Nikita Gill’s ‘Fierce Fairytales’ Challenges Gender Tropes in Classic Fairytales

Once upon a time, fairytales were good friends to everyone. Once upon a time, they accompanied us in our childhood and nourished us when we stepped into the adult world. Once upon a time, the story of a handsome and brave prince on his journey to save the beautiful but bewitched princess was strongly and vividly imprinted in our heads. Once upon a time, every boy was taught to be that prince and nearly every girl dreamed of becoming the princess. But today, the stereotypes in fairytales are changing and author Nikita Gill is helping to reframe the narrative.


Nikita Gill’s Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul is a book about “Once upon a time” but in a different way. The book’s publisher, Hachette Books, said that Gill, “gives ‘Once Upon a Time’ a much-needed modern makeover.” 


Emma Smith, the book’s editor, also commented on Gill’s effort of empowering the feminist thinking and bypassing negativee gender tropes found in fairytales.

Fairytale tropes are long overdue a 21st century feminist update, and Nikita has skillfully delivered nuanced characters, deconstructed damaging myths, and has gotten under the skin of toxic masculinity. This collection will not just be a thing of beauty, but will be a book to light up the minds of generations to come. 



Image via Nikita Gill’s Instagram



Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and poet living in the south of England. Her published books includes Your Soul is a River (2016) and Wild Embers (2017). 

I’m excited to read her new book because I’ve seen how Gill unfold the girl power by re-telling the stories. No matter whether you like her version of the fairytales or not, the fact is she has already turned to the new page of feminism just like her Instagram poetry indicates:


NG little red riding hood

 Image via Nikita Gill’s Instagram


Here, we see Gill challenging the stereotypical characterization of female fairytale characters using female characters from Game of Thrones. She empowers the fragile little red riding hood into a strong beast-who says an angelic girl who embarks on her journey to her grandma’s house cannot be as fierce and strong as a wolf? And, who says that a monster is always the evil one who needs to devour the good girls? Sharing her upcoming Fierce Fairytales, I appreciate Gill’s performative and audacious writing which blurs the patriarchal and stereotypical boundaries between boys and girls.



See more Nikita Gill’s thoughts regarding gender stereotypes via her essay “The Fairytales I Will Tell My Daughters”.



Featured Image via Nikita Gill’s Facebook and