First and foremost an oral interpreter, Rickie Birran is a former college speech instructor and author of Suit the Action to the Word: The Art of Reading Aloud. As Man of Words he uses the theatrical, musical, and storytelling arts to bring reading and literature to life - to enrich, encourage, enlighten, and entertain.
His impassioned pursuit to promote reading and literature is rooted in a very personal level. In 1985 he was forced by ill health to end his nine years of service as a missionary and youth worker in the Watts district of Los Angeles, and return home to Oregon.
“During a year of recuperation (from what my doctor initially diagnosed as ‘being emotionally and physically bankrupt’), I met some people who would forever change my life - Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Victor Hugo, George Eliot, George MacDonald, and many others (a few years later, as I studied acting at the U of O, I met the master, William Shakespeare). These authors held a deep understanding of suffering, and what it means to be human. For me, reading evolved from a diversion to a source of nourishment. It didn’t take long for me to want to take this source of strength and pass it on to others. My efforts in this endeavor are ever-evolving but I see it as my life’s work - to illustrate the power of great literature.”
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