Tag Archives: Steve Toase

Guest Post : So Leben Sie Noch Heute by Steve Toase

So Leben Sie Noch Heute: An exhibition of contemporary European illustrated versions of Brothers Grimm Fairytales

International Youth Library, Munich

Hans pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket, wrapped up the lump in it, put it on his shoulder, and set out on the way home.  (Hans in Luck)

I make no secret that the International Youth Library in Munich is one of my favourite places on earth. How could it not be? A library housed in a 17th century castle that’s home to a children’s lending library (you want a child interested in reading? Take them to a library in a castle), the Michael Ende Museum, and the magical Binette Schroeder Kabinette. The International Youth Library is a very special place.

In the past the library has played host to shows featuring work by Shaun Tan, Chris Riddell and many others. All their exhibitions are well thought out, beautiful explorations of stories and artworks from children’s books. The current show is something a bit special.

They walked through the night and the entire next day, and then, exhausted, they fell asleep. They walked another day, but they could not find their way out of the woods. (Hansel and Gretel)

The exhibition at the moment is about The Brothers Grimm. While there is a certain iconic style associated with the stories (picturesque gingerbread houses and endless forests), the show highlights how the stories collected by Jacob and Willhelm can be located anywhere and still have resonance. This is clear from the moment when you turn a corner to be confronted by an enlarged version of a Roberto Innocenti illustration showing Red Riding Hood descending a staircase into a graffiti covered hallway.


One of the first information panels on the way into the exhibition explains that the Grimm fairytales all broadly have a five stage structure;

  • The departure of the main character.
  • Following their way. On the move.
  • Toward a test.
  • The temptation, threat, or even the loneliness of exile can overcome the main character at this critical time.
  • To a happy ending.

“Oh, grandmother, what big hands you have!”

“All the better to grab you with!” (Red Riding Hood)

This ties into a series of small panels hanging throughout the room that give examples for each stage, drawing on stories like Snow White, The Wolf and the Seven Baby Goats, and Hansel and Gretel.

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What always amazes me with the exhibitions at the International Youth Library is the richness and variety of displays in a single show. The Brothers Grimm exhibition is no different. Dioramas show scenes from Snow White, and Red Riding Hood (including one with a real taxidermy wolf, a red hat caught on a nearby branch). Books are displayed with artefacts from their story. A beautiful version of the Town Musicians of Bremen by Claudio Palamarucci showing the robbers as suit wearing businessmen is displayed with work ties draped over the pages. A display copy of The Wolf and the Seven Baby Goats is shown with a  rounded pebble like the ones that lead to the wolf’s comeuppance in the story.



It was not long before she opened her eyes, threw up the cover of the coffin,  and sat up, alive and well. (Snow White)

Another exhibition case collects together versions of Red Riding Hood that only use a red and black colour scheme, a display that has far more impact than a single book.


The whole exhibition is designed to help children discover the beauty and joy of these stories. Nowhere is that more evident than in the small crooked wooden hut that stands partway into the show, a basket of books waiting to be read outside. This hut is a place straight out of a fairytale, just for children to sit in, read the books and immerse themselves in these magical worlds. Stories that might have the same five stage structure underlying them but contain infinite possibilities.

Between the exploration of the structure behind the Grimm fairytales, the dioramas and the artwork, all wrapped up in a castle, the International Youth Library is a perfect place to first encounter these stories or explore them for the hundredth time and discover something new.

…and they lived very happily together until their lives’ end. (Sleeping Beauty)



photo steve toase

Photo by Layla Legard

Steve Toase was born in North Yorkshire, England, and now lives in Munich, Germany. 

He writes regularly for Fortean Times, Folklore Thursday, and Daily Grail.

His fiction has appeared in Shimmer, Lackington’s, Aurealis, Not One Of Us, Cabinet des Feés and Pantheon Magazine amongst others. In 2014 Call Out (first published in Innsmouth Magazine) was reprinted in The Best Horror Of The Year 6, and two of his stories have just been selected for Best Horror of the Year 11.

He also likes old motorbikes and vintage cocktails.

