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National Storytelling Week launches: UK’s largest biographer discusses the stories Brits have to tell

Why does story telling make us human?

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Biographer StoryTerrace reveals that the number of Brits writing their own story is verging on 1 million – and continuing to grow.

StoryTerrace concludes 2000 biographies alongside a spike during lockdown,

CEO of UK’s leading biographer discusses the significance of storytelling and why it goes beyond books and films to family histories and tall tales.

Many of us do not realise how much we rely on storytelling in our everyday lives. However, recent research from the nation’s leading storyteller has shed light on the prominence the activity has in our every day lives. As StoryTerrace complete 2000 national biographies which skyrocketed over lockdown, it seems that now more than ever before we are relying on storytelling to help us through times of difficulty. 

As this week marks the first National Storytelling Week during a global pandemic, reflecting on the power of storytelling has never been more pertinent. Some people more readily associate the activity with children and fantasy tales, but it becomes clearer with age how important stories really are to us. Certain accounts and experiences we retell can resonate with us for several years throughout our lives, and we can often recall stories from our childhood which stick with us forever.

Why stories make us human

The power of storytelling comes as little surprise when we consider how it catalysed the invention of language. Going back thousands of years, it is believed that human language developed from the desire to share stories and gossip among social early humans. The origins of language itself therefore demonstrate how storytelling is so integral to how we function as humans – we have an innateness to tell and exchange stories with each other, which has stood the test of time.

Where did storytelling originate from?

In present day, storytelling has provided a method of grounding ourselves – especially during lockdown. Our favourite films and novels have allowed us to escape the sometimes mundane nature of life, which is reflected in how book sales hit record numbers in 2020 with over 200 million sold. But there is a growing consensus that our personal stories are the greatest of them all. Leading biographer StoryTerrace found that almost 1 million Brits have penned their own books during lockdown.

What Covid means for the stories we tell

The way we engage with our past is undergoing seismic change. Unfortunately, lockdown has kept us physically apart during the past year – but it appears not even a global pandemic can diminish the power of our storytelling. Biographer StoryTerrace have revealed that increasing numbers of us taking the plunge and documenting our life narratives, as they have recently concluded over 2,000 books over lockdown, thereby changing the way we interact with our own histories.

Rutger Bruining, CEO of biography writing service StoryTerrace, discusses how storytelling plays a significant role in everyday life for us all:

“During National Storytelling Week, I think it is important to consider the vital role which storytelling plays in our lives. Humans have been telling their stories for as long as they have been able to communicate with each other, with lockdown especially highlighting how much joy we find in exchanging stories. The basis of storytelling has been primarily virtual for the past year, but it hasn’t diminished the power behind its craft. And although we all have our favourite films and world renowned novels, the greatest stories are those which are personal to us. 

I think the reason that storytelling has stood the test of time is based on how it brings people together, which also resonates with me on a personal level. When I thought of the idea for StoryTerrace, I was inspired by my Grandad’s fascinating stories of his time at war – I wanted to find a way to make them more permanent so that they could be enjoyed for future generations in my family. During lockdown, we at StoryTerrace had the pleasure of hearing such a vast variety of inspiring stories and experiences of people across the nation.

Writing your personal biography can be one of the most satisfying projects you ever embark on. Research has even shown that it can provide strong mental health benefits, which has become especially important during lockdown. The process of writing your memoirs can help you gain perspective on past events, relive wonderful memories and even rekindle relationships with people you’ve drifted away from over the years.”

About StoryTerrace

StoryTerrace helps people to turn their life story into a book. The company takes care of the whole process – matching clients with one of their 600 professional writers, interviews, photo gathering, editing, design and printing. Books are on average 100 pages long, meaning that everyone can have their life story – or the life stories of their loved ones – documented in a professionally curated autobiography, biography, or series of memoirs.

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