Sophie Snell storyteller
Sophie Snell, professional storyteller for adults and children
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Contact Sophie:

Tel: 01332 840007

Twitter: @sophiedraper9



"Brilliant news for an
exceptional storyteller.
#Cuckoo is just extraordinary
- chilling, gothic and
scared the life out of me
in the small hours."

Caroline Ambrose,
Founder Bath Novel Award.
On hearing the announcement about
Sophie's book deal, May 2018.




Beyond the Border

Prepping for a storytelling cabaret
at Beyond the Border 2014




"I loved the skilful way you teased "the
storyteller within" out to be released
on the Great British Public!"

"Feeling on top of the world after a day's advanced storytelling with Sophie Snell.
I am looking forward to telling my stories
at the library - I can hardly wait to
get to work!"

"I like the imagery of the "dominos" of
the story falling down as each part of
the story was told. I had a terrific day
and ended up with a new interest."

Feedback from participants of Only
Words Aloud and More Words Aloud
workshops, summer and autumn 2012.




"Absolutely fab! Thank you for such
vivid and amusing stories. Food
for the soul."

"My friends saw your show at Whittlesey
yesterday and were blown away! They
were full of praise for you!"

Straw Bear Festival, January 2013.




"We really can't tell you how much we
enjoyed your storytelling. We can't be
the first to congratulate you on your
amazing talent, but it really takes
someone very special to hold the
attention of 60 odd Morris dancers
and musicians, most of whom had drunk
far more than was good for them. We
will dine out on those pauses, when you
had every one of us in the palm of your
hand and you could have heard a pin
drop. Unheard of in Morris circles!"

Ken & Kathy Trimmer, participants
Ravenglass Folk Meet, Cumbria,
June 2013.


This is my page of chat about what I have been up to. I welcome any enquiries or commissions. So please email me at: or Tel 01332 840007.

June 2018

There has been much excitement and hard work since my last post! I now have a 2 book deal with Avon at Harper Collins. The Pear Drum has been renamed Cuckoo and will be published on 29th Nov 2018. A second book which I am already working on will be published in 2019. I couldn't be more delighted!

I am currently between publisher edits - so far mainly adding a few extra scenes, and later this summer we may have the first proofs. I have been working on book 2, which is in a similar genre and as with all first drafts it's very fluid at the moment. I have a clear view of the beginning and end points, but the middle is still a little fuzzy... actually I'd quite like to just go away and hide for a bit to write it out, but life isn't that easy!

The best thing is I get to write, and I hope entertain. Working on Cuckoo has been a brilliant experience and going over it again and again with the edits just made me get even closer to the characters. I think it's a misconception that getting published is all about good writing, the physical choice of words - it's as much if not more about the story, the characters, their motivations and their "voice", the choices you make in how you tell the story. I read every book now with new eyes...

Here's the official announcement from Avon:

Sophie Draper book deal announcement

You can join me for an evening's workshop on editing at QUAD in Derby on June 14th - I'll be talking about my experience of editing so far, and the practical tips that I found helpful, and on August 15th I will be doing an after dinner speech at Swanwick Writers School, connecting my oral storytelling with the writing. More details on my Events page.

I'm more active on my Twitter page these days too, so do follow me on Twitter if you wish, at @sophiedraper9.

October 2017

It's all gone a bit crazy since July. On the back of winning the Bath Novel Award, I received 5 offers of representation from literary agents. I never in my wildest dreams expected that, when I was holed up in my study writing The Pear Drum. It was a really difficult choice but in the end I chose the wonderful Laura Williams from Peters, Fraser & Dunlop - she was also the top judge for the Bath Novel Award and I couldn't be more delighted.

Then in September, I won the Friday Night Live competition at the York Festival of Writing. This is a competition for newbie writers reading an excerpt from their books - a sort of X-factor for debut authors. Just to get short-listed was very exciting but to win... I was floating on cloud nine the rest of that weekend - everyone was so very kind. What a summer!

Winning a competition is amazing, but for me the most lovely thing about these experiences has been meeting and connecting with so many fellow writers and people in the publishing / writing world. And then there's the buzz from knowing other people have enjoyed my writing - that's a real boost when you're sat on your own locked in battle with your pc and brain, hoping that you can come up with something worthwhile and entertaining.

You can read more about my experience at the Bath Novel Award here.

And about my York Festival of Writing win, here and here.

There was also a piece about the Friday Night Live competition on Open Book with Mariella Frostrup, on Sept 17th, Radio 4, with an excerpt from my reading. Not sure how long it'll stay on BBC iPlayer but you can try this link, here.

So what next? Well, it's a bit of bump back down to earth. As in lots of work to do! I am now editing The Pear Drum, this time with my agent's feedback, and life carries on with the storytelling, which I absolutely love. I can't think much further ahead. I'm just working as hard as I can to get the book in the best state it can be, whilst also brewing ideas for the next one.

