Latest post in my Storyworks Blog
Storytelling Starters ~ Ibanang Story 3
Good stories make good travellers. They can also contribute to the spread of storytelling. In both these respects, the story of Ibanang has proved of great personal worth for me. For instance, I'm sure it played a big part in bringing about the five-week storytelling trip to South Africa I was invited to make in 1992. This is how it came about.
Alan Kenyon was a wonderful man. When he began attending the Drill Hall workshops I used to run with my friend and colleague Karen Tovell, I learned that he was over here from South Africa on a sabbatical from his work as a teacher-trainer. Science was his subject and his project in the UK was to explore the potential of storytelling for the teaching of science. Alan and I got on well. But it's perfectly possible that no more would have come of our Drill Hall meetings had an extraordinary coincidence not come to light.
Shortly after I'd first met Alan, I was due to start a new storytelling course in Lambeth. The course was to be held in an out-of-the-way centre where I hadn’t previously worked. It was very badly advertised by Lambeth Adult Education and I had a sense that, quite possibly, no-one at all would turn up. And no-one did - except for Alan. His coming along gave us a welcome chance to talk and, as I drove him back into town, it turned out we had a friend in common: Lynne, had become one of my very dearest friends. By now, she was back in South Africa where she'd grown up and I'd become godmother to her daughter.
So when Paul and I went to Cape Town to visit Lynne and her family in February 1990 - justa day after Nelson Mandela was released from prison - we naturally got in touch with Alan. By then, he had formed a storytelling group that used to meet every month at his house. I was invited along to a meeting and found myself among a wonderful group – ethnically very diverse (which was unusual for South Africa at that time) and full of interesting characters.
At that meeting, Alan asked me to retell the story of Ibanang. He'd remembered it from a Drill Hall workshop and had already told it back in Cape Town at one of the storytelling group's meetings.
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And now some news of myself
I'm a professional storyteller and author. I used to experience some difficulty in pursuing both these rather different paths. By now, I'm equally happy to be storytelling or writing and find they enhance each other.
On the storytelling side, I'm happy to report that two recent performances have inspired me to feel I'd like to do similar sessions again. The first was an event at Waterstone's in Piccadilly, part of a storytelling series that is organised by June Peters and Bernard Kelly. My evening was entitled From the Land of the Magic / O Wlad Yr Hud. It wove together stories from my native Pembrokeshire, which is known as the land of the magic, with some of the stories behind the books I've written.
The second event was Enchanted Evening, a session of songs and stories performed in Fishguard in Pembrokeshire in which the stories were told by myself and the songs were sung by my husband Paul accompanied by David Pepper. As we'd hoped, the songs and stories went beautifully together, reflecting the magic of stars and skies and the varied powers of enchantment. It's the first such session we've done together for a long time and we're already planning more.
As to my work as a writer, I'm currently working on a third children's novel and I recently finished A Long Run in Short Shorts. This is a collection of my own personal tales. Some are short, some very short. Most of them are a bit quirky.But the collection reflects my strong belief that our personal tales are an essential part of the way in which as human beings we create our stories of ourselves. I've been looking for a publisher for the collection but without any luck so far. So I'm now at the stage of wondering whether to self-publish.
2014 saw the publication of Storytelling for a Greener World, contributed a book which makes an important contribution to thinking about environmental matters. Edited by Alida Gersie, the book includes a chapter from me on work I've done which shows how storytelling can contribute to environmental learning. Writing Voices by Teresa Cremin and Debra Myhill, published in 2012, includes a mini-chapter by me on storytelling in schools.
For a full list of my publications, including Shemi’s Tall Tales, my two children's novels and my two books on storytelling with children, please click on My Publications in the menu on the top left of this website. Here you will also find details of how to purchase my books directly from me.
As you can see from the top of this page, I also write and publish a weekly Blog under the title Storytelling Starters. If you wish, you can easily become a regular (and free) subscriber.
For further information on my career, including the Lifetime Achievement Award
I was given in 2013 by BASE (British Awards for Storytelling Excellence) please click on Read more about me
. And to know more about what I can offer you,
click on What I Can Do For You. An adult performance? A workshop? A school visit? Just be in touch to let me know where you are and what you want and we'll see if we can fix a booking.
And do please contact me
if you'd like any further information about what I can offer.