The Scottish Storytelling Forum (SSF) is a membership organisation, dedicated to keeping the art of live oral storytelling alive and growing in Scotland through a diverse network of storytellers and individuals supporting Scotland’s vibrant storytelling community. 

Facilitated by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS) and based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

The SSF blog series hopes to introduce you to the many different strands within the storytelling scene in Scotland and Beyond.

Amanda Edmiston - Botanica Fabula

A School in the Meadow

Storyteller Amanda Edmiston from Botanica Fabula, led a group of young people to explore all the treasures and wonders of the great outdoors.

“As an artist working with stories and plants as a starting point, the opportunity to take a whole school of children into one of the few remaining Scottish Southern upland wild meadows and then develop a multisensory way of sharing that experience is a real delight.”


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David Campbell and Anne Hunter

Get a Word in Edgeways: A New Festival in Much Wenlock

David Campbell and Anne Hunter write of their adventures and experiences at a brand new festival of words in Much Wenlock. Get a Word in Edgeways brings Storytelling, music, poetry, art and much more to the heart of the Shropshire hills.

This is not your average festival.

Not simply a story-telling festival.

Not just a poetry festival.

Not only a music festival.

It is a festival that sits on the borders between genres.

And we all know that borders are where magic happens.

Stand on a mountain top. Border between earth and sky. Or on the shoreline between land and sea.

Feel the power that lies at those border lands.

This is a festival about harnessing that power.

About creating something new.

It is a festival that celebrates the spoken word in all its guises.

multitude of voices.

Speaking together.

Making sounds not heard before.

A festival of discovery.

We are excited to hear what emerges.

The festival had a wonderful and amazing mix of things to see, hear and participate in. Music, poetry, poetry slams, storytelling, spoken word, words around the fire, children’s activities, book signings, healing words, a special commission, and a Virtual Reality tent.’


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Rebecca Wojturska

Digital Ghosts: New Gothic Storytelling in Scotland

Lover of all things gothic, founder of Haunt Publishing and creator of a new audio book celebrating oral storytelling throughout Scotland, Rebecca shares her journey of making her idea a reality, with the help of the wonderful world of storytellers! 

Alongside the preservation of traditional storytelling, new forms are emerging; new ways of orally transmitting stories that reach new audiences further afield. It has been interesting to see the development of digital storytelling, podcasts and spoken word events, all of which serve to communicate new stories that will hopefully be passed along and down through time.

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Voice of Youth: The Next Generation of Storytelling

Ailsa Dixon is a teenager whose found expression through storytelling and is keen to encourage other young people to embrace their stories to find their voice.

‘I spent two days in Inverness at Moniack Mhor where I got my first taste of how effective well honed, polished storytelling could be. Its wild, fluid, iridescent, and feels like breathing. Good storytelling is planned and practiced, with an almost imperceptible rhythm, but feels both to the teller and the listener like something brand new being born out of thin air.’

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Marie Louise Cochrane

Raspberry Ripple: Giving a Voice to Women's Stories around Sexuality

Marie Louise lives in Edinburgh and loves telling stories, writing and singing songs. She is best known for her well loved character “Mrs. Mash the Storytelling Cook”. Mrs. Mash promotes health and well-being through songs, stories and joining in fun for wee ones, all about food.
Her new project is also about health and well-being with a focus on work with women.

‘After some reflection and a few exploratory conversations with fellow females – and one man – I decided that perhaps there might be a place for a new project. A project around hearing, witnessing and telling women’s stories, related to sexuality, in a way that could help other women process, explore and even celebrate that aspect of our lives.’

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Ruairidh Maclean - Ruairidh Mac'illeEathain

Storytelling in the Gaelic Tradition - Sgeulachdan à dualchas na Gàidhlig

This month we hear from Inverness-based Ruairidh Maclean who tells stories from the Gaelic tradition in both Gaelic and English.  Cluinnidh sinn bho Ruairidh Mac’illeEathain à Inbhir Nis am mìos seo.  Bidh Ruairidh ag innse sgeulachdan à dualchas na Gàidhlig ann an Gàidhlig is ann am Beurla.

‘I recall sitting with the late Donald Angie Maclean of Scarp in his home in Sleat in front of a crackling fire when he recounted historical figures as if he had known them. In the storyteller’s way, of course, he had.’

