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Research Fellow, Storyteller, Writer, Teacher
George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling

I work as a storyteller, doing performances, workshops, training others in the uses of storytelling (teachers, classroom assistants, library staff, parents and grandparents, footballers, coaches, etc.)


Professional Storyteller
Research Fellow
Writer (children’s books, academic articles, professional articles, consultancy documents)
Primary School Teacher


Research into applied storytelling
Advice and consultancy to CyMAL and the GEECS Symposium



“Journeys East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon: what a storyteller’s life, performance style and signature story tell us” Storytelling Self and Society (September 2015)

“Can you describe the experience?” with Donna Schatt, University of Chicago, Storytelling Self and Society June (2015)

‘The King of the Birds, Calendar Custom as Child’s Play: study of a 91 year old Irish storyteller’s childhood memories of participating in Wrenning’ Journal of International Play (2013)

‘The Well of D’Yerree-in-Dowan, Manifestations of Grimm’s The Water of Life in Irish Folklore and Literature‘ Gramarye: Journal of the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales & Fantasy (2012)

‘Junior Reading Champions: storytellers as role models for reading’ English 4 to 11, 44 (2012)

‘Creating Words: Creating Well-Being’ Harrett, Jacqueline, PhD, and Ryan, Patrick, PhD, Paradigms and Research of Educational Practice, International Science Conference electronic journal (2011)

Talking the Game: A Case Study of a Storytelling and Football Project’ Journal of Arts and Communities, 1, No. 1. (2009)

The Storyteller in Context’ Storytelling Self and Society August (2008)

Celticity and the Storyteller Identity: The Use and Misuse of Ethnicity to Develop a Storyteller’s Sense of Self’ Folklore, Folklore Society, December 2006

A Beautiful Game: Oral Narrative and Soccer’ Children’s Literature and Education (2002)

Various articles, reports, anthologies (see websites: and http://


Storytelling in Libraries and Schools in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland’ in Storytelling Art and Technique, E Green and J Del Negro. Santa Barbara California, Denver Colorado, Oxford England: Libraries Unlimited. (2010)

Once Upon A Time Into Altered States’ in Time Everlasting, Representations of Past, Present and Future in Children’s Literature (Pat Pinsent, ed.) Pied Piper Press (2007)

Storytelling’ article for The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, ed. Jack Zipes and Kimberley Reynolds, (2004)


Review of Told Again by Walter de la Mare, with a new introduction by Philip Pullman. New publication of classic literary fairy tales, part of the Oddly Modern Fairy Tales curated by Jack Zipes, Princeton University Press, 2015, for Folklore, the journal of the Folklore Society

Review of The Fourth Pig by Naomi Mitchison, with a new introduction by Marina Warner. New publication of classic literary fairy tales, part of the Oddly Modern Fairy Tales curated by Jack Zipes, Princeton University Press, 2015, for Folklore, the journal of the Folklore Society

CAT: Children’s Books and Talk. A report on a ’Children’s Books Book Group’, a staff engagement pilot project for Oldham Libraries.” The project, and report, investigated ways of developing staff’s product knowledge of the children’s book collection, to improve services to children and families

Review of Shakespeare’s Folktale Sources by Charlotte Artese published by University of Delaware Press, 2015, for Folklore, the journal of the Folklore Society

Review of Storytelling in the Moment, Exploring a Contemporary Verbal Art in Britain and Ireland by Michael Howes, published by Academia Press, 2014. For English Dance and Song Magazine

“Ten of the Best” Books for Keeps (2013)

Still Spell Bound: Story Times in Welsh Museums, Archives and Libraries. A report commission by CyMAL (Welsh Government authority for museums, archives and libraries) and published by The George Ewart Evans Centre, University of South Wales (2013)

”A Jest’s Prosperity”—Using Storytelling to Teach Shakespeare’, Writing in Education (2010)

