Ella Berthoud
Ella is a bibliotherapist at The School of Life

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News Archive

Visit to UAE

Last week I had an opportunity to fly to Sharjah, to talk to a group of Story Tellers about bibliotherapy. These story tellers will be going to refugee camps around the world,  bringing books to them and helping them to relate to their world through stories. Hosted by UAEBBY, the UAE board on Books for Young People, the group consisted of board members, as well as writers of children’s books, the head of the Library in Sharjah, educators and interested parties. During the workshop, which lasted two days, we talked about different ways of telling stories ( using words, pictures, clay, poems and song) and how to best approach children who have been through trauma. Many of the storytellers will only be visiting for a short time, so the bibliotherapeutic aspect of their work must be short but lasting. How to leave the children with something that will last them for months or years, is the challenge. And how to help the children make sense of their own stories, building new stories for themselves, is our particular goal and desire.


As we have been invited to South Korea to talk about Bibliotherapy, Suze and I are reading up on Korean literature. My first foray was into the darkly brilliant I Have the Right to Destroy Myself by Kim Young Ha. This was completely unpredictable, but nonetheless utterly compelling. The unnamed narrator who loves his victims but allows them to annihalate themselves appears to have nothing to offer to the world other than his novel about his victims. The metafiction draws you in, because you want to find out why he does what he does, but Young delicately draws out the drama, never giving away enough about any of the characters. The one we know best, perhaps, is Mimi, a performance artist who paints with her hair, and has a deep objection to being filmed. She is the most memorable character, and the narrator himself is the one we worry about – there is a horrible sense that he is waiting for you round every street corner, or in a museum, ready to catch you when you give too much a way while contemplating a nihilistic painting





We have put up our first blog on Red Magazine’s lovely website, all about the best mood-enhancing books of 2014 so far.

Check it out here! 

Red Magazine Online

Curious Arts Festival

It’ll be bibliotherapy agogo at this wondrous festival in Hampshire.

Can’t wait!


Guernsey Literary Festival

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This year’s festival will be most exciting for Guernsey, and for me! This is my third year there, and it’s a hectic schedule. I’ll be doing an event with Specsavers, a talk about The Novel Cure, live bibliotherapy with John Gollop, and private bibliotherapy sessions in the library, and hopefully a bit of time to take in some of the other events! See the full programme here.

Getting there!

My new website is in action!

After months of pfaffing, here we are with the spanking new, beautiful website by Carl Thomas, with a bit of help from James Hambly and none at all from Ella Berthoud. Hoorah! What’s next?

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