Morgan Schatz Blackrose – International Storyteller and Author
I was born at the foot of the Snowy Mountains in NSW, Australia on the traditional lands of the Ngarigo people. I grew up on a farm outside the small rural town of Tumbarumba, (or Toomaroombah, as the traditional owners called it, meaning mother earth is talking). I now live in Brisbane (Meanjin) the traditional land of the Turrbal people. For the past thirty nine years I have worked as a professional storyteller, writer and educator. My stories have taken me to schools, hospitals, libraries, festivals and conferences in Australia and overseas. I tell stories to celebrate our diversity, impart a sense of wonder in our being but also because storytelling is fun. My primary purpose is to get everyone sharing their stories, so as well as performing, I run professional development and literacy advocacy workshops for educators, and storytelling workshops for primary and secondary school students. I am passionate about the role of folktales as a powerful teaching tool in fostering cultural identity and forging tolerance between cultures, in addition to being an entertaining medium for the transmission of global cultural values. All of my programmes include traditional tales from the country where I am telling. My other storytelling focus is training early childhood educators in storytelling, so that their storytimes and language programmes are inclusive, multi-cultural and interactive.
(excerpt from Why I’m a Storyteller)
I grew up in a household devoid of books, but not of stories. My parents had little time for reading, with the exception of the weekly newspapers. In a time when organized recycling was unheard of, these venerated providers of information and entertainment ended their lives as either fire lighting material or conveniently torn strips of paper, threaded on to a length of wire in the outhouse. But some newspapers refused to die.
I remember helping my mother replace the newspapers that lined the cupboards and drawers. It would take ages to finish the job because we would reread the old papers. At the kitchen table we retold the stories we’d read.
Storytelling was how we communicated with each other. It was how we shared our day-to-day activities and how we learnt about the lives of our parents and our grandparents. It was how we remembered people and events and how we forged new friendships. Our stories became our identity.