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As a youngster Batt Burns experienced the Seanachaí (storyteller) tradition firsthand when he lived with his grandfather in the Hills of County Kerry, and heard him tell stories by the fire during the harsh winter nights. Today Burns helps to preserve that Irish heritage with haunting accounts of ghosts, great adventure stories, tales of heroes, farcical stories and witty jokes.
In his recitations of poetry he draws on the rich field of Irish poets including W.B.Yeats, Padraic Colum, Brendan Kennelly and Sigerson Clifford.
Batt is the author of many school textbooks and stories and he has produced tapes and CDs of poetry and storytelling. In February of 2009 his new book of Irish Folktales (Sterling Publishing, New York) was launched in the USA and a year later won the prestigious Storytelling World Award for the best collection of folktales for young people.
It was winning the All Ireland Teachers’ Talent Competition in 1983, which started him on the road to his second career. In 1994 Burns left his teaching career behind him and became a full-time entertainer in the USA where he has performed at all the major storytelling festivals, including The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee in 1994, at several Irish Clubs and at the college campuses of Harvard, Notre Dame and Northwestern. In 2000 he was a featured teller at The Masterton Storytelling Festival in New Zealand. He has performed at The Kennedy Centre in Washington DC on many occasions and was on stage there again on St. Patrick’s Night 2010. Batt has been a featured storyteller at the Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival in West Cork.
His storytelling workshops are very popular and in July 2008 he worked with a group of USA University students at The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin.