquently. I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.”
Freshman Ellie Simmers enjoyed the reading as well. “I really liked the book reading and I thought it was really cool to have a queer safe space at Lynchburg,” added Simmers.
To see more events happening at Lynchburg, check out the School of Humanities’ Instagram Page.