When Story Island met Book Island

Professional storyteller Emily Duizend from Story Island will be reading tales for children published by Book Island at Paraparaumu Library Thursday 1 August from 10.30 11am.

Emily and Book Island owner Greet Pauwelijn met by chance at the publisher’s stall at Petone fair in February 2013, when Emily was in Paekākāariki doing a five week course organised by the In the Belly of the Whale School of Storytelling. Book Island is a publishing house for children’s books in translation based on the Kāpiti Coast in New Zealand.

“Greet and I had a lovely chat at the Petone fair and she must have liked my voice because three weeks later she turned up out of the blue at St Peter’s Hall in Paekākāariki where I was doing the course and asked if I would read some of Book Island’s books at the In the Belly of the Whale storytelling festival,” Emily said.

“I was really thrilled to be asked as I love the surprising and unusual books that Book Island publishes for children. It was also a great opportunity to put my training as a storyteller into action.”

For Emily, that fortuitous meeting with Greet has been just one of the magical experiences that have led to her decision to return to Paekākāariki to live, starting in July 2013.

“I’m inspired by the Kāpiti coast and the many creative people that live around here. In fact the ever present magic of Kāpiti Island is one of the reasons I named my website Story Island,” Emily said.

2013 has already been a year of many changes in Emily’s life.

“A year ago I was living in Melbourne, working as a project manager for a community organisation in a job I had been in for five years. It was a satisfying role in many ways but I craved more creativity in my life. In the past 8 months I have had a major shift in direction, moving from Melbourne, to the UK and now to New Zealand. Following my passion for storytelling has been a big part of this.”

Since completing the course in Paekākāariki, Emily has worked extensively as a storyteller bringing traditional and not-so-traditional fairy tales, folktales and myths alive to audiences of all ages. She has performed in libraries, schools, nursing homes, at festivals and private functions. She also runs storytelling events as well as workshops in storytelling and story-making.

“There is a magic that seems to happen when we listen to stories that doesn’t go away just because we grow up. It’s a great feeling to be able to bring that magic to people,” Emily said.

“I particularly enjoy working with the elderly. I perform in nursing homes and also run story-making workshops for people with dementia. These workshops allow the imagination to flow, without the pressure of having to remember. It’s lots of fun, but it also has a profound therapeutic impact on participants in terms of promoting self-esteem and bonding.

“I’m really looking forward to continuing grow as a storyteller in New Zealand, becoming a part of this wonderful community and especially to doing more events with Book Island,” Emily said.

Emily Duizend’s website is www.storyisland.net.

Book Island’s website is www.bookisland.co.nz.