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10 things you might not know about storytelling


With the aim of promoting awareness of the art and history of storytelling and to highlight the significant knowledge of its storytelling authors, The History Press will be publishing a variety of new content during National Storytelling Week, 28th Jan - 4th Feb 2017.

Professional storyteller Cath Little kicks things off with ten facts that you might not know about this ancient art form.

1. Albert Einstein was a big fan of fairy tales

Einstein said, ‘If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.’

2. 2017 is the Year of Legends in Wales 

Visit Wales in 2017 and be inspired by Welsh myths, legends and folktales. The Year of Legends is a chance to find out more about the legends that have come out of the land.

3. Our Neolithic ancestors knew the story of Beauty and the Beast

By analysing population histories and cultural phenomena such as language, Sara Graça da Silva and Jamshid J.Tehrani have found that many folk tales that are still told today, such as Beauty and the Beast, would have been known and told by our ancestors thousands of years ago.

4. Patron Saint of Storytellers?

National Storytelling Week is always held in the week of 3rd February, the feast day of St Blaise. St Blaise lived in Armenia in the fourth century. He was a healer of throats and a physician of souls.

5. There is a Professor of Storytelling

The George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling is a U.K academic research centre devoted to the study of storytelling and all its applications. Based at the University for South Wales, the centre believes that storytelling creates better understanding between individuals and communities across society.

6. Every culture in the world has a Cinderella story

There are thousands of variants of the Cinderella story found throughout the world. Anna Rooth wrote about this in her book The Cinderella Cycle. The oldest written version, Ye Xian, comes from China in 860. Ye Xian is kind and hardworking and helped by the spirit of her murdered mother who comes to her in the form of a fish.

7. Festival at the Edge is the oldest storytelling festival in England

Festival at the Edge has given some of our best loved professional storytellers their first chance to tell and their first big breaks. In 2017 the festival moves to a beautiful new site near Whitchurch at Dearnford Lake.

8. Shonaleigh is the last Drut’syla

Shonaleigh Cumbers learned her craft from her Bubbe (grandmother). Her Bubbe was a storyteller in the drut’syla tradition, who held a body of twelve interlinked cycles of stories each with hundreds of tales.

9. Beyond Storytime lets you listen to storytellers in your own home

This online collection has nearly twenty audio stories and is a fundraiser for Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival. Find out more, listen to some extracts, subscribe to the site for yourself or buy a gift subscription by visiting their website.

10. There’s a storytelling club near you!

Find your local storytelling club or storytelling event at The Society for Storytelling.

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