Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rocket Clock Story Slam: “Surprise!". December 14, 2011

Rocket Clock Story Slam: “Surprise!"

It's the last Rocket Clock for the year and we’re looking for stories of the unexpected, the unpredicted and the unforeseen. Bolts from the blue. Mysterious packages. Secret birthday parties. Impromptu presents.

Pre-register your intent to tell by emailing or register on the night. Everyone is welcome to come along and listen, laugh, drink, cheer & weep.

Wednesday December 14, 2011
Doors open 7.30pm; slam kicks off 8.30pm.

$5 pre-sale (+ $2 booking fee) or $8 on the door. Book tickets now via the Bella Union website:

Bella Union
Level 1, Trades Hall
Corner of Victoria & Lygon Streets
Carlton South

What is Rocket Clock?

Rocket Clock is a monthly story slam competition. Ten people each have five minutes to tell a story around a particular theme. Judges in the audience rate each story on both content and performance. Everyone has a great time.

More info:
Rocket Clock on Twitter
Rocket Clock on Facebook

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mentone Library: an Author for all Seasons.

Mentone Public Subscription Library from L - R Julia Reichstein, Jackie Kerin, Beth Cregan, Matteo.

Vic Guild member, Julia Reichstein, has played a significant role in supporting and promoting our storytellers and authors throughout 2011. As the co- ordinator of the Author for all Seasons program, Julia invited Matteo, JB Rowley and Jackie Kerin to speak about their work and tell stories to the Mentone community.

Our storytellers live dispersed lives scattered around Victoria and the strength of our relationship is largely maintained by phone, *skype, and email; it's a rare moment to find four of us under one roof!

Beth Cregan, took over our Facebook from Cindy Lee Harper earlier this year and here we are meeting her for the first time.

Thanks to Julia for not only including oral storytelling in the Mentone program but also for bringing us together in an non-virtual way. You can read more about JB, Matteo, Beth and Jackie by browsing the links on the left of this page where you will also find the link to (Beth's) Facebook.

*Skype Cafe: A reminder.

If you would like to meet us on skype, Gael Cresp is planning another Skype Cafe. All welcome.

To participate contact:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Me and Phar Lap. Oral history, from mouth to page. Jan Wositzky

click on poster to enlarge


Triple CD & Book

Me & Phar Lap: The remarkable life of Tommy Woodcock

Tommy Woodcock was the young man who looked after, and loved, Australia’s legendary racehorse, Phar Lap: the 1930 Melbourne Cup winner and the people’s champion of the Great Depression, who died mysteriously - cradled by Woodcock - in the US after winning the world’s richest race in Agua Caliente, Mexico.

Tommy Woodcock is also fondly remembered as the old man, who almost 50 years later trained the gallant Reckless, second in the 1977 Melbourne Cup, and who famously gave children rides on the stallion just before the race.

Now for the first time you can hear Tommy Woodcock himself, on a triple CD - The Tommy Woodcock Tapes.

These recordings were made in 1984 by storyteller/musician (and Bushwacker’s Band co-founder), Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky.

The two met when Tommy came to see one of Jan’s storytelling shows in the Yarrawonga Town Hall. After the show Jan sang Tommy a song about Phar Lap’s jockey, Jim Pike. In return, Tommy began recalling his days with Australia’s most loved racehorse.

Wositzky recalls the moment he knew he had to document Woodcock’s story: “Straight away I knew I was in the company of a superb yarn-spinner; a raconteur who could paint a picture and build a tale through dialogue, with emotion and sentiment, tracing a personal journey through one of Australia’s great legends - the story of Phar Lap. I realized I was listening to the national archives, straight from the horse’s mouth, if you’ll excuse the expression.”

So the two spent a fortnight on a farm near Yarrawonga, shortly before Tommy passed away, and recorded Tommy’s life story: his early days learning to ride up-country; his great mentors; as a jockey in 1920’s Sydney; Phar Lap; battling through the Great Depression and World War Two; his philosophy and training methods; Reckless; the tragedies and hilarities of life; the flood which ended his six decade career, and his retirement to Yarrawonga.

