Word weaver, tradition bearer and educator

Shonaleigh is a dedicated and committed storyteller actively working to expand and share the Drut’syla tradition.

Brought up in the Drut’syla tradition by her Bubbe (Grandmother) she has a repertoire of over three thousand stories which can be adapted as appropriate for the theme and audience with whom she is working.

Get in touch

For all enquiries, please use this form to send us a message.

New website coming soon

A new website is being knitted for Shonaleigh, and should be ready to keep us warm and cosy during March 2020.  In the meantime, we’ve included some key information below.  If you need anything else, please do get in touch ✨

2020 Diary

12 June @ 3:00pm – 21 June @ 2:00pm

A unique, one-off immersive 10-day telling of the Gem Cycle.

Have you ever sat and listened to a story and thought, “I want to get lost in this”? This is a chance to do that. To get lost in that world. To walk the in-between. To embrace your inner crone, princess, hero, or whatever. To lose yourself in a world of story.

Story Labyrinth is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get totally immersed in stories. By coming together for 10 days we create the space for Shonaleigh to tell all the stories in a particular story cycle – in this case the Gem Cycle: the Ruby Tree, the Diamond Girl, the Opal Forest, the Sapphire Staff and the Emerald Sea. So the lattice can be unfurled with all its links, pathways, junctions, intersections and more.

There’ll be stories from Shonaleigh in the mornings and evenings, and in the afternoons a chance to relax, explore the local area, or join in some creative workshops.

This event is hosted at charming and quaint Unstone Grange. There are residential, camping and non-residential options available at this basic but homely venue in Derbyshire, UK.

For more information, or to book your spot, visit or call Claire at +44 (0) 7970 409 824.

July 3 @ 6:00pm – July 5 @ 2:00pm

The Song of Lilith: A weekend telling with Shonaleigh

You are invited to a unique, immersive weekend of storytelling for adults from the world-renowned tradition bearer and storyteller Shonaleigh. This is a rare chance to hear these ancient tales in the light and on the tongue, stories untold for two generations and barely spoken of for decades.

The Song of Lilith belongs to the Cycle of Hillel, which is the first of twelve epic, latticed, interlinked cycles of stories passed down through generations of Jewish women.

Lilith has always fascinated us. Is she demoness or goddess? Wronged woman or strong wife?

The Song of Lilith reveals much about her true nature. From the beginning of time, Lilith has been dancing and crying on the shore, calling to all women. In this tale we hear how three women joined her dance… and went on to change the world.

Shonaleigh is a Drut’syla, and carries on a living unbroken oral tradition passed down from grandmother to granddaughter. She knows around 4,000 tales that she can recall on request, using the lost art of ‘stories within stories’.

This telling of the Song of Lilith will be recorded, as part of the Last Drut’syla Project, to create an archive of this tradition’s stories.

This is an unmissable opportunity for anyone interested in stories or in oral and lost cultures to come and help document and archive this tradition through listening, requesting stories and asking questions. There will only be 20 places, so booking is essential.

This telling of the Song of Lilith will start at 7:30pm on Friday evening (arrive from 6pm for a bite to eat first). Saturday’s session will run approximately 10am – 9pm. Sunday will run approximately 10am – 2pm. It will take place within a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of cushions and sofas and cups of tea.

There is a charge of £30 to attend, to cover the cost of the room and basic lunches and dinners. Cash donations towards Shonaleigh’s project expenses are also invited at the event (suggested donation £10 – £50). You’re also welcome to bring cakes, biscuits and snacks to share, gluten and dairy-free if possible.

This telling takes place at the Old Rectory in Llanfachraeth, Anglesey, UK, postcode LL65 4YA.

For more information, or to book your spot, visit or call Claire on +44 (0) 7970 409 824.

Jul 10 @ 5:30 pm – Jul 12 @ 2:00 pm

An Invitation from the Red Alachigh

In a remote castle a Makhshef – a sorcerer and bringer of chaos – lived alone. But it had not always been so; once upon a time he had an imprisoned girl and a city to torment and all power and mayhem and evil was his. And then one day, he was tricked. The woman had taken the silver threads of the moon and sewed images into a blue cloth, taking everything embroidered to a place of safety. One by one, all who he threatened disappeared until finally she had embroidered herself into the cloth and he was all alone. In a rage, the Makhshef took the cloth and would have destroyed it had his eye not caught the half-finished likeness of himself, glinting in the moonlight. He could not destroy the cloth without destroying himself. So he remained alone, with nothing to do and nothing to torment.

One chill night he came upon a dove, frozen and still at the edge of the road. Out of curiosity and boredom, the Makshef picked it up, curious, and took it back to his empty palace.

