To all practitioners

Andrew Wright



Who is he?

Based in Budapest, Andrew Wright is an author, illustrator, teacher trainer and storyteller, and has worked extensively for many years with both teachers and students all over the world.

Andrew Wright was born in the UK and studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, London as well as the history of art under Professor EH Gombrich. As an author and illustrator, he has published, for example, with Oxford University Press, Storytelling with Children, with Cambridge University Press, Five-Minute Activities, and with Helbling Languages, Writing Stories. He has also worked for BBC TV, ITV and WDR in Germany. As a teacher trainer and storyteller, he has worked in over 40 countries. As a member of IATEFL and Activities and Societies: Society for Storytelling, he has spent his whole professional life trying to help teachers and students through his writing, illustrations, and direct involvement in the classroom.

Professional life

Andrew spent a significant part of his life as a Principal Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. However, he decided to leave after 15 years to explore other options as an author, teacher trainer and storyteller. Since 1994, he has been working as a Director of the International Languages Institute in Hungary. This post also includes the role of freelance storyteller and author. Andrew describes his current major goal as: to keep creating short stories and collaborate with others who share this passion for storytelling.


Andrew Wright describes himself as a “storyman”, without a hyphen, since he is known in many countries for telling stories and helping students to make stories and books. He decided when he moved to Hungary to emphasise tales while teaching languages. Since then he has travelled as a teacher trainer and a storyteller, and has continued to write and illustrate his books and articles. Recently, he has worked increasingly with students as a storyteller and story-maker. He believes that his work demonstrates one of his core principles—that everything engaging and involving language has the potential to be used as language training material.

Biographical sources



YouTube Channel

Andrew Wright

Recommended books

The Techniques of Language Teaching

Lionel Billows

1961, London: Longman. Reprinted in Richard Smith (ed.). (source)

A Theory of Visual Aids

Stephen Pit Corder

1963, English Language Teaching Journal Vol. 17 No. 2.

Visual Aids for Classroom Interaction

Susan Holden (ed.)

1973, Modern English Teacher Publications. Basingstoke: Macmillan. (source)

The Magazine Picture Library

Janet McAlpin

1980, Oxford: Heinemann Educational. (source)

Drama Techniques in Language Learning

Alan Maley, Alan Duff

1982, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (source)

Keep Talking

Friederike Klippel

1983, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (source)

Once Upon a Time

John Morgan, Mario Rinvolucri

1983, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (source)

Teaching Oral English

Donn Byrne

1986, Harlow: Longman. (source)

Teaching English as a Foreign Language, 1936–1961: Foundations of ELT

Richard C. Smith (ed.)

2005, Volume 6. London: Routledge. (source)

Place in HLT

Like so many of us, Andrew came into ELT by a circuitous route.  He was an artist by training, having graduated from the Slade School in London with such distinguished teachers as Lucien Freud.  A good grounding for a humanistic approach to life. By chance he was hired by the Nuffield Project which was then designing materials for teaching French, such as En Avant. But his job initially was as an illustrator. Yet somehow he transformed into language teacher and moved over into teaching English.

Many will remember Andrew at conferences worldwide in the 1970s and 80s, especially at IATEFL in the heady days of experimentation with the Communicative Approach. He became a familiar figure, riding around on his unicycle wearing black tights and a bowler hat. Unmistakeable! His book with David Betteridge and Mike Buckby, Games for Language Learning (2006) and 1000+ Pictures for Teachers to Copy (1994) remain in print and are still a staple of any savvy teacher's library, as is Five Minute Activities (1992), which he co-authored with Penny Ur.

But his main claim to fame and his enduring legacy is his work on incorporating stories into language teaching. He has been in the vanguard of fostering an interest in storytelling and story-making for decades - and has tirelessly promoted the use of stories with groups of teachers and children worldwide. His two books, Storytelling with Children (2nd ed, 2009) and Creating Stories with Children (1997) are now classics. And no one who has watched him at work - wearing his trademark (reversible) coat of many colours - will ever forget the experience. The epitome of warmth, care and engagement with his listeners. Stories are one of the things which characterise human societies. There is no society on earth that does not have its stories. And our own stories are part of who we are. So Andrew has been and remains at the heart of humanism. As his mail address proclaims andrewwrightstoryman - and that is exactly what he is.  And we are all the better for it.

— Alan Maley
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