The result of these recordings is the triple CD and book – Me & Phar Lap: The remarkable life of Tommy Woodcock. The book also includes the most extensive analysis of Phar Lap’s death ever published.



Me & Phar Lap: The remarkable life of Tommy Woodcock

Produced, linking narration and music by Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky.

Issued by The Storyteller’s Guide

Triple CD available from:

(Or if you don’t do computers please ring 0417 332 065)


Me & Phar Lap: The remarkable life of Tommy Woodcock

Published by Slattery Media Group

Available in all good book stores.

Or mail order from:

CDs $40

Book $27.50

CDs & Book $62.50 (Save $5)

(All including postage)

MP3 Download (220 min.) $25


For interviews, review copies, photographs & excerpts of The Tommy Woodcock Tapes for airplay:

Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky

0417 332 065

More details:

Facebook: Me & Phar Lap

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Oral the Written and other Verbal Media. 12 to 14 December 2011

Hosted by Victoria University, the Oral, the Written and Other Verbal Media (OWOVM) Conference on Poetics and Discourse will be held in Melbourne, Australia from 12 to 14 December 2011.

With the theme of ‘Testimony, Witness, Authority: the politics and poetics of experience’, the conference brings together practitioners and researchers in a forum to explore the variety of ways experience is reproduced and cultures built through oral, written and other verbal media.

To be held at Victoria University’s city campus in Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne, the 2011 conference will feature language, voice and text from scholars, composers and performers.

Vic Storyteller Jackie Kerin is presenting at the conference alongside Michael Hyde and Kristine Martin-McDonald in the session called: Tellable Stories.

Vic Guild also welcomes: storyteller, Luis Correia Carmelo from Portugal who will be presenting a paper titled: From Male to Female and Back: Personified Death in traditional and Artistic Portuguese Storytelling.

Details for The Oral the Written and other Verbal Media. Conference on Poetics and Discourse here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Re-enchantment DVD and postcards.

Re-enchantment is an interactive multi-platform documentary project produced by RMIT University’s Adjunct Professor Sue Maslin, which explores why fairy stories continue to enchant, entertain, fascinate and horrify contemporary adult audiences.

Dear friends and storytellers,

Film Art Media is thrilled to announce the launch of the Re-enchantment DVD and postcards.

the DVD can now be ordered from all countries.

For those living everywhere else:

We'd also like to tell you about our SPECIAL END-OF-YEAR OFFER!!!

Buy a copy of the Re-enchantment DVD before the end of 2011 and receive a FREE set of six collector postcards – each depicting a scene from the iconic fairy tales featured in Re-enchantment: Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White.

Kindest regards,
Sue Maslin (producer) and Sarah Gibson (writer/director)


Buy the DVD and postcards:
Explore the online documentary:
Like us on Facebook and follow our fairy tale updates:

JB Rowley @ The Hub

JB Rowley @ The Hub

Recently I was at The Hub at Docklands, Melbourne to conduct pre-school story time for the Indian festival of lights (Diwali). In the photo you can see me in action decked out in my salwar kameez (pants and shirt) and dupatta (head scarf) that I bought in India a few years ago. My storytelling apron is over the top as I was about to tell an apron story.

The blue fabric is the deep blue sea. As a precursor to stories about ocean creatures I use the fabric together with a chant. I ask the children to guess what ocean creatures might be in the story. Little Molly might say ‘dolphin’. I float the blue fabric over the head of the children and chant: Dolphins live in the deep blue sea, the deep blue sea. Dolphins live in the deep blue sea and I know because (looking straight at Molly) because Molly told me so. Even the shy kids are eager to join in with this little game when they realise their name will be used in the chant.

On this occasion I varied the game to fit in with Diwali. The goddess Lakshmi emerges from the turmoil of the ocean on Diwali night so I pretended a child might be Lakshmi. I floated the ‘deep blue sea’ over their heads then allowed it to drop gently on the head of a child and asked, “Is this Lakshmi?” Of course they laughed and cried ‘No’. I did the same with several of the children and then started the story.