“I am the Dove of Heaven,” said the bird. “You have saved me. What can I give you in return?”

The Makhshef felt something strange – his face was wet.

“What is this?” he asked.

“Tears,” replied the Dove.

“I want a soul,” whispered the Makhshef.

“You can only have a soul if you wander – 7 years in each direction. And you must find a woman who can stitch the cloth.”

This is the story of a demon is search for a soul and for only woman in the world who can finish stitching his image into the Cloth of Hope and Sorrow.

More details to follow.

Jul 13 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Lichfield Storytellers: The Song of Lilith @ The Kings Head
Shonaleigh is a renowned international storyteller – possibly the last drut’syla on the planet and carries thousands of oral stories from that Jewish Tradition. She unravels a fascinating lattice of interlocking tales with unexpected twists and compelling characters. She makes another welcome return to Lichfield.

At this event Shonaleigh tells The Song of Lilith.

Tickets £6 on the door.

More details to follow.

​Jul 31 @ 7:30 pm – Aug 3 @ 1:00 pm

Take the sting out of storytelling with our weekend beginner’s course

Are you eager to start your storytelling journey, but not sure how to begin? Ever wanted to share a tale but found yourself lost of words? If so, this is the course for you!

Over the weekend you will learn some storytelling fundamentals as tradition bearer Shonaleigh leads you through the door, across the bridge and into the world of story. This is an opportunity to learn the ancient art of storytelling ‘story first’ – allowing the art of telling to develop through connection to the tale. And with Shonaleigh, you are able to meet this art form through a tradition that carries the wisdom of generations of storytellers.

So be brave! Breath in, reach out and grasp the nettle. You may just find it is the first step in a journey of discovery that lasts a lifetime.

Friday evening
The key to the door. A short story from Shonaleigh and some simple exercises to explore language and imagination

Saturday morning
Listening for the heartbeat. Finding the heartbeat of the story – its shape and purpose – so you can tell it with authenticity and integrity

Saturday afternoon
Finding your voice and your story. How to sense if the story wants to be told and finding your voice and place within it

Saturday evening
Ceilidh and shared meal. Bring your poems, songs and music to share

Sunday morning
Giving the story its feet. Sharing your story in small groups and put what you have learnt into practice.

If you wish to book for Grasping The Nettle then please Contact Us via email stating your name and your preferred method of contact (Email or Telephone). A member of the House of West Wind Admin Team will be in touch to discuss dates, locations, payment details and answer any questions that you may have.

10th August @ 10am – 14th August @ 4pm

Unstone Grange, Derbyshire

With the growing popularity of literary festivals and spoken word events, writers are often required to tell their work. Similarly, storytellers often want to develop their tales in written form. But to write and to tell are two very different art forms.

As a writer, this course will show you how to adapt to be able to tell your tale.

As a storyteller, this course will show you how to adapt your oral story for the page.

This five-day course will introduce you to the Drut’syla midrash – the hereditary training of traditional Jewish women storytellers.

Shonaleigh and Simon Heywood will lead you through a range of practical exercises and creative explorations of narrative and story. We will explore ways in which the Drut’syla’s methods and approaches can be adapted practically to creative writing, storytelling and the contemporary arts. You will gain the tools to tell your story in whichever medium you choose.

This course is suitable for creatives from any discipline who use narrative or story as inspiration, and for story-lovers at any stage of their creative journey.

Word Dancing creative writing and narrative arts is priced at £390 which includes tuition, bed and board for the week. If you wish to book onto the course, please contact us via email stating your name and a member of the House of the West Wind admin team will be in touch to discuss dates, locations, payment details, and answer any questions that you may have.

Aug 17 – Aug 21 all-day

Wildwoods is a three year part time course with four one week residential courses, which will introduce you to a new way of thinking about stories and your approach to them. We will walk with the Druts’yla tradition, identify key points of the midrash and learn how stories are held, unpeeled, understood and internalised on a practical and holistic level.

The course is by invitation or application ONLY.

9th October @ 6:30pm – 11th October @ 2pm

This weekend Shonaleigh tells The Emerald Sea.

In the next episode of Shonaleigh’s acclaimed Gem cycle, Prince Rahab’s kingdom is threatened.

The power which, from the beginning of time, has held destructive waters in check depends on the inscription of an unutterable name, and the name is being erased.

Rahab and his Queen must make a sacrifice to save the kingdom, but the prince has been imprisoned by a woman who has been done a terrible wrong, and the queen is on a quest to find him.

Not to be missed, it’s a world first!