When one works with those who have had to leave behind everything, often stories and their deep groundedness in orality is all they have been able to carry with them across geographical boundaries. This is not just a metaphor. It is the ground, the reality of migrants’ lives. How do you carry a lifetime in 30 kgs of checked in baggage? And that is for those who are the more privileged migrants. Travel on a rickety rubber dinghy packed without an inch to spare between people, and you’d be lucky if the life jacket around your neck does not suffocate you. 

In such circumstances, stories become many things - memories, life rafts, entertainment, lullabies, home. 

But for many refugees in the current hostile climate for refugees, stories have become currency. The relationship between stories and their exchange as currency is not new. In traditional stories, one finds storytellers plying their trade for coin. Scheherazade told stories to save lives of women in her husband’s kingdom and herself. But she also told stories in response to the king’s command ‘Tell me a story’. The choice of story was up to her. And that changed everyone’s story in the kingdom. Telling stories has not been divorced from earning a living or saving a life. 

But in the current climate of the importance of ‘personal’ and ‘cultural’ stories in almost every part of our lives, stories take on a commodification where life and death are the stakes that are in play. Right-wing media and discourse trades on ‘stories’ of the parasitic nature of migrants, and on the other hand, sympathetic discourse equally relies on ‘stories’ that reveal the strength and vitality of migrant presence and contributions. Almost everyone speaks through these ‘stories’ – starting from personal instances told in third person that progressively get more abstracted and rarified as they travel over print, tongues and impressions. They sway policies.

En Castellano

Sara Arámbula is an oral writer; a narrator who writes the majority of the stories she tells. A graduate in Pharmacy and based in the south of Sweden, in the region of Skania, in 2006 she decided that she wanted to write her own story as a narrator. She is currently president of Berättarakademin BRAK, an association of Swedish and Danish narrators whose aim is to explore and develop modern oral narration as a form of artistic expression.

Through her answers in the second interview, Sara reveals some of the details regarding her work, and brings us closer to the figure of narrator in Nordic countries.

sara arámbula


AEDA is an entity that has always shown its support and interest in the project of an European federation of storytelling. Since FEST beginnings, we have considered AEDA part of the federation and we have contributed and collaborated in different areas.

Nevertheless, we have been noticing that the FEST organization and its internal functioning are not in accordance with the principles that we understand belong to an entity like this in matters like the internal administration or the transmission of information to all its members. That is why we renounce to continue being a member of FEST.

We are sorry to have made such a drastic decision, but we trust that in a not too distant future the situation can revert.

Spanish / Catalan / Basque / Galician


Those involved in oral narration spend their lives telling, saying, speaking; we are men and women of the word, of words, and we understand the power which hides behind them.  We know that words can destroy and build, push and hug, injure and cure... For that reason, in these turbulent times, AEDA wishes to condemn all forms of violence, whether verbal or physical, and is sending out an appeal for dialogue, an appeal to create spaces in which to meet and share words, places in which to cultivate words which can bridge gaps, build harmony and bring people together.

This is not just an appeal to our politicians, but is also an appeal to all those caught up in the mayhem of recent days; to journalists, to people from our culture, to public figures, to one another, to you, to us, to everyone.



Translated by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Spanish / Portuguese

I first met Tim Bowley in 2004 at the PalavrasAndarilhas (Wandering Words) in Beja. He appeared to me a tall tree with a boyish twinkle in his eye. Beside him sat CasildaRegueiro, to “translatell” his stories into Spanish. Their pas de deux was wonderful to watch but what impressed me most was his voice and how it held us in a firm embrace and took us on journeys to far corners of the world but to places that were so close to our hearts. It was a mesmerising evening! 

Tim started coming to Portugal in the end of the nineties to tell and give training (1998 in Braga and then 1999 in Lisbon) and became one of the first international storytellers to gain attention from the Portuguese audience. Since then he has told stories to thousands of smiling listeners and shared his experience and knowledge with hundreds of teachers, educators, librarians and storytellers. But how come only then did I cross paths with this great storyteller? I was hooked from that moment on and drove miles to see him and Casildaand later also with Charo Pita whenever they told stories in Portugal. Amongotherplaces, Timtold in Braga, Beja, Lisbon, Oeiras, Pombal, Vila Nova de Paiva, Montemor, Vilamoura, Óbidos, Tavira, Coimbra,..

I was lucky enough to start chasing tale tellers before the crisis hit when libraries and municipalities in Portugal could still hire the best to come to our little garden by the sea. Tim Bowley is a name that brings smiles to many manyfaces here in Portugal. He has given several workshops, one of which was an intensive course in Oeiraswhich I was fortunate enough to be a part of, and many wonderful story filled evenings all over the country. Some of his stories and collections of tales have been published in Portuguese and are in the hearts and on the tips of the tongues of many storytellers here.Rare is the storytelling session, especially with children, when I don’t wip out his book, “Jamie and the acorns”, to play with the audience with the repetitions and remind us of the cycles of life and how important it is to persist in protecting them.

Article published in Telling in Tandem by Tim Bowley and retrived by our webside with author's consent. Lots of thanks, Tim.



I must admit that when I first received the invitation to contribute to this book, I had never before heard the term 'Tandem Telling' in spite of spending the last twenty five years as a Storyteller. I assume it means people who tell as part of a pair or group, each telling a tale one after the other. If so, this is quite a long way removed from what I and my telling partner do, although I suppose you could definitely call it 'tandem telling'. I live and work in Spain and, due to a congenital British inability to learn a foreign language to anywhere near the level required to tell, I work with a Spanish partner who translates the story into Spanish as we go along, so, rather than interchanging story by story, we are swapping phrase by phrase. 

On hearing this described, many people think that it must be very boring to listen to but, wonderfully, magically, mysteriously, the reverse is true and the listener gets two versions, two interpretations, of the same story. Add to that a rythmic interplay of male and female voice, the music of two different languages running side by side, two perceptions of each event in the story, and the effect is hypnotic. There is a shamanic exercise in which someone whispers into one ear of the acolyte while another whispers something different in the other. The effect is to break the hearer free from his normal level of consciousness and propel him into another dimension. I believe that telling in this way has something of the same magic about it and actually increases the power that storytelling possesses to lift the listener out of everyday reality into worlds where anything is possible.