Sue Hollingsworth has been a professional storyteller, workshop facilitator and leader and coach for over 20 years. Before she founded the Centre for Biographical Storytelling in 2017, she co-founded the International School of Storytelling, the longest established school of its kind in Europe and Storytelling in Organisations which pioneered business storytelling in Europe from 1997.
However Sue was already interested in stories long before all of that. In her 20’s she travelled all over the world for 5 years, immersing herself in the stories of the different cultures she encountered. This is where her passion for African stories began. Days, weeks and months of listening to different people’s stories in many different countries, on buses, boats and trains honed her ear (and nose!) for a good tale and convinced her that every human being on this planet has a story to tell. The only question was: even if their stories were not as interesting as others, why did some people get listened to more than others?
By 1987 Sue was working in business, had completed an MBA and was a Business Development Director, mostly for US Software Companies. There she first encountered structured stories as a qualified Dale Carnegie Coach and began using stories extensively in her leadership and coaching work. The answers to why some people were better storytellers than others began to become clearer. When she attended the Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival in 1994 she experienced a profound awakening to the power of story to create meaning, connection and community in our lives and she has worked with stories and storytelling ever since.
Her storytelling repertoire includes performances such as Along the Way: Stories from the Camino, Out of Eden: an Ecological Adventure, Conducting the Storm, Thicker Than Water, When the Full Moon Rises and The Year of the Snake. She is the co-author of the best selling book The Storyteller’s Way: Sourcebook for Inspired Storytelling which explores the craft of telling traditional stories and is currently writing a companion volume on the craft of telling personal stories. You can find out more about her and her work at www.suehollingsworth.com
Nowadays, Sue is focussed on the power of personal stories and storytelling and so her workshops and performances tend to revolve around what it means to be a human being on this planet in the 21st century. She offers courses, trainings and workshops in the craft of telling personal stories, community building through story, story retreats for men and women on relationship and leading story walks in nature. In 2018, she will begin runing Biographical Storytelling Facilitator Trainings around the world to pass on the knowledge and experience she has gained to the next generations of storytellers. She believes that sharing the stories of our lives tends to be one of the best solutions to loneliness, community fragmentation, impoverished leadership and leads to enormous personal and spiritual growth. She even dares to say that it is very difficult to fight someone if you know their story.
When Sue isn’t working she loves putting on her boots and going for long walks, singing, astrology and the company of good friends. Five years ago she gave away most of her possessions, rented out her house and has been “free range” as she puts it! Living without a base or one fixed place has given her a new appreciation of nomadic cultures as well as facilitating the enormous amount of travel it takes to keep many storytelling plates spinning at the same time all over the world. She is relishing the challenge of forming a global hub for those people working with personal stories and is looking forward to bringing all elements of her extensive network together to form a resilient storytelling community at the Centre for Biographical Storytelling.