Well, January 2021 must have gone down as one of the longest months in memory. Yes, it may have had the usual 31 days but oh, it has dragged on for so many reasons.
It is normally a bit of a bleak month too, weather wise. It is also my birthday month.
The month does however start off with something dear to my heart. National Storytelling Week. It is a week where the ancient oral art of storytelling is celebrated nationally. Normally, there would be events popping up in schools, museums, care homes, theatres, supermarkets and many other available spaces, where storytellers would gather audiences both small and large, entrancing them with tales and fables, rhymes and epics. Of course, this year will be vastly different, as the current health challenges make live performances impossible. But storytellers are creative geniuses.
Oh, they will be making magic wherever they can. I am sure they will be inhabiting social media platforms throughout the land. Look out for online performances everywhere and support them if you can.
The week was founded by The Society for Storytelling, so start by looking at their website to point you to what is going on www.sfs.org.uk.
No, not this year. I have taken a step back from telling to concentrate on writing. I worked as a professional storyteller for twenty years, and it is through my love of stories and the huge stock of stories I carry in my head, that lead me to the new path of a writer.
Yes, my first book, published by The History Press, contains several stories I had researched for a performance piece for adults called Faerie Wanting to Meet Unicorn….a reet set of queer tales. The book was renamed Queer Folk Tales and is a collection of fifteen short stories, each with LGBTQ+ characters at their very heart. I find that having been a performance storyteller really impacts on the way I write; I still imagine an audience in front of me as I create.
Ah yes, this brings me on to another treat during February, LGBT+ History Month. An annual celebration of all things queer. I am sure that TV will be broadcasting programmes and films showing support for the queer community. There are more and more film makers, artists and actors waving their rainbow credentials and I salute their work. Visibility and representation being the key words.
Yes, it does. It will be concentrating mainly on women and unsung stories this year and the overall theme is ‘Body, Mind, Spirit’.
Oh, look out for a plethora of books too. There are some moving novels, stunning collections of photographic images, poetry and non-fiction, all charting LGBTQ+ creatives and their work.
Of course, all this will be joyously lapped up by the LGBTQ+ community and our friends but I urge everyone to take advantage on what is on offer too.
No, definitely not. When I first began researching the queer performance piece which then morphed into the book Queer Folk Tales, I spent much time deciding as to whether a collection of queer stories was really needed in the 2020s? Would it be better if I just included stories with LGBTQ+ characters in them amongst other stories? Who would my audience be? How would it effect marketing? How satisfying would it be creatively?
I obviously decided to go ahead with the original concept, and I am so glad that I did. We write about what we care about, about topics that we have something to say about, about topics that matter. Sorry, that was a lot of abouts!
No. The book has been read by all sorts of readers and that is wonderful for any author. Here are a few comments.
‘Absolutely wonderful! Storytelling is an art - and the best storytellers draw you into their world and you feel like you’re drinking every word up! That’s exactly how this book makes me feel! Kick off your shoes, lift your head up to the sun and lose yourself in this tapestry of beautiful stories! Thank you Kevin Walker!’
‘You don't have to be LGBTQ - I am enjoying reading Kevin's book of little gems. I just wish I was curled up somewhere in a cosy corner with Kevin reading the stories!’
That must be very gratifying?
Very. It means that my initial thoughts about the collection were on track. I appreciate that online comments are just one person’s view, but it is wonderful to get feedback.