Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

“What a cracking little book!!!”

March 19th, 2018

My new book, Storytelling and Story-Reading in Early Years, published by Jessica Kingsley, is now out.

Review in Child in Our Midst Newsletter by Mary Hawes:

“This readable, practical book not only provides tools for getting the best out of storytelling and reading sessions, but encourages parents to tell the stories of their family to their children. There’s even tools to help you deal with the horror of forgetting the story you’re telling! Well worth having on your bookshelf (but don’t leave it there – read and reread it!).

“What a cracking little book!!!!”

To buy your copy in UK/Europe,  simply click the first button below and follow the instructions



If you’re outside Europe (bit more expensive postage), please click the second button.

Storytelling Starters ~ Remembering

September 15th, 2018

Storytellers know that our personal stories are part of our bedrock as individuals. Not everyone we encounter may recognise it, but we all have them. One of the times they’re most in evidence is at funerals.  Here is where they are shared – stories of our personal connection with the one who has died, stories about that person one has heard and remembered, stories which that person used to tell and, of course, stories of particular incidents involving that person of which one was part.

A funeral to remember:

Yesterday was a time for listening and for telling. The funeral of our much-loved and hugely admired Kenneth Bowen was held in St David’s Cathedral where one of his sons had been organist for some years. The burial was in Fishguard at the burial ground of Hermon Baptist Chapel where, as he’d always said he wanted, he could be buried next to his mother who had died when he was aged just seven. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Such different things

September 8th, 2018

Two such different items for this week’s blog. One refers to an interview I did for Early Years TV. The other is about an important friend who died last Saturday and some of the reasons why the loss of him is so hard.

The interview:

The interview was with Kathy Brodie who runs Early Years TV. It happened earlier this year after my book, Storytelling and Story-Reading in Early Years, was published. I’ve always found it incredibly hard to look at myself on screen on any of the occasions when such a possibility has come up. But if you’d like to see the interview, what you can do is search here and from the interview options that come up, select the one with me.

The singer and friend:

Kenneth Bowen had a wonderful high tenor voice and also a great sense of humour. In his world-renowned career as a singer, he collected infinite numbers of stories of other singers, conductors and special occasions which it was always a treat to hear. But there were so many other things about him that make losing him feel so sad.

One of those is the personal connection which explains how Paul and I came to know him. Kenneth had strong connections with Fishguard, the small Pembrokeshire town where I was born. He was born in Llanelli but spent many summers in Fishguard with aunts and grandparents and his mother is buried there. So he’d go back there to visit from time to time. On one such occasion he went to see my redoubtable Aunty Mali not only because he knew her but because she was wanting to sell a piano which, in fact, Kenneth then bought for his son, now the organist of Hereford Cathedral. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Lucky/Unlucky

September 1st, 2018

A  Jewish American friend of mine has often told me that his father was the only undertaker in Chicago who never made any money. He lived on the West side (the poor bit) and was always too kind to his clients.

This same friend has also told me: ‘Life consists of three stages. You’re born, you suffer and you die.’ Then he adds with a shrug of his shoulders:  ‘I’m in the second stage myself.’

I thought about this very good friend this morning as I was lying in bed putting off getting up. He emerged in my memory – oh,  the way mind makes links! – just after a little story came into my mind. It was created by a young boy in a class I once worked with. This is the story more or less as he wrote it: Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Connections

August 25th, 2018

And the foot bone’s connected to the leg bone…. And the leg bone’s connected to the hip bone…. And the hip bone’s connected to the back bone….

And so on. We used to chant that song of connection as kids on the school bus coming back from events away. Another similar one comes to mind: the one about the old woman who lived on her own who would sit a-spinning of a night bemoaning about how lonely she felt….

Then in came a pair of great big feet – And set themselves down in front of the fire…. And still she sat and still she span, And still she wished for company…. Then in came a pair of thin, thin legs … etc etc etc.

Also what comes to mind is that wonderful story from Aboriginal Australia about the hand that goes for a walk and when she gets to a hill longs for a leg up. So one leg comes and then another etc etc etc Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ In Passing

August 18th, 2018

It could happen anywhere. Somebody is in need of directions. Yesterday it happened when Paul and I were on the top of the 159 bus on our way to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. In our seats at the front, we had good views of the vast crowds on Westminster Bridge, the gaggle of people at the end of Downing Street and, as we approached, the large number of people in Trafalgar Square.

