Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Fairy Godfather Appears; Shaun Micallef Sidesteps into the Forest of Family Fiction, Taking His Trademark Humour with Him

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Fairy Godfather Appears; Shaun Micallef Sidesteps into the Forest of Family Fiction, Taking His Trademark Humour with Him

Article excerpt

Byline: Letea Cavander

LEFT in a room for 24 hours with all his personal belongings taken away and no writing materials, Shaun Micallef concocted a story about a monkey that wanted to be a master of the universe.

The comedian was filming scenes for his documentary on spirituality but what also came of the isolation room was a book of fairytales, Micallef-style.

Tales from a Tall Forest focuses on some of the more obscure or peripheral characters of popular fairytales.

Micallef considered the builders who were approached by the witch to build the gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel or a royal woodsman that got lumped with killing Snow White because the royal huntsman called in sick.

"I thought maybe if I could get all these peripheral characters together in one place, I could link all the stories together," he said.

The comedian, who will return to Aussie television screens as the host of a reincarnation of Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation on Channel 9 next year, said he did not write the book with children in mind.

"I don't know how to write to a particular audience, I just writeand hope people get one or two or half a level out of it," he said.

"I know the stories I read when I was very young, there was no sort of pandering to my age group. It was just sort of if you understand this you understand it and if you don't go and ask an adult."

Although the odd reference to basic economic theories or the bubonic plague may go over some younger readers' heads, the book still provided enough interesting and at times mean-spirited characters to keep them entertained.

Micallef, 55, hoped reading the tale became a family activity.

"It's probably going to be read by adults to children and I guess by a kid who is not too scared to come across a word they don't understand and go and ask mum and dad, which is what I used to do," he said.

"I like the fact the family might get involved in the experience of the book.

"Without sounding too pretentious, the stories I've tried to tell are hopefully about something real, about greed or pride."

When asked what continued to surprise him most about the human condition, Micallef said he was not surprised when he was disappointed by a person's inhumanity. …

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