The Last Storytellers

Tales from the Heart of Morocco Publisher: I.B. Tauris Date of Publication: 2011 Number of Copies: 2 Author: Hamilton, Richard

Marrakech is the heart and lifeblood of Morocco’s ancient storytelling tradition. For nearly a thousand years, storytellers have gathered in the Jemaa el Fna, the legendary square of the city, to recount ancient folktales and fables to rapt audiences. But this unique chain of oral tradition that has passed seamlessly from generation to generation is teetering on the brink of extinction. The competing distractions of television, movies and the internet have drawn the crowds away from the storytellers and few have the desire to learn the stories and continue their legacy. Richard Hamilton has witnessed at first hand the death throes of this rich and captivating tradition and, in the labyrinth of the Marrakech medina, has tracked down the last few remaining storytellers, recording stories that are replete with the mysteries and beauty of the Maghreb. ‘In collecting these tales of wisdom, wonder, adventure and humour from the small and ageing group of Moroccan story -tellers Richard Hamilton has not only offered entertainment to his readers but he has also carried out a valuable form of rescue archaeology within the vanishing world of professional story-telling.’ – Robert Irwin