Featured Storytellers 2019

The 2019 Listowel International Storytelling & Folklore Festival features a variety of storytellers from the USA, Scotland and Ireland, all of whom will bring their unique style of storytelling to our inaugural Festival.

A full programme of events will be available soon.

Randel McGee

Randel is a versatile writer and entertainer with over 30 years of professional experience. Randel has had extensive experience touring schools, libraries, special events, puppetry/ ventriloquism/ storytelling festivals across the USA and Asia. His comedy-ventriloquism act of Randel McGee and Groark (the dragon) is very popular with family audiences around the world. He has produced 2 series of character education videos used in English and Spanish speaking schools. His storytelling portrayal of Hans Christian Andersen is a favourite with audiences of all ages and he has presented at conferences about H.C. Andersen’s life and influences. He has served as a consultant and workshop director for educators from pre-school to university level and different art organizations. He is an author and illustrator with 12 books of holiday paper craft projects for children.

Lizzie McDougall

Lizzie is an artist and storyteller fascinated by the pictures that stories, particularly traditional Highland stories, inspire in the mind’s eye. She has gathered stories that have been shared by generations; nature stories, historic stories and fairy stories that strengthen connections to Highland culture, nature and the environment.

Lizzie grew up in Edinburgh where as a child she loved to listen to Highland stories; she was so inspired by the tales she heard from Mary Dunlop the Barrel Organ Lady and Compton Mackenzie that she set off on her own adventures to discover more. She moved to the Highlands and started Moving Arts, which has run many festivals and art projects, often featuring traditional stories. She has a Degree in Cultural Studies of the Highlands and Islands from the University of the Highlands and Islands and has a Fèisean nan Gàidheal level 3 Tutor Training certificate.

Batt Burns

As a youth in the Kerry Hills, Batt was surrounded by storytellers, and spent invaluable years with his storytelling grandfather Michael Clifford. A primary school principal in the village of Sneem, Co. Kerry, Batt started a second career as a storyteller when he won the All Ireland Teachers Talent Competition in Dublin in 1983. He gave up teaching in 1994 and became a full-time entertainer in the United States, where he has appeared at all of the major storytelling festivals. He has performed at concerts, cabarets, conferences and social gatherings all over Ireland. Batt is founder of the Sneem International Storytelling & Folklore Festival held in his native village each November.

Frances Kennedy

Even though Frances now lives in Listowel, Co. Kerry she is quick to point out that she is very much a Cork woman. The youngest of a family of eleven, songs and stories were always part of her home life. Neighbours called at night and her father would fill them up with all sorts of stories. Her mother, a great believer in ghosts would tell of strange lights seen and things going bump in the night, so it was easy for Frances to fall into singing and telling the odd story. But it was in Listowel that Frances first started singing in public and everyone in Kerry had a story to tell, so she just joined in.

It was in Listowel, of course, that Frances met John B. Keane, one of her idols and there were many great singing nights in his pub. John B encouraged Frances to tell a recitation or a yarn and before she knew it she was entertaining often.

Godfrey Coppinger

Godfrey is a five-year-old cleverly disguised as a little old lady! She is a life-long doodler, scribbler, and storyteller. She loves to sing songs. make music, and dance. Godfrey looks funny when she dances, but she doesn’t care. Originally from California, Godfrey now lives in Listowel, with a leprechaun, a fancy dog, and a retired pirate. She tells stories regularly at the Kerry County Library and works with Fighting Words, a creative writing program that helps students of all ages develop their writing skills and explore their love of writing. She regularly walks the streets of Listowel, searching for new adventures and new friends.

She has never ridden a horse or an elephant, but both are on her bucket list. She is variously known as The Frog Queen of the San Joaquin, Woman-Who-Runs-With-Lizards, and Teacher Goofball.

Bryan Murphy

Bryan was six years old when he first took to the stage storytelling for a competition run by Listowel Writers’ Week. A native of Causeway, Co. Kerry, he has since performed on stages all over the country, entertaining audiences of all ages. To see the enjoyment in people’s faces while captured in the story is what he loves about it.

Mickey McConnell

Mickey is the youngest member of a musical family from Bellanaleck, Co. Fermanagh. He spent most of his working life as a journalist in Dublin with the Irish Press Group and later The Irish Times. Despite the fact that he has been writing songs all his life – Only Our Rivers Run Free’ was written in 1965 – it was only when he moved to Kerry about 30 years ago that he seriously devoted himself to his music. His first album ‘Peter Pan and Me’ was released in 1992 to critical acclaim and since then many of his songs have been recorded internationally by such artists as Christy Moore, The Wolfe Tones, Mary Black and The James Last Orchestra. His album ‘Joined Up Writing’ features many new songs and takes a wry look at life and politics, not just in Ireland but worldwide.

Luke Eastwood

Luke is the co-author of Kerry Folk Tales, which takes the reader through many of the stories of Kerry spanning a huge time range – from the last century back into the times of legend and mythology. Luke will be reading a few extracts from the book and discussing how he and Gary went about researching the content. Luke is the author of several books as well as having a long history as a musician and artist. You can read more about his work at www.lukeeastwood.com.