Liz Huff, Convenor of the Storyfest Series in Seeley's Bay
Over the winter of 2010/2011 James Raffan delivered five spell-binding presentations in our small community as part of a new fundraising series.
We worried about getting a big enough crowd – the normal winter hunkering down, the nervousness about attending a ‘lecture’, all the competing things to do, et cetera. But from the first session, people were lapping it up and the crowd kept growing, and growing. James took us on amazing journeys that most people will never have, with spectacular visuals, delightful wit, and a lovely dose of ‘subliminal’ education on climate change and human relations.
We felt like we ‘laughed and learned’ all winter long with James. As an organizer of the series, I can say it was always a pleasure to work with James, he was always calm, always prepared, always flexible, and always entertaining. He paces his presentations perfectly, not too long, not too short, using accessible and articulate language. He was probably the most low-maintenance ‘talent’ I have ever encountered…just a down-to-earth, wise and warm person, and at the end of every session I wished there was a lovely pub nearby where we could go share a wee dram, and maybe even sing songs. James’ audiences leave his presentations feeling that they have been invited to dream and to ‘do the right thing’. At the end of the final StoryFest evening, a couple of newcomers came up to me and said ‘Hey, he is better than Stuart McLean!”; I smiled and said “Stuart McLean is fabulous, AND James Raffan is a national treasure.