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Jan Williams, Author - Jan's Books

Essex Folk Tales for Children
Do you know all the verses of Twinkle, twinkle little star? Who was old King Cole at Colchester? How did a knight in a suit of glass defeat the terrible monster, the basilisk of Saffron Walden? Find out for yourself the fantastical characters and mysteries of Essex.

Jan, the Welsh storyteller, has travelled so many corners of the county that she has discovered where many famous nursery rhymes came from and how to deal with a dragon. Up the rivers and along the shore, there are so many adventures-to be had - Roman soldiers come ahaunting, the battling swords of Anglo-Saxon and Viking clash, not to mention the wicked ways of smuggler and pirate. Among the trees gallop the horses of the highwaymen.

Always there is a touch of magic with house elves and tellers of fairy tales working their spells. Ladies in white flit here and there. Catch a glimpse for yourself as the book's skilful illustrator Simon Peecock shows you with his enchanting drawings.

These stories are specially chosen to be enjoyed by 8-11 year old readers and will make the county of Essex far more interesting than sadly most people realize.
Essex Folk Tales
Essex Folk Tales is one of the many entertaining books produced by History Press to record the folk tales of each individual British county. As well as capturing the special qualities of each individual county, these books are treasured as a revelation of the style of each individual oral storyteller .
Jan has always loved the mysterious landscape of the Essex coast. It is a place still haunted by the spirits of historical invaders like the Romans, the Anglo Saxons and the Vikings. Many tales were told by smugglers to keep prying eyes away from their secret hide outs. Inland dramatic stories of the supernatural include witch craft, ghosts, dragons, a violent white lady and a good selection of heroes and villains including some amazing highwaymen. The women of Essex stir the imagination most-from brave Boudicca and beautiful Edith Swan Neck to the adulteress Kitty Canham.
Some stories are told with a respect for their historical background, some with a touch of poetry and some with an impish sense of fun. Jan has taken these tales, many handed down through generations of storytellers and shaped them into an entertaining and readable collection for a modern audience. Price£9.99. December 12th Essex Life's 'Bookof the month'
Available from all good bookshops.
0r Amazon
Or The History Press

An Amazing Storytelling Cat

Faraway in Japan five lost cats are listening to some amazing tales! Their storyteller is Kiyoko, a bobtailed cat with one green eye and one blue eye. Kiyoko creates magical creatures including an Egyptian Goddess, a carnival and a dancing Siamese.
Sometimes the images he describes are scary; a monster with many legs pounds down the mountainside, a terrifying creature swings down from the rafters and in China men are seeking out a ghost. In America, a black cat searches for her sick mistress and in English graveyard the cats hold a special meeting.
There's laughter too; a mouse falls in a barrel of beer, while Captain Hallelujah Jones is not your usual pirate. And as for the Irish cat- she shows how cats always get their own way!
This enchanting collection of beautifully illustrated and captivating tales celebrates the special friendship that develops from sharing stories as well as appealing to cat lovers everywhere.
Kiyoko started his life as a story for children in Scholastic's magazine Literacy Plus but his tales have grown and the remarkable illustrations by Simon Peecock and Charmaine Mckissock have meant few people can resist a closer look when they pick up this book. These are friends worth making!

Kevin Crossley Holland, a distinguished children's author, said about the book "At the heart of these stories is a driving imaginative energy. They're joyous and knowing and playful. Reading them or listening to them, we willingly suspend our disbelief.".

This book is self published and produced to a very high standard by Swift Publishing for £8.99 + £1 postage directely from Jan, as the print run is over and Jan has the last 150 copies available for direct mail order.

Roger Tabor, well known cat lover and naturalists says "Jan Williams is a consummate storyteller who has written a charming series of stories suitable for children and adults who love cats and old stories."
A Candle in the Dark

Step into a world turned upside down into 1645. This is the booklet Jan produced for the Essex Storytellers in 2006 when they took their dramatic storytelling project about the notorious witch hunts in Manningtree into schools and museums. The careful research and imaginative insight is still a valuable resource for anybody interested in this period.

It gives an insight into the beliefs about witches that prevailed in the 17th century and why 1645 was such a special year. It gives a picture of what life was like in Lawford, Manningtree and Mistley at this time. It tells how events progressed as Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne stalked the land, bringing their victims to the gallows and how they tortured poverty stricken old women. The potent combination of civil war, fanatical religion and the breakdown of law and order prod still can affect people today in this terrible tragedy.

This is only intended for serious students and can only be ordered directly from Jan Williams.

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