July 2017

Oh My! Some amazing news! My book, The Pear Drum, has won The Bath Novel Award 2017!

The Bath Novel Award
is an international competition for unpublished debut authors. Last Thursday, having been short-listed (that was thrilling enough!), I went to a fabulous event at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. I met the most amazing group of people, sipped champagne and mingled amongst the colourful paintings never imagining for one moment my book would win - but it did!

What a night! Huge thanks to everyone at the competition, especially final judge, agent Laura Williams of Peters Fraser & Dunlop for picking The Pear Drum, and to Caroline Ambrose, chief organiser for making us all feel so welcome and supported. Loved meeting everyone and hearing segments of the brilliant other shortlistees' books: Ben Orlando (runner up and winner of the Cornerstones Literary Consultancy Prize, with Lost Journals of Sundown), Iain Rowan with One of Us, Nicholas Herrmann with The Light Factory, and Penelope Davidmann with The Lost Sister

March 2017

The last year has seen some exciting changes in my life, largely due to making a big move into the countryside. We'd outgrown our house on the edge of Derby (3 teenage boys, 5 cats, various garden projects threatening to dwarf the back garden), and have moved to the most amazing location in the midst of rolling Derbyshire hills and lush farmland. The house is blessed with stunning views and big skies. We're only 10 minutes from where we were before, but it feels so different and so lovely that I wonder why we didn't do this years ago.

One of the funniest moments just after the move was watching our 5 cats encountering cows for the first time. 3 of them tried to stalk a neighbouring cow, a would-be pride of lions, until said cow got fed up and turned round on them with an impatient shake of her head. The cows have now gone and the cats hunt rabbit, mice and butterflies instead, generally leaping around with glee. It's a joy to watch!

Following the move, I finally knuckled down to writing seriously. Having completed The Raven Stones (a Young Adult adventure) last year by dint of snatching the odd week, this time I realised you have to make time. So it's been 9 - 4 each day for a solid run of months. It's meant juggling other things but as of today, I have a completed draft of the new book, The Pear Drum.

It's a psychological thriller, very much inspired by the countryside around me (and some real life scary moments!). The concept was sparked by the sight of an "organistrum", aka a "pear drum", a strange musical instrument (bit like a hurdy gurdy) that appears in a painting by Hieronymous Bosch. "The Garden of Earthly Delights" shows an image of Hell (see below), with its surreal depiction of music as the preoccupation of the damned. But the pear drum is also the subject of a Victorian morality tale about a musical "box" that can only be opened "if you've been bad enough".

In The Pear Drum, Caro, a children's illustrator receives an unexpected commission to illustrate a book of fairy tales. Returning to her old family home in the wilds of Derbyshire, the dark stories trigger painful and confusing buried memories. As the stories escalate in gothic terror, Caro, consumed by guilt, finds the pear drum. But what exactly has she done? Has she been bad enough to open the pear drum? What will she find inside?

It's a story of family secrets, murder and revenge, but revenge is only satisfying if your victim understands why... enter the pear drum, the catalyst for poor Caro's torment. The book has quite consumed me since I started writing it!

The Organistrum (aka The Pear Drum) as shown here in the centre of the painting, with its long box-like arm, rotating wheel and a handle wound at the top by a mischievous-looking figure (it's not the small blue drum beneath).

One of the joys of writing has been all the fabulous writing folk I have met. Courses, groups, conferences and events, have brought new faces, locations and ideas to the fore and greater knowledge of the process of writing and the writing world. I also spent a lot of time last year, before the move, reading and studying books on writing. It all feeds into both the writing and performing and already I have ideas whizzing about in my head for the next book.

If you are interested in The Pear Drum, you can catch me at Wirksworth Book Festival on Saturday 1st April, 5pm at the The Feather Star, St John's Street, Wirksworth (upstairs) where I will be talking about the book and my experience of writing it.

A recent smaller project has been a commission to write a children's story for Bulwell Forest Garden in Nottinghamshire. It's a fantastic community garden, with woodland, raised beds, polytunnels, orchard and a sensory garden (very inspiring) and the story will be illustrated and displayed on various boards across the site, so that you can read it as you explore the garden. It's being launched on 3rd April and has been a joy to complete.

Storytelling-wise, I have still been doing lots of schools, community events, festivals and shows together with the odd teacher conference. But I have also been widening my scope to include more corporate training, helping people find the "story" in their material, shaping and developing how they present and deliver it. I love doing this as it's very fulfilling to see people growing in confidence. If this is an area you are interested in, whether one to one or group training, do please get in touch.

That's probably plenty for now. Do sign up for my Facebook page - I use this to post upcoming dates and workshops, photos and news, as well as other interesting snippets and links related to storytelling, writing and crafting a story. Anything that catches my interest!

Sophie Snell Storyteller on Facebook





Sophie Snell Storyteller

on Facebook




The bell tent will be back at Crich Tramway Museum

for Woodland Week, August 2017.

© 2009-2013 Sophie Snell