IT was always somewhat inevitable that when three story-tellers from vastly differing backgrounds -Kevin Crossley-Holland, Joanne Harris and Ben Okri - get together to discuss stories that there would be as many questions raised by their answers as there were original questions put to them.

Every storyteller brings so much of their own experience to the way in which they tell a tale and how they reshape it that it should come as no surprise that there were no definite guidelines or conclusions offered other than the need to be aware of the need to be honest to the integrity of both tale and teller.

In all fairness, this was a rather strange confection, being somewhat stilted by the lack of a physical audience and so not sure if it were an open-mic style conversation or a more formal lecture and falling somewhere between both. It also didn’t really remain true to its billing of an exchange of tales which have inspired the authors, instead heading off into a different dimension to discuss storytelling in general and at times seeming to lose its way in semantic labyrinths of their own making.

This was a great pity as considering the wealth of stories and experiences which they have between them their was vast scope for a world tour highlighting similarities and differences between specific tales or showing how the same tale appears in various versions in different regions.

It was though an interesting insight into how they each view their craft and how this in turn influences the way in which they communicate their ideas.

A key issue raised was how stories can help to support and heal in times of difficulty, isolation and crisis and while all agreed that they certainly did have a role to play it was clear that there was some dissent as to what that role might be in practice, with not all in favour of the idea of the arts in general being seen as a form of therapy. There was however a consensus that while it is not possible to prove the power of stories in any scientific way there is certainly within them a means of altering how individual’s see things and so changing their own internal narrative.

There was much discussion as to the nature of stories generally and more particularly the importance of folk-tales as a means of sharing accumulated wisdom and experiences across both cultures and generations. Sadly there was not always an opportunity for some of these points to be explored more fully, due in part to the constraints of technology which meant that some of the spontaneity of the conversation was lost and the fact that there were times when there was an imbalance in the involvement of the contributors’ involvement.

This was rather frustrating as it meant that alternative viewpoints did not always seem to be aired. Despite which, it was however an interesting way to dip into the motivations and beliefs which lead to the very particular interpretations of three individual expert story tellers.