Guadalajara, The Storytelling City
Once upon a time, there was a city that liked to listen stories. Once a year, people meet in their marvellous Palace to tell stories to each other for 46 hours. No interruptions, day and night. The name of this city is Guadalajara, it is in Spain and has been celebrating this Festival of the Word for the last 21 years.
Next appointment is on June 15th, 16th and 17th, in the “Palacio del Infantado”. Activities begin few days before the 15th of June and stories impregnate all the city and even travel to more than twenty villages of the Province of Guadalajara.
The motto of the Festival this year is “The Mysteries of Europe”. In addition to the Festival, a seminary with this same tittle will take place on the 14th and 15th of June, in which professional storytellers and specialists of traditional literature from more than 20 different european countries will reflect about the oral narration.
Anonymous citizens prepare with excitement their stories, while professional storytellers from different countries go to Guadalajara to participate voluntarily in this big celebration. Students, kids, writers, politicians, policemen or firefighters, they all take the microfone to tell their stories with just one single rule: It is not allowed to read.
Stories and tales, traditional or modern, told in different languages or in sign language, for children, or humorous, erotic or scary stories…. There is also a place for “minimal stories” of one minute long.
The Storytelling Marathon of Guadalajara was celebrated in 1992 for the first time, when the mayoress of the city was Blanca Calvo, who also was the director of the Public Library. She thought about organizing an interrupted narration of 24 hours and to enter in the World Guiness Records. The number of people increased every year so that the event increased its duration until 2 days. About 600 stories are told in the courtyard of the Palace.
Apart from the interrupted narration in the Palace, stories come to hospitals and old people homes, performances take place in the streets, life music and exhibitions and conferences with the main subject of oral narration. Painters immortalizing the stories in their paintings, photographers portraiting the storytellers… A local radio broadcast all the stories. There is no excuse this year for not coming to Guadalajara and be part of this Festival of the Word, the Storytelling Marathon.
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