Scottish Storytelling Festival: It’s time for a story

It’s time for a story. The 30th annual Storytelling Festival comes to Edinburgh for the end of October to celebrate the diversity and tradition of storytelling over ten days under the blanket theme of Growing Stories.

This time of year is the perfect opportunity to place emphasis on stories while families are drawn into the warmth of the fire as the days grow colder. As summer fades and autumn strips the trees bare of their beauty you feel a sudden desire to take up a good book with a mug of hot chocolate to satisfy the internal chill you feel during this seasonal change.

They say that ‘stories are like gardens’: they grow and blossom with each passing generation. This idea weaves through the festival under the theme of Growing Stories. It also provides a perfect platform to feed the creativity and imagination of storytellers and spread it across Scotland.

Throughout the festival, there will be many creative workshops, daytime events for all the family, and intimate evening readings to feed the mind. I attended the Breathing Space workshop on October 21 for a chance to take part in nature while learning about the Pictish Kingdom of Fife. Storytellers told tales of piracy against the Romans across the east coast, their deep roots entwined with the Celts and the importance and trees and plants in Pictish life. Carvings uncovered across Scotland detail their methods of hunting using dogs and falcons. The Picts eventually combined with the Gaels of Dal Rieta to form the Kingdom of Alba, now known as Scotland.

Some of the festival’s main events taking place across Edinburgh include:

Transforming Voice – Scottish Storytelling Centre

Ross Hempseed 5

Scottish Storytelling Centre. Photo By Ross Hempseed

Several people have defined what it means to use your voice effectively and who have not let theirs be silenced such as Mahatma Gandhi and Rosa Parks, who steadied the winds of controversy to achieve what they truly believed in. They did not use violence to win the battle but instead won the war of the words.

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai.

Led by storyteller Diane Edgecomb, it shows you how to use one’s voice to strengthen relationships and communicate better with others. This interactive and engaging workshop will help the audience become more in tune with their own unique voice.

The event takes place on Wednesday October 24 at 11am and will last five hours.

Tickets – £16.00

Spark 100 – Walking tour departing from Mercat Cross

Edinburgh’s amazing architecture and history have long since been a place to inspire many influential writers and timeless stories. Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired for the character Long John Silver in Treasure Island by a man he met in the Edinburgh Infirmary with a wooden leg.  J.K Rowling famously wrote the first chapters of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the Elephant House café in Old Town, Edinburgh and completed the last Harry Potter novel in room 552 of the landmark Balmoral Hotel.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is often celebrated as one of the most influential Scottish novels of the 20th Century. Muriel Spark, the author, was inspired and educated in Edinburgh and her education was a major part in developing both the characters and the setting of the novel. To mark the 100th anniversary of her birth, Spark 100 was organised to guide fans and tourists around places in Edinburgh that were significant to a Scottish hero who paved the way for women in a male-dominated environment.

“How wonderful it feels to be an artist and a woman in the twentieth century.” Muriel Spark

Walking tour takes place on Saturday October 27 at 1:30pm and will last 90 mins

Tickets – £13

With so many wonderful events in and around Edinburgh, it’s no wonder many people are travelling just to delve deep into the fictional lands of stories and mythology only to regret waking up to reality.


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