Secure Storytelling: Storytelling in Prisons and Young Offenders’ Units’ All Our Children, Library Services to Children at Risk, ed. Anne Marley, Young Libraries Group (YLG) publication (1996)

Word-in-Action A report on storytelling across the curriculum in secondary schools in Northern Ireland (1998)

Storytelling in Ireland-A Reawakening Report for the Verbal Arts Centre and the arts councils of Ireland and Northern Ireland, reporting on state of storytelling (1994)

Storytelling in Schools’ Telling the Tale, ed. Liz Weir for YLG Publications (1988)

Various reviews and articles for storytelling, education and folk magazines and journals


Shakespeare’s Storybook, Folk Tales that Inspired the Bard, illustrated by James Mayhew, Bath and Boston: Barefoot Books (2002) [awarded an Aesop Accolade by American Folklore Society 2001)

Connla Ruadh’ in The Virago Book of Witches by Shahruhk Husain, Virago Books (1991)

Big Wide-Mouthed Toad Frog’ Time for Telling, ed. By Mary Medlicott, published by Kingfisher Books (1990), re-issued in two volumes, (1996) as The Big Wide-Mouthed Toad Frog’ and The King With Dirty Feet’


“Reading Is Thinking….Story Listening Is Thinking” conference paper for StoryKnowing Symposium, York St. John University and iCAN (International Centre for Arts and Narrative)

Story and Experience: Story Telling-Story Listening-Story Writing. NAWE’s and the Poetry Society’s Writers and Teachers Skills Sharing Symposium – Creative Writing 2015

“The Hand the Rocks the Cradle…. Stories and Oral Histories of 19th Century Women by Storyteller Mealda Hall” A paper for the Panel on Revolutionary Women, at the Transatlantic 2 Conference held by Drew University in Bundoran, County Donegal, Ireland, January 2015.

“’But Then Begins a Journey in my Head’, the story listening experience” with Donna Schatt, University of Chicago, ECIS 7TH Triennial Librarians Conference, Waterloo, Belgium (2014)

“Collateral Learning in the Story Hour, memories and the significance of a long-running storytelling practice’ with Donna Schatt, University Chicago. IRSCL Conference, Children’s Literature and Media Culture, Maastricht (2013)

‘“Can You Describe the Experience?” A study on remembered listener responses to oral stories in early childhood and the implications in learning’ UKLA International Conference “Literacy Policies and Practices: Diverse Perspectives in the 21st Century, Liverpool (2013)

‘The Role of Oral Narrative Experience in Developing Cognitive Functions in Comprehension‘ Learner Conference, Institute of Education. London (2011)

‘Storytelling and Cognition: a study of a 120 year old education program‘ with Donna Schatt , University of Chicago. Learner Conference, Institute of Education. London (2012)

‘The Well of D’Yerree-in-Dowan, Manifestations of Grimm’s The Water of Life in Irish Folklore and Literature‘ After Grimm: Fairy Tales and the Art of Storytelling Conference Kingston-upon-Thames University, London. (2012)

“Kick into Reading and Sports Stories” for the Reading Programmes Panel Parallel Session, IBBY Congress, London, (2012)

“A Trio of Storytellers” MC of programme featuring Dashdondog Jamba (Mongolia), Sonia Nimr (Palestine) and Michael Harvey (Wales), IBBY Congress. London. (2012)

‘Sports Stories—Oral Narrative, Sport, and Literacy Comprehension’ Keynote Addres, Dorsetshire Primary School Head Teachers Conference, Poole, Dorset (2012)

‘Sports Stories’ Literature and Sports Symposium, University of Manitoba (2011)

‘Opening Doors: Stories and Storytelling’ Keynote Address, Opening Doors; The Power of Story, Youth Library Group (YLG) Conference, Goldsmith College, (2011)

‘Life Giving Water from the Well Of The World’s End to the Ocean Of The Streams Of Story’ Keynote Address, Benedict Kiely Summer School, (2011)

