Storytelling - what inspires me

Stories that inspire me

My favourite story is Tam Linn, a story set near Selkirk in the Scottish Borders. I love it because it is set in a real landscape, because it is a perfect fairy story (with scary fairies not twinkly ones) and because it has a strong heroine who gets her happy ending not because she is pretty but because she is brave.

I tell lots of other stories too: Greek myths and Viking dragon stories; African animal stories and Indian fables; tales from the deserts and ice and coasts and mountains of Chile; Scottish traditional tales and stories about wellies.

And I enjoy using history to create stories that are true but have perhaps never been told before. I have researched a lot of Leith history stories, but I also have some North East and St Kilda ones, and I'd love an excuse to find more from your area!

How did I become a storyteller?

I became a storyteller because my own children kept asking me to tell them stories. So I got involved in workshops and mentoring at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and after listening to a lot of fabulous storytellers, and practising on lots of audiences, I got accepted onto the Storytelling Directory. So now you can invite me to come and tell you stories too.

Even though I am a fiction writer, there are so many wonderful traditional tales out there, which are perfectly shaped for telling to audiences, that I prefer to spend my time as a storyteller passing on the old tales. Though I do use my writing skills to create new stories from historical facts, and I will occasionally create new stories for specific sessions (like working with audiences with special needs).

Who do I tell stories to?

I tell stories to anyone, anywhere.

I have told baby bear stories to eighteen-month-olds in nurseries; fairy tales to passing dogwalkers in a forest; picnic stories to teenagers with learning difficulties; pirate stories to Primary 6 classes in Leith; Greek myths to classics students; Edinburgh history stories to English schoolgirls. I have told riddles in a yurt; Santa stories beside some reindeer (they didn't listen, but lots of people in hats and scarves did); squirrel stories in a soft play area with a loudspeaker blaring behind me; and Leith history stories in a pub, competing with the football next door. I do lose my voice occasionally, but never until after the story ends!

I love to find new stories to tell to new audiences. And I believe that anyone can enjoy and benefit from stories.

If you want to invite me to inspire you with stories »



Saturday 5th September
Braidburn Park, Edinburgh

Community fundraising event for Friends of Braidburn Valley Park
Wolf Notes storytelling
2.15 pm – stories for all ages
3.00 pm – stories for over 8 years

Tuesdays 8th and 15th September
Electric Tales

I’ll be taking part in a project linking storytelling with stand-up comedy
This is NOT an event suitable for children!
8th September 8.30pm
The Stand, York Place, Edinburgh
Tickets from 0131 558 7272
15th September 7.30pm
Scottish Storytelling Centre, High Street, Edinburgh
Tickets from 0131 556 9579

Saturday 26th September
Dundee Reads!

Steps Theatre, Central Library, Dundee
Storytelling and book readings, with plenty of wolves, dragons, monsters and magic 2.30 pm
Further information soon

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First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts

First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts
From the Borders, through Orkney and on to Edinburgh‘s underground streets, First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts is a skilful blend of fable and fiction as Helen embarks on an exciting race through Scotland‘s diverse landscapes. Accompanied by an array of creatures from mythology and folklore, Helen and her fantastical friends must solve a sequence of riddles in order to recover the lost Book before the Winter Solstice.
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Contact Me

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I will respond as quickly as I can.
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