I very much enjoyed the article linked to this blog post. It is by the talented, Bogotá-based, Irish novelist, Caroline Doherty de Novoa, a prominent member of the English language writing community here. She presents an interesting perspective into the use of the term "storyteller."

Now, I freely acknowledge my complete ignorance of how the term is used in either the UK or Ireland and whether there are connotations attached to it designed to belittle the Irish. I would certainly take Colm Toíbín at his word and give his perspective its due consideration, as Caroline does so well in her article.

That said, in Canada, we often celebrate our best novelists by describing them as "great storytellers." Indeed, you'll see from the first link below that my alma mater - the University of Lethbridge - notes the following, "As one of Canada’s finest writers, Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, story writer, essayist and environmental activist – the embodiment of a storyteller." 

A national periodical our ours - MacLean's Magazine - describes our one Nobel laureate for literature, Alice Munro, as being a wondrous storyteller (see the 2nd link), although I might actually prove Colm Tóibín 's point to some degree with this, given that she published compilations of short stories over novels.

Nevertheless, after having just put out my first novel, I would feel honoured if someone applied the monikor "natural storyteller" to me!



Are the Irish Natural Storytellers?

When someone says to me that the Irish are natural storytellers, I’m usually really pleased. I’m an Irish writer, and isn’t it the ultimate aim of all writers…