‘Storytelling and Active Learning’ workshop presenter, Artforms Leeds Conference (2011)

‘’Digital Storytelling in the Classroom’ and ‘Reading Champions’, featured speaker, ECIS Conference, Nice (2010)

‘”A Stone Dropped into a Pond…”: Storytelling, Community and Literacy’ Keynote Address, Promoting Effective Talk in Classrooms, UKLA Conference, University of East London (2010)

‘Listen Up: storytelling projects in education and their impacts‘ International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY) Congress, Santiago de Compostela (2010)
‘Creating Words: Creating Well-Being’ joint paper with Jacqueline Harrett, Univeristy of Glamorgan, United Kingdom Literacy Association International Conference, Winchester (2010)

’Using Storytelling and Creative Writing with Students to Explore and Study Shakespeare’ Plenary Speaker, Writers Forum, Writers-in-Schools/Poetry Ireland Conference, Dublin (2010)

‘Fallen Between the Cracks?…..7 Wise Masters & 7 Wise Mistresses’ The Fairy Tale After Angela Carter, Fairy Tale/Cultural Criticism Conference, University of East Anglia, April (2009)

‘Kick into Reading’ Moving Forward, Achieving Excellence: Playing for Success Conference, Stratford-upon-Avon (2008)


Kick into Reading, BBC2 documentary by BBC Wales, on storytelling and football with Cardiff City Football Club, (2009) (nominated for arts award in Celtic Media Festival 2010, other entries include documentary on Nobel Laureate Poet Seamus Heaney)

Mark Patterson – BBC Radio Foyle (2004-5)

The Big Yellow Bus Summer Tour-BBC Radio Ulster (2004)

Water Love – BBC Radio Ulster (various times)

Tellytubbies – consultant and researcher for Ragdoll Production

Myths and Legends – research writers for RTE/The Learning Channel documentary series

Nicky Campbell Show, BBC Radio 5 – guest featured to tell ghost stories for special morning programme

A Many Faceted Thing, BBC Radio 4 guest and consultant/researcher for science documentary on memory

Something to Think About, BBC Radio 4 and 5 schools/children’s programme writer and reader/teller

Playtime, BBC Radio 4 and 5 children’s/schools programme writer and reader/teller


Society for Storytelling
Storytellers of Ireland
National Association of Writers in Education
International Society for Research in Children’s Literature
Narrative Society
International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY)
Folklore Society



Towersey Village Festival (international festival of folk and traditional arts), Aug. 2016

“Using Story in Language, Writing and Literature” International School of Brussels Summer Institute. Course on applied storytelling in the ELD and Language Arts curricula, co-facilitated with Donna Schatt, University of Chicago, for teachers working in the international school sector. The aim of the course is to develop teachers’ and librarians’ storytelling skills and use of storytelling in teaching English as a second language, literature appreciation, creative writing and topic work. Aug. 2016

“October Plenty” and “Twelfth Night”, storytelling for seasonal festivals produced and curated by The Lion’s part Theatre Company at Bankside, the Globe, Borough Market and the George Inn, Oct-Dec. 2015 (and previous years)

“Catching Words” a creative writing project using poetry, storytelling, and collaborative writing for year 2 children in East London (Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, and Barking and Dagenham) LEAs; primary schools, and Hertfordshire and Essex LEAs’ primary schools, run by Discover, the Story Centre for Children in Stratford London; one of several verbal artists and academics contributing to this long-running project.

International School of Amsterdam Storytelling Festival. A unique kind of festival—curated solely as part of teachers’ continuing professional development. Storytellers Patrick Ryan, Niaill Da Búrca, Stuart Stots, Morgan Schatz Blackrose and Roman Schatz will lead performances but also seminars and workshops to develop teachers’ storytelling skills and use of storytelling in the classroom

“Now You’re Talking” International School of Brussels Summer Institute. Course on storytelling, co-facilitated with Donna Schatt, University of Chicago, for teachers working in the international school sector. The aim of the course is to develop teachers’ and librarians’ storytelling skills and use of storytelling in creative writing and topic work.

