Special Honour – 2014
Widely-recognized as a storyteller who touches her audiences with the depth and power of her work, Jan has traveled extensively, telling stories at festivals and in concerts across Canada, in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. A committed member of the Canadian storytelling community, she was the first president of Storytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada and founded the organization’s StorySave project. She also served as Artistic Director of two long-running Ottawa storytelling series (one at the Fourth Stage of the National Arts Centre). She has co-founded an arts education organization, co-produced and performed in complete tellings of The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Mahabharata. Jan tells everything from folktales to literary stories, from epic to personal tales. She is also the author of classic books for young people. Always a groundbreaker, she was the first Storyteller/Writer in Residence at the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture at the University of Manitoba.
With this special recording for StorySave Jan carries us into the far-off time of one of the world’s greatest stories. She takes us to a riverbank where a princess plays at ball with her maidens, to a palace where Penelope the Queen waits valiantly for her beloved husband’s return. Lives are changed: a rescue and a reunion, joy and sorrow, passion and relief.
One of Canada’s most-renowned storytellers, Jan has been conjuring the lives of Penelope and Nausicaa for over twenty years. She has a love affair with Homer that comes out of the intensity of humanness he brings us. She considers it an honour to stand among all those others — writers, translators, storytellers, actors, artists — who have contributed to ensuring that Homer’s legacy is eternally made present, eternally renewed