World Storytelling Day 2019!
World Storytelling Day’s roots stem from Sweden in 1991 when they organised an event called Alla berättares dag (All Storytellers Day) on March 20th. The day has since grown and become an international holiday celebrated on the March equinox. The aim of today, is to share your stories with others both verbally and also in art form.
Each year, World Storytelling Day has a different theme. The theme for 2019 is Myths, Legends, and Epics. Our team have given us some insight on what World Storytelling day means to them:
David Hahn – Chairman
When my 2 sons were about 7 and 2, I used to tell them a story about an aeroplane that had teeth and I called it the Kittyhawk. I used to tell them the story literally nightly as they loved it.
They are now grown men and they still remember the story and hopefully they will tell their children the story too. So, the moral of my story is, by telling an interesting story to children, it can live with them forever!
Kirsty-Ellen Smillie – CEO
Having recently strayed into the world of play-writing and performing arts, it’s good to be reminded how many different ways there are to tell a story. Oral storytelling is one of the most ancient art-forms and continues to this day to be a vibrant part of any culture. It’s not just about writing words onto a page, it’s about making people feel things and it’s so wonderful that I can continue to grow and learn new ways to do that.
I think back to the days when the printing press wasn’t a thing – how would people tell their story to the world? How is it that we have stories today that have endured hundreds and hundreds of years, from the days when people would just sit in a small group and spin a tale to pass the time? When Shakespeare put on plays people would furiously scribble down the lines as the actors were saying them and then go off and try to steal the pages for themselves. We can’t be absolutely certain when exactly Homer first introduced us to Odysseus though we have papyrus from Egypt containing parts of chapters, and even a clay tablet from possibly the 3rd century AD containing 13 whole verses, and it remains fundamental today to the western canon. It is so humbling to think of these people sitting amongst friends and telling a story that we all still tell to this day.
The world of publishing is mutable – it will always be subject to change, and we have seen spectacular change in the last ten years or so, some good, some not so good (but isn’t that always the way?). But storytelling, and all its many facets – that is eternal. We are all storytellers in our way, and we are a part of these magnificent tradition.
Rebecca Ponting – Senior Editor
World Storytelling Day is important to me as it’s a reminder of the infinite lessons we can learn from not only our favourite characters, but every person in history who has shared a piece of themselves.
As an acquisitions editor I’m lucky enough to read stories every day. No two are the same, and with each I’m grateful of the opportunity to learn something new. Not only is each one different but every person tells them their own way, and so there is something to gain (good or bad!) from everyone that you open yourself to.
Storytelling entertains, teaches, distracts and purges us and in doing so we pass on infinite lessons about humankind. You don’t need to be a Rowling, Tolkien, Dickens or Shakespeare; anyone can tell their own personal story and it doesn’t need to be epic to reaffirm our humanity.
We’re the storytellers of our own lives. No matter how uninteresting or commonplace you believe yours to be, each one motivates connection.
This World Storytelling Day make sure you’re listening to storytellers, and most importantly, be one!
Marjorie Tozakidou – Marketing Manager
Storytelling is one of the most natural of human activities. Since the first story was told, we haven’t stopped, it is part of our history and our success as a species. Without stories to tell and to believe, human cooperation wouldn’t exist, neither would our civilisation.
Storytelling has been an excellent technique used for multiple purposes, always by people with extraordinary skills to tell stories.
The success or not of the story, would be determined by 2 main factors; the talent of the storyteller and how interesting is the story to tell.
Demosthenes used to practice his speeches in front of the sea with his mouth full of pebbles, his goal was to hear his voice louder and clearer than the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. Demosthenes achieved fame as the greatest orator in ancient Greece. He is a good example of the two factors I mentioned before: Skills & topics.
As a marketeer, storytelling is such an important and wide concept, but it requires time, training and most importantly, being willing to listen first. I believe that the stories have to be told by users, and as a marketeer, I should be the tool to amplify, refine and improve them. In other words, marketeers, should be the pebbles in Demosthenes mouth.
Candy Smillie – Marketing Coordinator
“When people told themselves their past with stories, explained their present with stories, foretold the future with stories, the best place by the fire was kept for the storyteller.”
This opening statement from ‘The Storyteller’ by Jim Henson always brought a sense of something really exciting about to start. Sunday evenings when my daughters were very young was reserved for this programme – something that we could all four sit down and watch. These stories retold various European folk tales that had been around for hundreds of years and I had never heard of apart from one or two. Hans my hedgehog was long a family favourite and my girls can still quote from them even though they were very young when they first aired.
My earliest memories of reading epic novels was being told I was too young at 9 to read The Hobbit. Having proved them wrong and subsequently going on to read The Lord of the Rings shortly after, my teenage years were filled with the stories of Hobbits and Orcs and Men battling for Middle Earth. Hearing Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones can take me back to those times sat reading late at night even now. However, I felt that once I had a family, these books were too childish – until George R R Martin and The Game of Thrones. Now my book shelves are filled with huge tomes about dragons and magic and alternative worlds where steampunk is alive and well and there’s no stigma attached to reading them either. However, I should perhaps admit that my Kindle has so many more such books and no one but me knows just how many.
Shannon Bourne – Digital Marketing Coordinator
To me, World Storytelling Day is a time to connect with your friends and family. Life can be busy and there are many distractions in this world, but storytelling has always been at the very base of it.
Today is a day for love and laughter, for heroes and villains, for myths and legends and so much more. For centuries, people have come together to listen to stories, traditions have been passed down and bonds have been made. Storytelling is a powerful thing and wherever you go, you’re sure to hear a new tale.
I believe that no matter who you are, you have the potential to tell a distinguished and engaging story. Share it with your family, with your friends, and really take the time to listen to your loved ones on this special day.