One of the new featured tellers at the festival is Simon Brooks. He is here to help us celebrate our 30th anniversary and we’ve asked him to tell us a little about himself.
“I was born in Tuffley, Gloucestershire, England, but spent most of my growing up in Worcester, near the Malvern Hills and the Welsh border. From Worcester we would make forays into Wales to see the castles, and travel visiting standing stones burial grounds, battle sights and other story places. I moved to the United States in 1994 to marry an American girl I had met in Eastbourne, England where I had been working and telling tales! Fast forward 25 years. We now live in New London, New Hampshire, New England, New World, and have a son and daughter, and cat and dog. If you follow me on Instagram (SimonMBrooks), you will see the hashtag – #inthewoodswithmoe which shows the hikes I take with my dog. You will also see where I have been telling my tales when you use #ontheroadstorytelling.
The tales I tell are the Ancient Tales – myths, legends, folk and fairy tales. I rarely tell personal stories, although sometimes use personal narrative as a segue in or out of a tale. I feel the old stories are powerful, and filled with wisdom and wonder, whereas my life is well, my life and therefore lacking mermaids, giants, and the wee folk I love so much! I tell these tales to adults as well as children, and absolutely love my job.
I have five CDs out, Second-hand Tales (2006); More Second-hand Tales (2008), which won a Silver Honors from Parent’s Choice; and A Tangle of Tales (2011), which won a Gold Award from people’s Choice. In 2015 I hurriedly released Moonlit Stories for a theatre show – Revels North which features Tam Lim. This went from inception to release in under two months! Never again. I released The Epic of Gilgamesh, a retelling in 2017, and in 2018 it won a Gold Award from Parent’s Choice. This is an authentic retelling of the epic, and accessible to anyone, with the goal of being appropriate for middle school children. I felt the versions I saw used in schools I visited were not authentic, or were boring. I have a lot of very happy Gilgamesh fans out there of all ages!
My first book, Under the Oaken Bough, a collection of 17 folk and fairy tales, was released in 2018 to great reception. It is a handy little book with a section on tips for telling, an author’s Q & A (did you know that most authors write their own Qs to A?), a resource list/bibliography, and a lexicon, or vocab list with all the “big words” so I wouldn’t have to take them out of the book! It is published by Parkhurst Brothers and is available most places – order it from your local brick and mortar book shop or snag your copy at Timpanogos! Although you can order it on-line!
If you have never heard my work before, or want to hear even more of my work, my CDs can be found for sale at my distributor, CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/artist/simonbrooksstoryteller
and here: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/simonbrooks5
I also have a number of other places you can find my work. On SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/smbrooks) I rotate work in and out, put new work up, some of which might make future albums. My YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQmugRW-V4nqesolERq-0QA) features a number of videos of me performing, and some other storytellers who were filmed by me. You can find my work for free on my website SimonBrooksStoryteller.com (which points to https://www.diamondscree.com/ ) > Videos, Audio and Free Stuff page (https://www.diamondscree.com/freestuff). If you are interested in listening to interviews of the elders in my community who tell, or told folk and fairy tales, myths and legends – such as Elizabeth Ellis, Laura Simms, Michael Parent, Jay O’Callahan and others – please visit my podcast: https://smbrooks.podbean.com/ which comes out once a month. You can get early access and other goodies if you sign up on my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/simonbrooks which helps keep the podcast running! You can also hear me on Rachel Ann Harding’s podcast, StoryStoryPodcast where I occasionally host and also tell stories! http://storystorypodcast.com/
If you have any questions please feel to reach out to me and I will do my best to answer them. You can use the from on my website or shoot me an email: simon at diamondscree dot com. The form sends me an email, so it’s kind of the same thing! I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can. Sometimes I am on the road travelling and telling stories!
We’re so glad to have you join us this year, Simon. To hear his stories as well as others, please join us at the 30th anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, September 5-7 at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. Tickets can be purchased online.