You can keep up to date with his work via

https://www.patreon.com/stevetoase, www.tinyletter.com/stevetoase, facebook.com/stevetoase1, www.stevetoase.wordpress.com and @stevetoase


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Shortlisted for Saboteur Awards

Congratulations and good luck to Haunt on being shortlisted for the 2016 Saboteur Awards.

In Haunt’s own words:

“Harrogate is known for its past as a wealthy spa town, and still has a reputation as a genteel place of tea rooms and flower shows.

This is not the Harrogate of everyone. For some people this idealised history is a haunting presence in their lives. In the fabric of buildings where they live in one room, or the parks where they sleep. Their experiences are muffled beneath the dominant voice of Harrogate.

Haunt explores how people who are homeless, or bedsit residents, live inside these ghosts of the town’s past. Haunt gives people a place to tell stories not normally heard within the accepted narrative of the town and bring them to a wider audience.”




This weekend we received the fantastic news that Haunt is shortlisted for the 2016 Saboteur Awards in the category of Best Collaborative Work.

To just get shortlisted in such good company is brilliant, but to win would be amazing.

So many people have collaborated on Haunt, from our lead writers, Steve and Becky (who have both experinced homelessness and vulnerable housing themselves, and Tessa Gordziejko and Elenid Davies from Imove, to Paul Floyd Blake who took the photos for the anthology.

We have also collaborated with Bean and Bud to exhibit Paul Floyd Blake’s photos alongside writing from the project, with Harrogate Homeless Project and Foundation UK to find participants who wanted to be part of Haunt. Bean and Bud, and Corrina’s Homeless and Vulnerable Project let us host pop-up readings. Harrogate Museums have included work from Haunt in their Harrogate Stories exhibition, putting the experiences of our participants at…

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Grave Goods

Albedo One Issue 46Issue 46 of Albedo One is now available. It contains fiction by Liz Williams, Bruce McAllistair, Erika Viktor, Gary Every and Tom W. Jackson. I am proud to be included with my short story, “Grave Goods.”

It also features an interviews with Hugo Award-winning hard science fiction author Will McIntosh and  horror author Jeffrey Thomas, as well as review columns by Juliet E. McKenna and George Anderson.

Cover art by Richard Wagner.

It’s available in pdf and will shortly be available in ebook (.mobi and .epub versions) and print.


Father had left grave goods to help Child. Her bow and arrows. A votive offering of his flint knife. Not the carved ceremonial one but the one he used everyday. His labour was in the edge that he ground and polished to keep it sharp.
Child got up. The burial chamber was spacious enough to accommodate a large gathering. Side chambers contained her ancestors’ bones, their flesh in various states of decay. Father said they’d help her.
The whole tribe would file into the tomb on the Solstice, down the long corridor that channelled the sun. They would commune with their history, bringing the remains into the central chamber. Child thought that she’d be greeted by bones that were full of light and song but was disappointed to see that, like Mother, they were empty shells.
Child traced out the patterns on the walls that the tribe had pecked out. There were the stories of the wind and rain. Of stars and sun. She knew which marks were her father’s.
You are the best of us, Father had said when he told them what they needed to do. His lips were grey as he spoke. You are my first and only child. You are our finest.
It was getting brighter inside the chamber. Child thought it was moonlight coming down the passageway. She was wrong. The light was already inside. The gods were here.

-Grave Goods.


I owe a thank you to writer and archaeologist, Steve Toase, who directed me to some very useful text books on the neolithic period.

Steve’s fiction has appeared in Cabinet de Fees’ Scheherezade’s Bequest, Pantheon Magazine, Innsmouth Magazine, Jabberwocky Magazine, to name a few. He’s also been reprinted in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Volume 6.

He does a flash fiction challenge at the end of each year- writing a piece each day for a month. If you want a treat, head over here, where he published them each week running up until the end of Dec 2015.

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Steve Toase: Three Things I Don’t Write About and Three Things I do

Steve Toase has got back to me with his post to Three Things I Don’t Write About and Three Things I Do.

I won’t mark him down for tardiness 🙂

His short story, Call Out , was included in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Volume 6.

You can find out more about him and his work at his Facebook page and his website.


