Ashtabula to go ‘From Grimm to Shrek’

Tessa Carroll

When a story begins with “Once upon a time…” most people know it’s going to end with “happily ever after.” But what happens in between?

The Ashtabula campus will host its second international literary conference tomorrow and Saturday on campus. The conference, “From Grimm to Shrek — And All the Ogres in Between,” will focus on folk and fairy tales and explore many aspects of them, including their psychological effects on both children and adults.

“The origins of the genre, its content, its intended audiences, and much more have come to be accepted as significant reflections of the history and culture of nations,” Ashtabula English instructor Joseph Zingaro said. “The tales must be viewed as museum pieces that preserve the memory of people and culture, but also as works in progress that contribute to the development of present day arts, beliefs, institutions, and other products of human work and thought.”

“From Grimm to Shrek” was organized for more than 18 months by associate English professor Deborah Bice, English instructor Rex Davis, and Zingaro.

“The group who is organizing this has done an excellent job bringing interesting literary conferences to the Ashtabula campus over the years,” said Frank Vaccariello, Ashtabula public relations coordinator. “This committee goes a long way in promoting to the community that we are a university and this kind of conference is one of the many events a university will hold.”

The conference will feature a keynote address by Valerie Paradiz, author of Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales, on Saturday at 1:15 p.m.

The conference will also feature sessions Friday evening and Saturday morning and afternoon covering topics ranging from how fairy tales originated to why they were so important in the development of children.

“Conference participants come from fields as diverse as literature, art, film, pop culture, business and technology,” Zingaro said. “The presenters will speak on subjects ranging from the Grimms to Disney, from films to computers, and from depression to enchantment.”

“From Grimm to Shrek” is open to the public with registration fees posted on the Ashtabula campus Web site Paradiz’s keynote address is free and open to the public.

Zingaro said even though the conference is of particular interest to those in the fields of oral and literary tale, anyone can attend and learn about the origins of a favorite fairy tale.

“University students ought to know that even in our technological age, there is no need to offer apologies for the genre,” he said. “The conference will be especially interesting for them since the genre’s influences on the minds of adults and children of all ages suggests the universality of its acceptance.”

Zingaro and his fellow organizers said they have high hopes for the conference.

“I would hope that the work of the conference participants, like the tales, is preserved to inform future scholars about us, our era, our biases, beliefs and influences,” he said.

There will be a welcome reception to kickoff the start of the conference in the Blue and Gold room tomorrow at 5 p.m. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday with a welcome by Dean Susan Stocker at 8 a.m.

For a full schedule of the weekend’s events, visit the Ashtabula Web site. For other information, contact Joe Zingaro at (440) 964-4285 or Frank Vaccariello at (440) 964-4248.

Contact regional campuses reporter Tessa Carroll at [email protected]