The storytelling at The Hub is organised by: Melbourne Library Service

and I was booked by: The Storytelling Garden

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Emerson International School of Storytelling. Julie Perrin

julie perrin tellingwords

During the English summer I spent a couple of weeks at Emerson International School of Storytelling in East Sussex, about an hour south east of London. The school is nestled into the side of a hill in Forest Row, just a village away from the Ashdowne Forest, made famous by A.A. Milne.

I had heard about the school of storytelling. The most potent reports came in the stories of the people who’d been to Emerson. Two of the women, Monica Tesselaar and Christina Rowntree decided to offer ongoing workshops, which culminated in delightful happenings known as Located Stories. These events were held in private homes, the storytellers would choose the location in the house or garden; whichever most suited their themes. Stories were told from bathrooms, bedrooms laundries, backyards, sheds and firesides. There was a cross over between ‘professional’ and beginning storytellers. The delight and integrity made me curious about Emerson.

I wasn’t planning to go. The disappointing thing about having been around in any scene for some time is that you become suspicious of whether you really will learn anything new. All this was in my mind before Ashley Ramsden came to Melbourne last Easter. After I had attended a couple of days of his workshops I was hooked. I enrolled in a weeklong course called The storyteller at play.

Come the end of June I was in the storytelling hut, with 20 other souls from all parts of the globe. With impish wiliness, Roi Gai-or and Ashley Ramsden invited us at the very beginning of the workshop, to report back, as if it were the very end of the week.

“Oh, do you remember when we played that game?....” There was a lot of thigh slapping laughter.

Later they had us investigating the symptoms of happiness. Michael Leunig’s cartoon, ‘the seven varieties of ordinary happiness’ segued us into describing moments of our own ordinary happiness (grinding spices, smelling fresh cotton sheets, shaking the dirt from the roots of tiny weeds in the garden). Once we had basked in these exchanges we did an exercise prescribing homeopathic doses for one another. Small acts like sitting in the sun, reduced doses of screen time, more face to face human contact, naps, picnics, reading aloud…. Ah.

Just as I was about to leave I discovered there was a two-week course in Wonder Tales and Biographical stories. There is nothing closer to my heart than the resonance between traditional story and personal lived experience. The trick was that my return ticket to Australia left in the middle of it…

I presented Roi Gai-or with my dilemma. I would love to come back to do the course, this was my territory, and I was increasingly feeling that here was my Tribe. The problem was my return ticket, my obligations etc etc. As if Roi had known me all of my life, a little smile played around the corners of his mouth. “Well Julie,” he said, “I guess you are going to go away and then the day will come to make the decision and you will sit down and decide which mistake you are going to make!

As it turned out, I made the mistake of going back for more. But that, as they say, is another story…

Ashley Ramsden will be in Australia in June/July 2012 and Sue Hollingsworth in October 2012. For details of their visits email Clare Coburn

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Julie Perrin invites you to The Keys to Re-enchantment. 13 - 15 January 2012

An invitation from Julie Perrin....

If you would like to get the creative juices flowing in the new year, you are invited to 'The Keys to Re-enchantment' a weekend workshop on the Mornington Peninsula Jan 13 – 15, 2012.

I will be telling stories to assist my friend and colleague Julia Reid, a creative practices coach, whose work I find totally inspiring.

Early bird prices to Dec 13. Please pick up the phone if you would like to know more!
Click on the poster to enlarge and you can read all the details.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

JB Rowley was at Mentone Library on Saturday 24 September 2011

JB Rowley was at Mentone Library on Saturday 24 September 2011 wearing two hats; one as storyteller and one as author.

JB the author was talking about her novel, Whisper My Secret, to a warm and welcoming audience surrounded by shelves of books. When the moment arose for a little light relief JB the storyteller demonstrated the art of oral storytelling with a telling of A Reason to Beat Your Wifefrom Angela Carter’s Second Book of Fairytales.

The intimate setting of this small library allowed for chat and connection with the audience which

included Councillor Rosemary West from Kingston Council as well as local residents and library volunteers, such as Julia Reichstein who organised the series of monthly talks called An Author for all Seasons.

