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Oral Tradition: The Collected Memory of Elderly People

200 years ago, if you wanted to hear a story, you wouldn't switch on the TV, and probably wouldn't even curl up with a book. You would sit at the feet of those older than you, and listen to the stories they tell. In the old days, wisdom was passed on by word of mouth: stories, tales and legends from one generation to another.

This oral tradition is dying out, with the advent of books, newspapers and the internet.

I think it is one of the responsibilities of those of us who are writers to capture these oral traditions and write them down so that future generations can enjoy these memories, and read them forever.

That is why I enjoyed reading Uçhisar Unfolding - a book about a village in the Cappadocia area of Turkey.

Here is a little taster, written by Evelyn Kopp:

"I am very proud to say that nearly all the stories, legends and general information included in this book were told to me by the people of Uçhisar themselves. … Stories written by their lives."

To read the rest of my book review, in today's edition of Turkey's Sunday Zaman newspaper, click here:

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Comment by Charlotte McPherson on August 26, 2007 at 7:11am
Hi Marion! You are right about elderly people - they have some of the best stories. CNN had a special report on the tradition of storytelling in Africa this week and it was interesting. I have travelled extensively across CIS, Central Asia, China and the southern hemisphere-I never saw any place like Cappodocia-the ferry towers and rock caves and underground cities and open space -magnificient. A place one must see. Great book review!

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