The humanising power of story

‘Story has always been a way to make sense of the world and give shape to our fragile lives. At the heart of story lies a love of both the oral and written word, its rhythms, and its potential to express both our individual uniqueness and what it is that unites us all’.

At a sold out event to launch the 2019 Write Around the Murray Program  featured Festival author, Arnold Zable presented ‘The Humanising Power of Story’ with special guest, Dr Hecham Harb playing haunting music from Syria on violin and Oud.

On this wintry Friday evening, the ever-versatile LibraryMuseum becomes an intimate lamp-lit space for story. Stage set with elaborate caramel leather armchair, ancestral books and folders in Yiddish heaped on a battered suitcase and Saxe blue backdrop.

But as a restless citizen of the world and perpetual traveller, Arnold Zable wasn’t about to sit. Standing before a packed house he showed how ‘stories are everywhere, they can come at any time’ and proceeded to weave together all manner of tales, story fragments and narrative ideas.

Growing up in two worlds in Carlton, Melbourne, he made a pilgrimage from China across the Trans Siberian as a young man, reported from Laos and Saigon and lived in the Puerto-Rican area of Washington Heights, New York while studying at Columbia.

Jewels and Ashes is his award-winning debut work, set on the borderlands of Poland and Russia, his parents’ birthplace. And the mythic novel, Sea of Many Returns takes place on his wife’s island homeland of Ithaca.

‘[H]is tales echo and reference archetypal framing stories such as Homer’s Odyssey and Scheherazade’s One Thousand and One Nights’.

After celebrating Walter Benjamin’s storytellers of place who bring back the lore of faraway places and the storytellers of time who bring back the lore of the ancestors he told stories of expression that discover meaning, stories of impression that you hear from others, and the stories that mirror, those specific stories that are universal.

During WAM 2019, 11-15 September, Arnold Zable will be giving a workshop on Writing and Social Advocacy, participating on the Inclusion Zone panel and performing at Stereo Stories in Concert.

To make your bookings, click here.

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