Telling Queer Tales: The Circus Rose with Betsy Cornwell

If you missed it, here’s our discussion with Betsy Cornwell about her upcoming book, The Circus Rose, telling LGBTQ+ YA stories, and the importance of reimagining fairytales for modern-day.

This June 13th conversation was our first in an ongoing series of virtual events featuring authors from all over the world discussing their inspirations and their impact on a variety of genres.


Betsy Cornwell is a New York Times bestselling author living in west Ireland. She is the story editor and a contributing writer at Parabola, and her short-form writing includes fiction, nonfiction, and literary translation and has appeared in Fairy Tale ReviewZahir TalesLuna Luna, and elsewhere. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. from Smith College.

☆ “Dazzling.” – Kirkusstarred review: Betsy’s forthcoming novel The Circus Rosea queer retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” in poetry and prose, is releasing on June 16, 2020. Preorder The Circus Rose here.

The Forest Queen is a lyrical, female-centered retelling of Robin Hood. ☆ “With all the traditional players naturally recast as women, it becomes a fiercely female, feminist take on the traditional legend. It’s a lush, lovely exploration of the bonds of a community as one girl learns about her own privilege, and, eventually, her strength.” – Booklist, starred review

Venturess (2017) “hits a sweet spot for fairy tale and steampunk lovers alike” (Booklist)Praise for this fantasy adventure novel includes a Kirkus star and glowing reviews from VOYA and School Library Journal. Venturess is an Amazon Editors’ Pick for the best young adult books of August 2017.

Mechanica was published in 2015 and has featured on several best of the year lists, including’s Best Young Adult Books and USA Today‘s Must-Read Romances. In a starred review, Kirkus called this retelling of Cinderella “a smart, refreshing alternative to stale genre tropes.”

Betsy’s debut novel Tides was published in 2013 to critical acclaim including a place in the Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year and a Bisexual Book Awards nomination.  ☆ “Cornwell’s auspicious debut weaves historical fantasy together with sensual romance.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

Betsy is currently working on a sixth novel that will be announced shortly.

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