Oral History


Read it. Write it. Listen to it. Summer has arrived and it’s time to try something new. For those of us who love a good narrative in any form, summer festivals and events are an excellent way to accomplish such a task. Today in the literary world, it is easy to indulge in Canadian literature without experiencing the oral narrative, which has been integral to Canadian heritage. Through stories, songs or folktales, the Canadian narrative has been passed down from one generation to another. The infamous novel, Green Grass Running Water by Thomas King, highlights issues dealing with oratory narratives. The novel is an excellent account of the increasing devaluation of oral literature and stresses the importance of equaling the status between the oral and written narrative. There is a unique fluidity in the oral narrative tradition as it continuously transforms with each individual speaker.

The Toronto Storytelling Festival, which occurred on April 1, 2012 at Toronto’s breezy waterfront, Harbourfront Centre is a one-day celebration of oral literature and all things Canadian. The festival uses oral literature as a means to address issues such as “Canadian Identity” and the unique way in which Canada has grown as a nation.

And it’s definitely not too late to get involved. Wychwood Barns hosts numerous storytelling events that celebrate the oral narrative tradition not only in Canada, but globally.