Chief Story Officer | Director | Author
Passionate about how stories...
… connect us more deeply to ourselves, each other and our natural environment.
Dr Claire Scobie helps ASX-listed companies, not-for-profits and arts organisations harness the power of storytelling to engage hearts and minds.
Claire coaches leaders 1:1 to help them uncover more of their human story. The stuff that matters. She also facilitates workshops and loves chairing events.
I'm always writing. It keeps me sane, creative and helps make sense of the world. So far I've written five books, four have been published, one won an award.
For 25 years I’ve worked as a storyteller in different industries, living in the UK, India and now Australia. After studying history at Cambridge University, my first job was at the UK’s Telegraph Magazine.
While a career ladder beckoned, I took the road less travelled and moved to India to become a freelance journalist. With my trusty laptop, I followed the breadcrumbs of stories across the sub-continent, taking me to Tibet.
In 1997 I joined a group of eccentric plant-hunters searching for a rare red lily. Although no botanist, I was smitten. Seven trips later, my first book, Last Seen in Lhasa was published.
It starts with a flower but becomes a tale of an extraordinary friendship between me and a wandering Tibetan nun, known as Ani. So far, it has been translated into German, Dutch and Korean. For a while I thought Hollywood beckoned. The memoir came (kinda) close to being adapted for the screen. When producer Emile Sherman (The King’s Speech, Lion) asked who I wanted to play me, I thought Emily Blunt would be a good likeness. He agreed.
That project didn’t came off. So I will probably never know the feel of the plush red carpet beneath my feet, but the book happily lives on.
It’s been joined by four others. In 2012 Penguin ANZ published The Pagoda Tree, my first novel, then came a company biography, Basser Baxter and Goldstein, before I co-authored another memoir, A Baboon in the Bedroom with my mum. My latest novel, The Crossing, brings to life the true story of the first woman to circumnavigate the globe in 1767.
For many years I taught at the Australian Writers’ Centre, was a trainer at the Walkley Foundation, and also hosted a Literary Tour to India with luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent. I’ve written for a host of publications, including The Observer, Sydney Morning Herald, Acuity and UK’s Daily Telegraph. I’ve also appeared as a panelist on ABC TV’s First Tuesday Book Club and have been a regular guest at international writers’ festivals.
WORDSTRUCK - BACKSTORY
My Founding story
I always ask my clients to think about turning points in their lives. Here’s one of mine.
In early 2008 I was working as a journalist for the Bulletin, the Australian equivalent of Time. I’d gone to India to interview Dr Mohamid Haneef, an Indian-born doctor falsely accused of aiding terrorists during Prime Minster John Howard’s government. It was hard to track him down. Harder to get him to trust me. But he invited me to his house to do the interview.
When the story ran, ABC Radio Gold Coast, requested a live interview. I was in Pushkar, in Rajasthan, renowned for its giant camel fair. All the hustle and bustle of India surrounded me.
I was introduced as “Claire Scobie from the now defunct Bulletin magazine.” I thought I must have misheard. I did the interview, then called my editor. After 128 years, he said, The Bulletin had closed because it couldn’t compete with the internet. My story (here) ran in the last issue.
In that moment I knew my career as a storyteller would change for ever. But storytelling would always be needed because humans are hardwired to tell stories. It’s what we do, right?
Business storytelling was just taking off. Some years later, Wordstruck was born. I wanted to make a difference in the business world where the human story is often boiled out – replaced by empty jargon, corporate speak and profit margins. This leads to disconnection.
Stories, I firmly believe, can provide a path back.
My official biography
Dr Claire Scobie helps organisations harness the power of storytelling to engage hearts and minds. She coaches leaders 1:1; and with a background of 25 years in the media, she’s also an award-winning author and business journalist.
Through her company Wordstruck, she works with global corporates, tech companies, not-for-profits and arts organisations in Australia, Hong Kong and the UK. Her clients include Australia’s largest retailer, a luxury fashion store in Hong Kong & China, insurance & finance companies, KPMG, the South Australian government and Coca Cola Amatil, New Zealand.
NEED A GOOD READ?
A Baboon In The Bedroom
Last Seen in Lhasa
The Pagoda Tree
“A novel to be savoured” – the Sydney Morning Herald; “Brilliantly evokes India on the eve of British rule” – Manju Kapur, author of Custody