Fellow storyteller and author of Phar Lap the Wonder Horse, Jackie Kerin, will be entertaining another (or perhaps the same) audience at Mentone on Saturday 26 November 2011.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Skype Story Cafe

On the magical eleventh of the eleventh of 2011 we held the inaugural Skype Story Cafe.

Jackie Kerin, Gael Cresp and Bettina Nissen joined each other via a video link
and shared stories.

Jackie told GOLD! one of her tellable tales, Bettina The Harp, the mouse and the bumcock, a Jack story from Ireland and Gael The silver on the hearth, a traditional tale from Afghanistan. If you are lucky you might get to hear Bettina tell the story some time and then you also will know what a bumcock is...

Both Bettina and Gael had learned their stories especially for this event.

Although there were some technical difficulties with lines dropping in and out,
overall the event was a success and represents a new way for contact between
folk spread from Newport on the western side of Port Phillip to Kilcunda, down
between Phillip Island and Wonthaggi and Deception Bay, 30 minutes north of

It is also an excellent way for tellers to practice new stories - although nothing
beats telling to a live audience who bring so much to each story.

We hope to hold another Skype Story Cafe before Christmas so if you would like
to be included let Gael know and she will inform you of the date and time (and the
technical needs).

Contact for Gael:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jackie Kerin. An Author for all Seasons and Keeping Books Alive Conference. 26 November 2011

An Author for All Seasons

Mentone Public Library Presents:

author and storyteller Jackie Kerin.

I’m a storyteller. I practice the traditional art of spoken story. This ancient art predates the book. It could be said that the tradition of storytelling is connected to the book like blossom to fruit.

My favourite stories are those of my own creation. My current passion involves collecting unique Australian historical tales and putting them into language for telling. These wonderful stories belong to us all.”

When: Saturday, 26th November 2011

Time: 11am

Where: Mentone Public Subscription Library

Address: Rear, 36 Florence Street, Mentone. 3194

(At the Rear of the Community Assistance

and Information Bureau [CAB]

The CAB is opposite Australia Post)

Entry: Gold Coin Donation

Bookings Essential.

Enquiries and Bookings:

Sue Blackford (Secretary) – 9583-5648

Julia Reichstein (Publicity) –

Please RSVP by Thursday, 24th November 2011

Children's Charity Network and the Australian Children's Literary BoardSeminar.

click to enlarge poster

Jackie Kerin has a habit of saying: Before there were books, there were stories. Oral storytelling is connected to the book like blossom to fruit.

This professional development seminar is designed to inform and inspire secondary and primary teachers, librarians and those interested in promoting literacy.

In an event that is primarily about the written word, its good to see that the organisers recognise the importance that oral storytelling plays in developing literacy and an appreciation of stories written.

This promises to be an inspiring, informative and fun way to celebrate the end of the year with others who are passionate about words - on paper and spoken.

Features of the day include many prizes, gourmet catering, great ideas to implement at the work-place, latest news and availability of presenters, handouts, signings and lively discussion.

Registration fee: $110

Please direct all enquiries to:

Rob Leonard

Ph (03) 5282 8950

Fax: (03) 4206 7811


Rocket Clock Story Slam: “How Times Change"

This month, we're looking for stories of times gone by, old habits or past passions. Things we used to do, believe or want. Moving on. Growing up. Turning the corner.

Pre-register your intent to tell by emailing or register on the night. Everyone is welcome to come along and listen, laugh, drink, cheer & weep.

Wednesday November 9, 2011
Doors open 7.30pm; slam kicks off 8.30pm.

$5 pre-sale (+ $2 booking fee) or $8 on the door. Book tickets now via the Bella Union website:

Bella Union
Level 1, Trades Hall
Corner of Victoria & Lygon Streets
Carlton South

What is Rocket Clock?

Rocket Clock is a monthly story slam competition. Ten people each have five minutes to tell a story around a particular theme. Judges in the audience rate each story on both content and performance. Everyone has a great time.

More info:
Rocket Clock on Twitter
Rocket Clock on Facebook