Daniel Morden


Since 1989 Daniel Morden has made his living telling stories: folktales, fairytales, myths, legends- and fibs! He has travelled the world sharing stories, from Swansea to Sydney, from the Arctic to the Pacific to the Caribbean. His stories range from awful jokes to magical adventures and haunting myths. His books have twice won the Books Council of Wales’ Tir Na n-Og Prize and he was awarded the Hay Festival Medal in 2017. Daniel lives in Monmouthshire.

This September, Firefly Press will be publishing the master storyteller’s Strange Tales. Bears, wolves and weird tangles of fate, these nine stories for 9-12s have it all. You will meet a boy who cannot feel fear… A girl pursued by a ghostly figure… Two sisters turned into beasts… A wild party where all the guests are skeletons… These extraordinary stories from long ago have been shaped over a lifetime of performance in schools, festivals and theatres by master storyteller, Daniel Morden into thrilling adventures, brimming with mystery and magic.

To open these pages is to journey into a strange world where invisible beings move among us; animals speak, and luck, spells and fortune are never to be treated lightly!

“Morden crafts an enchanting labyrinth of tales that feel ancient and timeless both. Each
artfully written story feels beautifully balanced, with language both evocative and restrained. A stunning addition to any bookcase.” – Gabriela Housto.

Congratulations Daniel on the publication of Strange Tales this month, tell us more about the book…

I have been a storyteller for over 30 years. When I tell a story, without meaning to, I change it. A little idea occurs to me, and I put it in, and next time I tell the story that new idea grows …so my versions of stories have changed over time. Strange Tales is a collection of my favourite stories, told in my own way. The book is written to be read aloud.



In the book, two sisters are changed into animals, a magic ointment that enables you to see hidden things, a boy who doesn’t know what fear is – Strange Tales!

Why do you write?

I love to share stories. Most of us only know a few- Cinderella etc. But there are many other magical tales that are just as charming, chilling and thrilling…

What inspires you?

I want to give the reader the feeling of mystery and excitement I had when I first found these stories.

How did you know you wanted to be a storyteller/writer and when?

When my Dad read to us as children the bedroom vanished, and we were in Narnia, or WW2 Poland etc. It was like a spell! I didn’t travel to these otherworlds via a beanstalk or a wardrobe, but thanks to a voice and words.



Who are some writers you admire?

Catherine Fisher, Phillip Pullman, Frances Hardinge,

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

It is quicker if you start! Don’t wait until you feel ready, because you never will.

What is your storytelling/writing process?

A deadline is helpful.

I tell the story to schoolchildren and discuss it afterwards- what did they like? What didn’t they understand? Then I put my phone on airplane mode and write a version as quickly as I can. Once the story exists on paper a massive hurdle has been overcome.

What books are currently on your bedside table?

Frances Hardinge Unraveller

Matt Ruff Bad Monkeys

Roger D. Abrahams African Folktales




In what way have libraries influenced you during your lifetime?

Cwmbran Library was like a treasure trove for me – huge, and filled with wonders.

Do you have suggestions of how to encourage children and young people to read more for pleasure?

I don’t have any game changers. I would like the Westminster government to value libraries, so that they can stay open longer, organise more events and buy more new books. Libraries are needed more now than at any time in my life. 

Do you have any plans for future titles?

So far I have only written retellings of folktales. I would love to write a novel!

Strange Tales  will be published 28th September by Firefly Press.
Find out more about the author at danielmorden.org
Read our Get to Know the Author flyer and take a look at our previous Authors of the Month writing in English.
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