Jan Sutch Pickard

Book Jan Sutch Pickard

Jan tells a variety of stories, including traditional tales of Mull and Iona where she lives. These range from stories of Columba to tales of the Clearances. Having lived in Africa for five years and visited other parts of the world, such as the Andes in her previous work as a journalist, Jan includes true stories from these travels as well as traditional tales from other cultures. Recently she spent three months as a volunteer on the West Bank, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and is still working on stories heard and lived through there.

Jan is a published poet who relishes the music of poetry, from hearing it recited with passion, as a child, to learning it by heart and sharing it with her own children. Jan enjoys the stimulus of working with diverse groups: the contrast between school groups ready for participation, and adults who came expecting a lecture. Having spent several years in Iona helping to create a safe and welcoming place where storytelling played a vital role, she now enjoys being welcomed onto other people’s home territory, and discovering the stories there.

Having learned a lot about the power of story in church contexts, she particularly enjoys working on pilgrimages – reflecting on the significance of spaces and stories on the move. Jan is the eldest child in a family of seven, and has lived all over the UK, from Stranraer to Nottinghamshire. She grew up listening to family legends from two grandmothers, while both parents relished and recited poetry. An early experience was telling stories to her siblings, and together they made up and performed plays.

Storytelling continued with her own three children. After six years in Iona, working for the Iona Community, latterly as the Warden of the Abbey, she moved six miles and a world away, to the very down-to-earth village of Bunessan on the Ross of Mull.

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