Where do stories take you?

We are all on a quest, storyteller and readers together.

Who does a writer write about? Herself or you?
What portrait does an artist paint? Is it a self-portrait or a picture of you?

A book is a doorway and a painting is a window into another world.

Enter in, be welcome, explore and discover.



What is storycraft?

The skill of making stories that can be understood is storycraft.

I paint to explore ideas and feelings. I write to explore connections and conflict. But to communicate, the storyteller must be understood. Then stories create community, and they are shared and loved and challenged in community.

My passion has led me to develop my craft over many years, because these stories are for you, not just for me.
I want to hear from you.




What is storylight?

We all live adventurous lives. We all have secrets to hide. We all have missions and ambitions to fulfil.

Each of us has a story to tell. Some of us have many stories to share.

Each of us loves to hear stories, to be afraid, horrified, shocked, delighted, comforted, pleased and thrilled.

Stories are lights that we share to guide us through the nights of our days.



What is storypower?

Storypower is the 'fightback' capacity of a story. A fightback is an act of resistance, or an affirmation of resilience.

The world changes, opinions alter, history is rewritten. The certainties of youth prove false. We were misinformed, people made mistakes, we ourselves have erred.
How can we find a way forward? How care for those we love? Whom do we trust? Where is hope? Where love?

Let's tell stories that fight back against cynicism and exploitation. Let's resist anything mean, petty, or unkind. Let's believe in equality, generosity and freedom.

Hello, I’m Ruth Hartley

I was born into a quiet world with books for companions, not all of them suitable for a child. My thoughts, imagination and dreams flourished. I read of heroes and warriors. Certain I would be both, I gradually discovered that the silent and the unimportant have stories, and so do the fearful, who are also brave. I decided that the stories I want to tell are those of ordinary people whose lives flavour the earth with salt.

I am a Storyteller

To be a human, to be alive, is to learn and discover. The world is wonderful and shocking. Simply trying to understand the world and myself is tough and creative work. Writing and making art help me do it. So does reading. This circle brings me to share my stories and my art.

atypical books logoAlthough I’m a writer, I try to minimise my words. Our digitised world is dense with words and images that provoke and anger and manipulate us. In this media jungle, I aim to write, in elegant prose, common-sense stories that are thought-provoking, relevant, funny, and gripping. I trust my readers’ humanity, intelligence and kindness.

So I’m anti-verbiage and pro-significance and I write atypical books for you.


Ruth Hartley


  • Cover of The Shaping of Water by Storyteller Ruth Hartley
  • The Shaping of Water

    Read a story of love, loss, hope and the search for identity around the drowned valley of Kariba Dam, Zambia



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  • The Tin Heart Gold Mine

    Adventure with Lara, a successful artist, on a journey of intrigue, love and courage, via central Africa and London.

  • Cover of The Tin Heart Gold Mine by Storyteller Ruth Hartley