If you’re looking for a brilliant gift for your favorite storyteller, I’ve put this list together for you. If you are your favorite storyteller, kudos for loving you so much and go ahead and share this with your friends and family right away!
Since you readers are international, I haven’t included bookshop links, but if you can, please order your books secondhand or from your local independent bookstore or webshop. In the US, you can use Bookshop.org.
Storytellers love stories! If you want to work on storytelling, short stories are the way to go. They’re a great format to learn from because you can study their structures. You can even think about telling some of these stories yourself.
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Carter digs deep into the psychology of familiar fairy tales and reveals layers you only ever sensed before. Her fierce heroines are just wonderful and turn the helpless woman saved by a random strong man trope on its head. Also, any writer who can imagine three Little Red Riding Hoods is on my share with others list for sure! Read reviews here.
The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin collected by Idries Shah
Speak to anyone from Turkey, Syria, or the rest of parts of the world we refer to as the Middle East and they will recognize the name Nasrudin. He’s a traditional folklore character best described as the wise fool. This collection of 90 stories will make you both laugh and shake your head. They’re perfect little additions to your lesson or presentation. Read it for free here or order a copy for your bookshelf!
Slightly Foxed Magazine
Slightly Foxed is a quarterly magazine about good old books. Four times a year, I receive a gorgeous little book filled with well-written essays about books that have been around for a while. Sometimes it’s a trip down memory lane, like the article about Jane Eyre and sometimes it’s a discovery, like the time they recommended Edmund Crispin’s Gervase Fen mysteries and they turned out to be exactly my cup of tea.
For (future) writers
I’m a huge journaling advocate and jump at the chance to encourage anyone to start journaling. My ultimate journaling package would include three things: a journal, a pen, and a candle.
Muji A5 notebook
These are the journals I use for morning pages and have used for all kinds of purposes for a decade now. They’re soft covered, 6mm ruled, and lay flat. The paper takes fountain pen without bleeding and at 96 pages each, I fill one every two months. At €6.50 each, they’re much more affordable than other similar quality notebooks. Click here to see the notebook in Muji’s UKshop.
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
I love my Lamy Safari. It’s the only pen I journal with. It never leaks, you can choose your nib size and change it easily yourself if you want to. I take mine with me on every single trip. You can opt for refill cartridges or a refill converter that allows you to use liquid ink.
I don’t have a favorite candle, but just love the feeling of lighting a candle before I get started with my journal in the morning. It’s a whole atmosphere thing – just gorgeous.
For podcast listeners
Listening to podcasts is a great way to improve your storytelling skills. You’ll hear a wide range of styles and voices that you can draw on for inspiration.
Bluetooth earbuds are my favorite way to listen to podcasts. They allow me to move around the house or go for a walk while listening without worrying about cords getting in the way. Check your favorite ratings website to find a pair that fits your needs and budget! I like the Wirecutter.
The Moth books
The Moth features true stories told live on stage without notes. These are the ultimate storytellers! They’ve published three story collections of great stories from the show. Each collection has a theme, so pick one that’s perfect for your storyteller!
Show gear or sponsorship
If your storyteller has a favorite podcast, consider supporting their podcast with either a donation in your storyteller’s name or some cool podcast gear. The Moth Shop does well here (again) with some great “tell me a story” t-shirts and gear.
For story work
If your storyteller wants to get serious about their storytelling, there are some awesome resources out there that I can heartily recommend. Here are three books I’ve read and return to regularly.
Long Story Short by Margot Leitman
Leitman is a Moth GrandSLAM winner and talented storyteller. Her book takes the reader through the process of finding, refining, and telling a story. She draws on her personal and professional experiences to shape exercises and offer insights that are worth returning to. Click here to visit Leitman’s website.
Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
If you want to use storytelling techniques to market your product or service, Miller’s book will show you how to do that. His big insight is positioning the client as the hero in the story. Once you’ve done that, a dozen details fall into place to give you a story that will work! Click here to visit the book site.
StoryCraft by Jack Hart
If your storyteller is an academic or scientist who wants to write for a broader audience, this is the book for them. Hart wrote this book after a career in editing narrative nonfiction to Pulitzer Prize winning levels. He digs deep into issues like perspective, structure, and action and offers a comprehensive set of guidelines for any non-fiction writer. Click here to visit the book site and read some articles Hart worked on.
If your storyteller is looking for more personal guidance on how to craft and tell their story, then personal coaching might be the best gift for them!
Story Coaching at StoryCraft
StoryCraft offers personalized story coaching packages from a single session that will turn your “who/problem/solution” formula into a story to extensive one-on-one packages for developing a keynote speech or personal statement. Get in touch for more information and we’ll create the perfect plan together!