I’d just finished retelling myself a mind-boggling little fact I learned while doing a research job for the Observer Magazine back in my early working life. It’s that before the statue of the man himself was raised to the top of Nelson’s Column, a dinner party was held on the plinth at the top. I’m not sure who the dinner was for,  presumably the architects and other top-noddies. But evidently there were proper chairs and a dining table properly laid with tablecloth, silver cutlery and no doubt crystal glasses. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Stars

August 11th, 2018

How fantastic it can be to see stars whether in the night sky or on stage. Stars in the sky are a thrill: as you look, they seem to call you up to the sky to join them. On stage, stars give out a similarly thrilling kind of brightness. This week, I saw and heard some very special ones at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, the Welsh National Eisteddfod in Cardiff. What was especially exciting about the particular three I’m thinking about right now is that they were all under 21 years old.

Eisteddfod is an interesting word. Eistedd in Welsh means sit or sitting. Bod (mutated here to fod) means being. So, to me, the word eisteddfod immediately summons up the sense of people sitting together, being together. It brings with it a strong feeling of community and also a big sense of expectation. What is going to happen? Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Sussurations

August 4th, 2018

Funny how one does – and doesn’t! – do things. Yesterday I took the step of entering Peach Blossom Story in my Google search box. Up came numerous links to a restaurant called Peach Blossom. But there were also listings that led to one of my most treasured stories. I know it as Peach Blossom Forest. I’ve long been aware that it’s a very ancient  Chinese story and in my almost as ancient and extremely scruffy storytelling notebook are five or six lines of translated-into-English Chinese poetry that are associated with it.

Peach Blossom Forest is one of the two main stories I told at our Summer Enchantment performance at Peppers in Fishguard this last Wednesday evening. (The other was last week’s story, The Stolen Child.) But – and this is perhaps the odd bit – I’d never until yesterday felt I needed to know anything more about this story than the story itself. Indeed, I’ve long treasured it almost as my own tale, so personal and private that I’m not sure I’ve ever told it before. But yesterday, reflecting on the tale as if from afar after reading about it on Google, I realised how strongly my private feelings about the story – more generally known, I see now, as Peach Blossom Spring – reflect the story itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starter ~ The Stolen Child

July 28th, 2018

Peppers is in Fishguard, the Pembrokeshire town of my birth and the first 14 years of my life. It’s also the venue for Summer Enchantment, the evening of songs and stories which Paul and I will be performing next Wednesday, August 1st, with David Pepper at the piano.

Paul will be singing the songs. I’m planning to tell two main stories plus a couple of short ones. One of the big ones is the story I know as The Stolen Child. It’s a Scottish story which I’ve relocated to the Pembrokeshire coast. If you might possibly be there on August 1st, perhaps you should stop reading now. On the other hand, does it matter if, when you start hearing a story, you realise you already know it? I don’t think so. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ The Listening Room

July 21st, 2018

Hall Place is a Tudor house in Bexley. It was built in 1537, it has beautiful stonework and large gardens, including some very lovely trees, and yesterday a friend took me there to visit.

An aspect of our visit that interested me greatly was the large room upstairs which, for three years during the Second World War, had been The Listening Room. It’s where twenty GIs spent their days, eight hours a day for seven days in a row before they were allowed a day off. Headphones on, their task during each of those seven days was to listen via their headphones to German military talk and to transcribe it before sending it on to Bletchley to be decoded. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Starters ~ Saying ‘No’

July 14th, 2018

‘Not in my name’ is the phrase that has frequently come into my mind of late. Now what often arrives there is simply ‘No’. Especially to Donald Trump, his appalling treatment of migrants and children, his dismissal of so many vital issues such as protecting the environment and his ignorant rudeness, including to Teresa May (whose policies I also cannot abide).

Yesterday was the day of protest. Trump vaingloriously trumpets his ownership of so many properties in Scotland and Ireland (thankfully not Wales) and seems to feel boastful pride in acknowledging that there will be public outcry against him. That’s no reason not to protest. Read the rest of this entry »