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Jan Bee Brown

Telling Tales on Ten Tall Ships

This month, we have a blog post from Edinburgh based storyteller, Jan Bee Brown, about her adventures on the high seas and her challenge to ‘tell ten tales on ten tall ships’

‘However, for me the stories that were the most important were the true tales of tenacity at sea from the volunteer crew as we sailed. I listened with a storyteller’s ear to the personal stories as a random group of international strangers became a crew and folk shared their hopes, fears and their relationship to the sea.’

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Lizzie McDougall

Sitting at the Feet of Giants: The Listowel International Storytelling and Folklore Festival

This month’s blog post is from the Highland based storyteller and artist, Lizzie McDougall, who was invited to the Inaugural Listowel Storytelling and Folklore Festival in County Kerry, Ireland.  

‘He told a little tale of the old Cailleach which seemed to be already illustrated on my Quilt that was hanging behind him. I find this happens, when I did the illustrations for the Quilt I didn’t want to be hemmed into telling a single story, so each image tells many stories and sometimes new stories get added.  So now a story from the most westerly tip of Kerry has come home with me.’

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Janis Mackay

The Storytelling Forum's Apprenticeship Scheme

This month we hear from Janis Mackay, storyteller, author and co-ordinator of the Storytelling Forum’s apprenticeship scheme.  Here she shares some insights into the work she does with apprentice storytellers.

‘When I meet with people to introduce them to the storyteller’s apprenticeship I often give the image of a daisy. Like stories I give the image of the yellow in the middle as representing the oral tradition – that is our centre, to honour and tell the old stories, to pass them on, to penetrate their wisdom and depth. Then there are the white petals; they represent the many other aspects of storytelling, and the many other ways in which a storyteller may then also take storytelling in other directions.’

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Daniel Allison

Killing Time in the Underworld

This month we have a post from Daniel Allison, storyteller, author and podcaster.  Here he shares some thoughts on how myths can provide us with guidance and help us through times of uncertainty.

‘That’s what myths are for. Old stories aren’t fanciful entertainment. They aren’t about seal-people and amorous trolls. They are the hard-won knowledge of our ancestors, passed in a form that guarantees its survival.

“The underworld is a necessary stop on any quest. But what happens there, besides things falling apart? How does the skilled heroine respond?’

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Gauri Raje

Being cooked in India over the lockdown

This month we have a blog post from multilingual storyteller, Gauri Raje, who is based in Argyll. Gauri runs the Silent Sounds organisation and works with a diverse range of groups in both the U.K. and India. Read about Gauri’s experience of being in India during the lockdown earlier this year.

‘For a long time now, I have lived in two worlds, roaming them seemingly at will. The world of my childhood and youth, and the world of my middle age years – India and the UK. Much of my relation with stories before the lockdown prioritised the idea that narratives that grew from an outward movement – realisations arrived at from research, interactions with the world outside. A dialogue with the voices within was not as strong.’

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Tales about the sea and the world around us

Stories On Your Wavelength

This month we have a blog post from storyteller, John Hamilton. 

To mark World Ocean Day 2021, we can’t think of a better time to share a recap of our wonderful partnership project with YouthLink Scotland. On Our Wavelength is a youth-led project exploring environmental impacts on Scotland’s coastal communities. Take five to read about John Hamilton’s experience of being involved and how he adapted storytelling skills in order to share these important stories. 

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New podcast on storytelling for mental wellbeing

Getting Real: Introducing Kything, a podcast showcasing mental health stories

This month we have a blog post from storyteller and founder of Real Talk,  Lily Asch.

Real Talk is a social enterprise dedicated to storytelling for mental wellbeing and they’ve just launched a new Podcast. Read all about it… 

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Tenement Tale: Brought Shared Stories to Shared Domestic Spaces

Tenement Tales: Shared Stories in Shared Domestic Spaces (East Lothian)

This month we have a blog post from storyteller Tim Porteous who ran a series of storytelling sessions in sheltered housing accommodation in Prestonpans, East Lothian. Read more on Tenement Tales via his blog post.

Tenement Tales enabled local storytellers to share stories in outdoor domestic spaces where local residents opened their windows, or gathered safely, to hear free tales in an environment that was secure and familiar to them.  As well as running in East Lothian, the project also ran for a series of three weeks in Leith, Edinburgh.

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