Three things I don’t write about (and three things I do)

I’ve been tagged by the marvellous Carole Johnstone for this blog hop. Carole has been nominated for a British Fantasy Award for her fantastic short story, “Signs of the Times”. TTA have recently published her latest novella, “Cold Turkey”.

So, what don’t I write about?

I know I’m playing fast and loose with the question here but I don’t/can’t write humour (but I wish I did). I love a bit of gallows humour. “Shark! Shark!” by Ray Cluley made me laugh out loud, as did Carole Johstone’s “Cold Turkey”. It’s a skill to be able to grant the reader that relief from the darkness and it acts as a great counterpoint.

There are comic actors that are so good at their craft that they can elevate their part beyond caricature.  They switch from comedy to pathos seamlessly. They’re the whole package and I feel that way about authors that can walk that line.

Again, this may seem like a fudge, but I can’t/don’t write poetry  (but wish that I did). I don’t even understand most poetry but the bits that I do get blow my mind. I envy the ability to write succinctly and distill an image/emotion into a single line. I know authors do this to some extent but to have a real grasp of the rhythm of words and real economy would make me a better writer. In “Zen and the Art of Writing”, Ray Bradbury said that all poetry is compacted metaphor or simile and that every writer should read poetry. Even if they don’t get it, their synapses will. I like that.

Here’s the reason it may seem that I’ve been evasive in my answers. In a world of protocols, guidelines, directives and deadlines, writing is my freedom. I like the idea that eveything is on the table. I don’t have to censor myself. I’m happy to tackle tropes when they can help me express what I need to say- “Sweetpea” (a vampire story about child abuse), “Fishskins” (a mermaid story about marital love) and “The Fox Maiden” (a shape shifter story about the suppressed self). I haven’t got anything against zombies, but I’ve yet to think of an original take on or use for them.

And what do I write about?

This is going to sound banal, but I’ m a simple creature and want to keep this simple. If it doesn’t move me, then I can’t write about it. If it doesn’t press my buttons, if I’m not in love with it or disturbed by it, then it doesn’t work. Writing is free therapy. People who know me well know what bits of my work are real, albeit in a veiled form. I need a bit of my own truth on which to build my fiction. In short, I write about my inner freak. Or at least from my inner freak.

I got to the end of my latest story, “The Rising Tide”, and realised that I’d called my protagonist Cariad. It’s Welsh for darling. Priya is Hindi for darling. And Freud says there are no accidents.

Many of my stories are set firmly in the present, but I’m partial to a bit of historical fantasy/alternative history/mythology. I enjoy researching for a new story and then skewing what I’ve learnt for my own needs. It’s the escapist in me. I can play dress up in my head and go anywhere in my personal time machine.

I hope that relationships are at the heart of everything that I write. Bewildering, messy, difficult relationships. They’re the biggest puzzle of all. Ideas are exciting but without relationships my stories would fall apart. If I’ve failed to convince you of what my characters are feeling (and what I’m feeling) in  my writing, then I’ve failed.


I’ve been greedy about handing on the baton.

Steven J  Dines ‘s numerous stories have appeared in Black Static, Interzone and Crimewave (yes, he’s one of the TTA triathletes). He never fails to impress me, but my personal favourite is “The Sound of Constant Thunder” (Black Static issue 37). I hope to see more of his work all over the place this year.

Sean Demory  The first piece of work that I ever read by Sean Demory was “The Ballad of the Wayfaring Stranger and the Dead Man’s Whore”. It got an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Volume 5.  I think he’s a superb stylist of the weird. He’s the sort of writer that makes me wonder what he’ll produce next.

Steve Toase is an archeologist and author. Steve’s story, “Call Out” is  quite rightly getting rave reviews following its appearance in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Volume 6.

Sharon Kae Reamer is a seismologist and author who is currently working on a mammoth five book epic that mixes science with magic. The first three volumes of Schattenreich series are now available.

Neil Murton  is truly economical- he produces little gems of flash fiction. I particularly like his reinvention of King Arthur as Arfa, a scrawny young girl. A collection of his work will soon be out in paperback, but you can suscribe to his site and get regular stories in your inbox.











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