Richard O’Neill is an award winning, Writer and Storyteller, based in Manchester UK. Brought up in a large traditional nomadic Romany family where he learned his storytelling skills. He has loved books since reading his first one when he was four years old. When he’s not writing and telling stories he’s making traditional wooden toys. He is the recipient of the ‘National Literacy Hero’ award in the UK and a Aesop award in the USA.
I fell in love with books at 4 years old, and became a voracious reader, the combination of words, pictures and my own imagination were the perfect combination. I was brought up in a traditional nomadic family where stories were our literacy. When I started reading and showing piture books to my children I saw the enormously positive impact it had on them. Then when I started telling stories in schools I also saw the positive impact it had on many more children. My stories from my family and the ones I create couldn't possibly be shared physically with children around the world, so the idea of being able to do this through books was a dream come true.
My family are the biggest influence on my work, they read everything first and they are very hard to please. If they like it then it's usually OK
Yes being read to by my maternal grandmother, she made any book come alive!
It has shown me other worlds real and imagined, it has taught me things I never could have learned on my own, it has enhanced my life is ways too numerous to list.
That no matter your background, your ethnicity, your differences you can play a full part in literature and in life.
It always starts with something that interest me, a what if, or a why did that happen. Then I create a small story around it, if that works I create a bigger story. Then I write it and see if it reads as well as it sounds. Sometimes they don't and they stay as stories, or become plays rather than turning into books.
Understanding how it all fit together, how much work there was involved in it from a whole team of people. My publisher Childsplay were fabulous at explaining the process and as a result it's now a lot easier.
I'm really fortunate in that I spend a lot of time working with children and teachers, they are constantly inspiring, so I never run out of ideas.