Colm Tóibín dislikes being called a storyteller

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Rosemary Sutcliff used to describe herself, happily, as a teller of stories. I frequently speak of her as a story-teller, and sometimes as story-maker; and I have assumed that any writer would be pleased to be called a storyteller. But I was wrong: this is Colm Tóibín in The Guardian last week.

I dislike being called a storyteller, and resent the implication that I come from a world where the oral tradition, something primitive and unformed, remained strong or intact. This was not true; the oral tradition was not strong in the place where I grew up. I was brought up in a house where there was a great deal of silence. When my father died, his name was hardly ever mentioned again. It was too much that he had died, too hard; his absence was too palpable, too sad. So it entered the realm of what you thought about and did not speak of, a realm I remain very comfortable in to this day.

Source: Colm Tóibín: writers and their families | The Guardian.

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