This is Tom’s wife, Rhonda, also known as The Gatekeeper.
Due to the volume of requests we receive for Tom to speak at events, he has given me permission to create a few guidelines for your convenience, on the condition that I attempt irony when I tell you the reasons you should want - and be willing to pay for - his valuable knowledge and expertise.
Though I’m told that Americans don’t understand irony, here comes my best attempt ….
A lot of people are throwing around the term Master Storyteller these days, mostly when speaking about themselves.
Well, bless them. No harm done.
But Tom has been called Master Storyteller by OTHER PEOPLE. He’s also been called (by the aforementioned others) Tradition Bearer for the people of Orkney.
Now, this makes him sputter. Tom thinks such titles are pompous and pretentious. Being Orcadian, he considers bragging about himself a terrible and possibly immoral thing.
That’s why I’m doing it.
Tom has the distinction of being the only living Orcadian storyteller.
Now, there are other fine storytellers practicing in Orkney today. However, Tom is the only Orcadian telling stories professionally. (You’ll also find many fine, non-professional raconteurs in Orkney, but you’ll locate those for yourself.)
Although Tom is working hard to nurture the next generation of storytellers this claim is, at the moment, absolutely true.
If you want deep knowledge of Orkney, its stories and its people straight from an Orcadian who has been immersed in Orkney’s culture, history, archaeology, local lore and folklore for his entire life, Tom is your man.
You’d be shocked at the number of people who expect Tom to pay his own (costly) way from Orkney to Someplace Else, then pay for his own lodging and food and even speak at their events for free!
I don't even know what to say.
If you’re not that guy, read on.
Tom works full time for the Orkney Museum, as well as running the Orkney Storytelling Festival and juggling various writing projects.
Because of this his time is quite limited, but he’s always excited to get interesting opportunities to meet new folk, so he does try to fit them in.
If you’re interested in working with Tom in any way, please contact The Gatekeeper using the form below.
As a general guideline to assist you, the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh has set a professional rate for its storytellers of £150 per event. Events might be expected to take an hour or two.
According to the Orkney Tourist Guides Association, driver guiding in Orkney usually costs from £460 - £520 per day.
Tour guides without vehicles cost £150 - £175 for a half-day, £215- £270 for a full day.
Maybe so, but I’m also a loving wife who enjoys seeing her husband respected and valued for the skills he’s spent a lifetime acquiring.
Whether or not you decide to contact us to book Tom, we wish you the very best.
Please enjoy all the free information that we’re constantly adding to Orkneyology.com, as well as the free story tour app that we’ve recently made available.
Mermaid image (Rhonda's pages) and storyteller image (Tom's pages), and all other illustrations except where noted are here by the courtesy of our dear friend - Stromness author, artist and historian, Bryce Wilson MBE, who owns all copyrights. Thanks, Bryce!