Images 005





Notes

1 Here’s a picture of me with Milda, a fellow storyteller, posing with an old food truck we found in the park when we were promoting the show we had made together about food, ‘A La Carte’. 

Chapter V 
{Why}


I’ve been a professional writer since my first novel, Gods Behaving Badly, came out in 2007, but in 2018 I decided that I wanted more. I spent the first half of that year training to be a professional storyteller at the Mezrab Storytelling School in Amsterdam. (It’s a fantastic course. They also do weekend courses which I recommend very highly.) And now I consider myself a storyteller as much as I am a writer.

Why did I start storytelling? I’m glad you asked. There’s a bit of a cliche about writers that we are all introverts who like spending all of our time alone in our rooms, and that we are natural outsiders with a splinter of ice in our hearts etc etc. (Although, do you know who came up with the splinter of ice thing? Graham Greene. Do you know much about Graham Greene’s personal life? Ouch. Not someone you’d want to emulate, though god knows he could write.)

I’m not like that. I write because I love to communicate, and sometimes it can feel unsatisfying doing that on the page - I write on my own and you read on your own but we’re never actually together sharing the experience.

So I started going on stage. It was scary at first, but soon I loved nothing more than being in front of an audience, together, in the same room (or the same outdoor space), feeling my stories come to life as the audience heard them and responded to them in real time.

Before long I took the professional storytelling course at Mezrab, and within six months of training I had performed my first full-length show at the Amsterdam Storytelling Festival (A La Carte, with Lithuanian storyteller Milda Varnauskaite), which we reprised in digital form at the Amsterdam Fringe. I’ve got two more full-length shows planned: Lalaei, with Belgian guitar group Zwerm and Iranian singer Sarah Akbar, and The Odyssey, a group show retelling the epic myth from the point of view of the female characters. But I also love telling short stories at mixed shows.

I tell true stories, folk tales, mythological stories, and fictional stories. Sometimes a combination of all of them. Apparently this is pretty unusual, but I don’t know why. A story is a story. If you’ve read my first book you won’t be surprised that I have a bit of a bias towards Greek myth, but I love telling stories from anywhere.

Recently I had one of my stories on This American Life, which is possibly the best podcast in the world. I didn’t read it myself, but as it was performed by the phenomenal Olivier Award-winning Noma Dumezweni, I didn’t feel there was much to complain about. Listen to it here.

Details of all my upcoming live events, including readings for my books, can be found on the page called ‘when’.

Thinking of booking me for your event? I’d love that. You can contact me via my agent Kerry Glencorse at kglencorse@susannalea.com