Fierce Fairytales

Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul


By Nikita Gill

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$11.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 11, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Poet, writer, and Instagram sensation Nikita Gill returns with a collection of fairytales poetically retold for a new generation of women.

Traditional fairytales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.

But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.

Complete with beautifully hand-drawn illustrations by Gill herself, Fierce Fairytales is an empowering collection of poems and stories for a new generation.


A Universal Truth

We all have storms and stories

inside our starmade bodies

that even the night sky cannot hold.


This is why we are on this earth;

to learn how to love and each other,

to learn how to love and hold ourselves.

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time,

Matter dreamed up an idea.


It was a small hopeful dream

a thought with the wings of the fairy.


But as with all things full of hope

it would be terribly difficult to birth.


Several events needed to come together

in the millisecond of the time it took to build Earth.


It depended on a 1 in 102,685,000 chance of existing.

A 1 in 20,000 chance meeting between two beings.


An ancestral heritage that goes back 4 billion years

all the way to single-celled organisms.


And only then can this idea be so finely crafted

into a gift with actual presence.


Imagine how much the universe must have loved

this thing to make it happen.


Imagine how many stars gave up their hearts

to bring this into fluid motion.


Does it make you curious?

Make you wonder what could be so marvellous?


That ideait was you.

You are the universe’s fairytale come true.

Once Upon a Time II

But the universe never promised

you this would be easy,

after all, you are the hero here.


And heroes are meant

to be forged golden

from the blaze.


It is up to you to rise again

from the fragmented shards

your foes left of you.


You must lift a sword

with reborn strength and take on

the demons in your ribcage.


You must devastate the chains

every violent person

has brutally placed on you.


And you must show them all

how they were simply

characters in your story.


But you, you are the author

of this spellbinding tale

built of hope and bravery.


Out there may be monsters, my dear.

But in you still lives the dragon

you should always believe in.

For the Cynic

Our current cosmic address

is a small flying piece of rubble

travelling through an endless black void,

surrounded inexplicably

by seven other pieces of flying rubble.


All of these pieces harmoniously

rotate around the same giant fireball

without ever crashing into each other,

or hurtling themselves

into said fireball.


And if that isn’t random enough,

out of all those pieces of rubble

ours is the only one that sustains

an environment that gives life

to billions of different life forms,


including a multitude

of flowering plants

and oxygen-giving trees,

a plethora of wildlife,

and eight billion human beings.


And somehow,

you still

genuinely think

that magic does not exist,

that fairytales aren’t real,


that the way people

find each other

at just the right time

at just the right moment

isn’t the most powerful sorcery.

Somewhere Across the Universe, This Intergalactic Fairytale Is Being Told

In the far corner of the Virgo supercluster, a small galaxy called the Milky Way exists, and in one of the further spirals of that galaxy there is said to be a tiny planet called Earth. At a cursory glance, there is nothing seemingly unique about this planet, even though it is simply beautiful, cloaked in calypso blue with an oscillating belt of green. It is, in fact, one of millions like it that live in just this universe.


The extraordinary thing about this planet though, are the beings that exist on it. They have been through war after war. Empires that promised to burn brighter than their resident star, the sun, and disappeared in the blink of an eye. Savage rulers, dictators have destroyed entire portions of it, and yetthey simply refuse to stop existing, it is like they have this treasured thing within them to keep them surviving, and to keep knowing.


Look closer now, oh passer-by, look closer at these beings. They are survivors with a sense of awe and curiosity at everything around them. Sometimes they have lost their way, but this is a thing they never seem to lose, because they are so full of potential.


Promise. This planet may be called Earth, but it should have been called Promise.


If you do not believe this little story, and dismiss it as a silly old wives’ tale, a thing which cannot possibly exist, then I hope you come upon their legendary message. You see, 40 years ago, these beings sent out a message on a space probe that has travelled 20.5 billion kilometres, hoping to meet one of us in space. In it lies a message, the definition of this entire species, and it reads simply:


This is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts, and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.


The Voyager is still out there, waiting for someone to come upon it. Maybe that someone is you. Maybe you will remind that species of the greatness that lies in their potential, their promise. Maybe you will be the being that turns that fairytale planet of promise into an intergalactic legend of green and blue.

A Tale of Two Sisters

In the beginning, there was oblivion.

A vastness, and an abyss comprised

of darkness and nothingness

 … until there were two sisters.


One was made from the interconnectedness

of all things, a precipice of stories,

a treasury of things gone and things to come.

Her name was Cosmos.


The other was made from the tricorn

of darkness, black magic waiting to be born,

inkwells of feral power and rebel thoughts.

Her name was Chaos.


Before they had floated into the abyss,

as all celestial beings were left to do in the end,

their father told them to be a binary system,

to never ever let go of each other.


He warned them that together they could

build everything, but apart, nothing could exist.

So the two came together and imagined a tapestry

of moving, living stars that inhaled around each other.


