Bold, beautiful and spiky, Angela Readman’s stories are both magical and real. Following her acclaimed debut Don’t Try This at Home, in this new collection, she approaches the fairy tale with a scalpel. The Girls are Pretty Crocodiles reads like a love letter to girlhood and a ransom note to all the fairy tales we have been told. In her prize-winning work ‘The Story Never Told’, an illiterate woman sells fairy tales for a book she knows will never have her name on the cover. In ‘What’s Inside a Girl’, a class takes lessons on dating invisible girls.
Dark, funny and surreal, these stories explore, challenge and ultimately transform the traditional fairy tale narrative. Women learn to be origami, climb into swan skins, feed wolves, flip burgers and snog kelpies. In dazzling prose that remains matter-of-fact, these tales take to task the happy endings we have been sold.
Otherworldly, yet down to earth, The Girls are Pretty Crocodiles discovers the hidden voice in the stories we know and reveals the magic within working-class lives. These stories have teeth.
Angela Readman (born 1973) is a British poet and short story writer. Her debut story collection Don’t Try This at Home was published by And Other Stories in 2015. It won The Rubery Book Prize and was shortlisted in the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. She also writes poetry, and her collection The Book of Tides was published by Nine Arches in 2016. Something Like Breathing, Readman’s first novel, was published by And Other Stories in 2019.
Her second collection of short stories, The Girls Are Pretty Crocodiles, was published by Valley Press in April 2022.
Read: The Keeper of the Jackalopes, The Guardian
Review: The Girls Are Pretty Crocodiles Review, The Word Factory
Prompt: Imagine you have been sent an animal from the zoo to look after for the weekend. Start by describing the animal, then tell us what happens when you take it out of its box.