British Youth Council Conference: Limpossible. Workshop on storytelling in organisations for advocates working with youth in issues of education, housing, mental health and wellbeing, and women’s rights in BYC, NGO and various Think-Tanks. London 2015

World Cup Story Book and Story Shorts, for the City of London Festival (COLF), storytelling and football performances and workshop with Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, and Crystal Palace Football Clubs, and the Barbican Library, in a Pop-Up Theatre shaped like a City Gent’s Bowler Hat in Pater Noster Square, London, 2014

Moscow Children’s Book Fair, 2013

Kick into Reading, A National Literacy Trust (NLT) scheme where professional football players and coaches were trained to tell stories to children in order to encourage reader engagement and greater use of libraries; the project involved several FA clubs in England and Wales in all Divisions, from 2000 to 2011.

Writer/Storyteller-in-Residence, Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, 2011

Kick into Reading and Sports Stories, 2000-2011, with National Literacy Trust and Professional Football Clubs (all divisions) across England and Wales (trained players and community coaches to tells and read aloud stories in community literacy outreach work)


Oldham Council Libraries—CAT (Children’s Books and Talk), a staff-engagement pilot project, developed to improve the product knowledge of front-line staff in Oldham Libraries. A book group consisting of library assistants working in children’s services met once a month of six months, reading and discussing 127 books (picture books, junior fiction, and junior nonfiction).

CyMAL—development of an accredited course on storytelling to children aged 0-5 for all frontline library, museum and archive staff in Wales

CyMAL—report on current storytelling practices in Welsh libraries, archives and museums

Creative Change—University of Ulster programme developing a new early childhood/KS1 curriculum based on the creative arts of storytelling, music and visual art, aimed at both raising educational standards and teachers’ skills and knowledge base, and also addressing the challenges of sectarianism in education and the community

The Lion’s part Theatre Company—storyteller and folklorist for a company specialising in early verse drama and producing seasonal festivals of ritual drama and plays for Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside and Borough Market

National Literacy Trust—Trainer for teachers and librarians participating in Premier League Reading Stars

Featured Speaker and Workshop Facilitator ECIS (European Council for International Schools) Conferences and Individual International Schools across Europe, North America and Asia


(1) The Story Listening Experience / Progressive Education Storytelling—a study of a unique 120 year old programme at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (with Donna Schatt). We have looked at the history and context of this practice, and interviewed adults and older students who ass 5-6-7 year old children attended weekly library story times were all stories were folktales told from memory. Out study is finding evidence supporting current discussion on liminal states, flow states, oxytocin and cognitive and literacy development.

(2) Queen of Storytellers: Oral History and Collected Stories of storyteller, actress, and women’s groups organiser Mrs. Imealda Hall (1920-2013). Her stories range from oral histories of the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, to the hard times of rural Ireland in the early days of the Free State, to her work as an actor touring in the Fit-Up Theatres, and her experiences as a community organizer and housewife in Belfast throughout the history of the Troubles. She has many stories relating to the hardship and strategies of women in rural Ireland and in Belfast during the period of violence.

(3) Kick into Reading/Junior Reading Champions —study of oral narrative and soccer, and the relationships between storytelling, sport, and literacy. This has connections to the research I’m conducting with Donna Schatt, in that interviews with footballers and coaches regarding their storytelling and observation of them telling stories has revealed much about how stories are remembered, performed and interpreted and links between kinaesthetics and cognition, between story telling/listening experience and physical experience and flow states.

(4) 7 Wise Masters and 7 Wise Mistresses—study and development for performance and publication of a popular medieval frame narrative which influenced many storytelling and literary traditions

Areas of Expertise

Storytelling; Folklore; Children’s Literature; Literacy; Cognitive Studies in relation to Oral Narrative, Storytelling and Story Listening

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