They pictured impossible things like planets

that help thousands of different beings

and balls of fire to keep them warm

and whole atmospheres to help them breathe.


And this was how the love of two sisters

wrote the first ever eternal poem into magical

loving existence. A single poem

they christened, ‘The Uni-verse’.

The Fable in Thermodynamics

The first law of thermodynamics states this:

‘energy can neither be created nor destroyed.’


Which is that everything around us is recycled energy:

you, me, your dog, those we love and those we avoid.


Which is to say that the energy that makes us

is as ancient as the beginning of time itself.


Which is to say that our bones could have been

fragmented together from the ashes of the library of Alexandria.


Which is to say our sinews and spine were crafted from the

end of a hundred-year-old oak tree and our smiles a comet.


Which is to say our hearts could be Achilles’ spirit

when he battled at Troy, bringing his enemies down with it.


Which is to say, when we feel like life is overwhelming,

we must remember that we’re just sparks of energy borrowing skin.


That no matter how much this pain feels everlasting,

this is just the temporary fabric we are in.

The Woods Reincarnated

We traded the woods for high-rises,

the wolf became the boy next door,

soft brown eyes and close-lipped smiles

to hide the flash of fangs instead of teeth.

The huntsman became the ‘nice’ man

that happened to live down the street

whose laugh never quite reached his eyes,

and the beaten track gets hazy

between grandmother and beast.

I wonder where the wildest things go

when the devilled copse is no longer there.

When the forest paths

become the backstreets of a city,

where predators learn a sweeter language

accented with false niceties.

The stories where little girls

need to be street-smart to survive

and sometimes they don’t win,

sometimes it’s the wolf that thrives.

What happens to the fairytale

when the woods have been replaced by cities;

and a concrete jungle that comes to life?

Whispers from the Wicked Woods

Where are the stories for the wicked girls,

the ones where they are told perfection is a lie?


Where are the legends fashioned from nuance,

the ones that cause the hero and the villain to blur lines?


Where are the myths for darker things,

the ones of us who were never snow-white pure?


Where are the lessons for naughty children,

the ones who want to be lost in the forest and folklore?


If you’re looking for secrets you will find them here,

these words have been resurrected from old fairytales’ ruins.


This is the place where those stories come to be reborn

and from the wreckage emerge things

more human than humans.

The Miller’s Daughter

The queen addresses her firstborn

after the fall of Rumpelstiltskin:


Maybe magic ends with me

and it will never cross your path

but I want you to remember

that survival is an art.

The world is falsehood

so you rely on your smarts.


Princes fail all the time.

Passion sometimes goes cold.

And princesses on days of fortune

can turn straw into gold.

Kind kings become greedy

and dragons can have soft souls.


Fairies cast the wrong spells,

mermaids can be drowned,

goblins and trolls can be heroes

and giants can fall without a sound,

and even the darkest things can be defeated

once their names are spoken out loud.

Half of Rumpelstiltskin Seeks Redemption

Half of Rumpelstiltskin

speaks to the Miller’s Daughter:


Since tearing myself in two,

the half of me that remains

has been learning how to grow

and craft an apology worthy of you.


I offer no tricks, only regret

for not understanding in my childhood

that guilt is sometimes necessary,

a way to remember good and never forget.


I have heard that excuses make

for bad apologies, so I’ll stop there.

All I want to say is this: I am sorry

but I do not say it for forgiveness’ sake.

There are no asterisks here.

Your feelings are completely valid,

you are under no obligation to pardon me,

I have yet to earn it for putting you through fear.


What I am trying to say is,

I know now that becoming kind

is worth every single exhausting effort

and sometimes it takes a thousand years.


Today, I apologised to someone

I owe an ocean full of amends to.

Tomorrow, I will teach myself


  • "If you're not already familiar with Gill, you should be. The British-Indian writer has been called "the voice of the generation"--and with 441,000-and-counting followers on Instagram alone, she just might be."—Bustle
  • "Strikingly relatable.... [Nikita Gill is] one of the most celebrated poets of this generation."—Marie Claire
  • "Most traditional fairytales suck.... But Nikita Gill's Fierce Fairytales picks apart these old-fashioned tropes and reimagines the classics with a 2018 twist. Because princesses can be fearless, too."—HelloGiggles
  • "Nikita's writing seamlessly blends entertaining poetic narratives with highly inspirational messages. Her creativity in transforming classic fairytales makes for an engaging read--especially for women. These poems and stories will leave you feeling empowered and wanting to see more work from this incredibly talented writer."—YourTango

On Sale
Sep 11, 2018
Page Count
176 pages
Hachette Books

Nikita Gill

About the Author

Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and poet living in the south of England. With a huge online following, her words have entranced hearts and minds all over the world.

Instagram: @nikita_gill
Facebook: @nikitagillwrites
Twitter: @nktgill

Learn more about this author