Stories change with who tells them, who listens to them, and how they’re told. It’s one of the things we’ve loved most about StoryFest these past five years – creating a space for new and familiar stories to grow. We honour this exchange through these written and illustrated stories curated in the Festival commission, The Book of Tales.
This collaboration brings together five international storytellers who have previously made their Asian premiere at StoryFest Singapore, and five Singapore-based visual artists. Presented as a digital picture book, these stories commemorate the transmission of oral tradition beyond borders.
The Book of Tales will be available online without charge beyond the Festival. We invite you to enjoy and share the stories in their different forms. Revisit the stories as many times as you want – see how they change (or not) with you.
Shela’s Journey (West Africa)
STORYWRITER: MAÏMOUNA JALLOW (KENYA)
ILLUSTRATOR: A’SHUA IMRAN
After slave traders kidnapped her parents from their home, young Shela goes in search of them. Her journey brings her through time to different continents. Using special powers, she reminds her descendants that their ancestors have not forgotten them, and that they can still find their way back home.
The Bulbul and the Tortoise (Arabic folktale from North Africa)
STORYWRITER: MARTINA PISCIALI (ITALY)
ILLUSTRATOR: CHAN SHU YIN
Three tortoises live in a garden at the edge of the desert. One day, a bulbul flies overhead, singing. The trio convinced it to stay – even though staying meant that the bulbul had to give up a big part of itself. The day a trespasser appears, the bulbul sees the tortoises’ true colours. Discover the dangers of losing ourselves for the sake of an easy life.
Edith’s Lyrebird (Australia)
STORYWRITER: JACKIE KERIN (AUSTRALIA)
ILLUSTRATOR: THAM PUI SAN
When a lyrebird* appears in her garden, Edith the flower farmer’s first reaction is to get rid of it. After all, it dug out her plants and built mounds! Once the duo get to know each other, Edith softens and changes her mind. How does she celebrate her new friend instead?
*An iconic Australian bird that performs complex dances and the world’s finest mimicry.
The Six Swans (Germany)
STORYWRITER: DANIEL ALLISON (SCOTLAND)
Raven’s six brothers have been cursed to live as swans. She learns that she can lift the curse by sewing nettle shirts. However, she must bear this burden and remain silent until they’re finished. She remained silent when wrongfully accused of killing her own son. She remained silent when sentenced to be burned for her so-called crime. How will she save herself?
The Child of the Simorgh (Iran)
STORYWRITER: XANTHE GRESHAM KNIGHT (ENGLAND)
ILLUSTRATOR: KUMUDA KROVVIDI
When Sam’s newborn son is different, he banishes his child. Unexpectedly, his son finds a home with Simorgh, a mythical bird. Years later, Sam arrives at Simorgh’s nest filled with regret, forcing Simorgh to make a choice. Enjoy this story from the epic Persian poem, Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), that explores acceptance, forgiveness and family.