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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

WV Storytelling Guild Presents the Storytelling Institute

The WV Storytelling Guild and Fairmont State University are offering the first-ever Storytelling Institute at Fairmont State the same weekend (April 4-5) as the Writers Toolbox event. For those of you in the north-central part of West Virginia, the Storytelling Institute offers an excellent alternative to the event at the Capitol (and less travel time and expense).

Keynotes will be offered by Joseph Sobol, noted folklorist, and Bil Lepp, well-known storyteller. Here is information from the Institute brochure. Contact me if you have any questions, or contact Fran Kirk at the address below:

Fairmont State University and WV Storytelling Guild

The Power of Story: Transmitting Culture and Transforming Lives Featuring Joseph Sobol and Bil Lepp

The Storytelling Presentation on Friday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

For more information contact:
Dr. Francene Kirk
Fairmont State University Falcon Center
April 4-5, 2008

What is the Mountain State Storytelling Institute?
The Institute is a two-day conference featuring scholars and storytelling professionals. Fairmont State University, FSU’s Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center and the WV Storytelling Guild are committed to the use of storytelling to preserve Appalachian culture. The intent of this institute is to provide academic, professional and personal development for those interested in storytelling as scholarship, art, a teaching tool, and a profession or an avocation. Workshops will feature members of the West Virginia Storytelling Guild and FSU Faculty.

How can I participate?

Adults can register through the FSU
Community Education Homepage: and click on Mountain State Storytelling Institute.

Students may register at the door. ID
required. For scholarship information
contact Dr. Kirk:

Fees $35 for adults/$15 for students

Tentative Schedule
Friday, April 4

8:00 – 8:45 Registration
9:00 Institute Welcome and Opening:
Introduce theme and institute questions
9:30 – 10:30 Visiting Scholar – Joseph Sobol
10:45 – 11: 45 Concurrent Sessions
Noon Lunch on your own
1:00 – 2:00 Concurrent Sessions
2:15 – 3:15 Concurrent Sessions
3:30 – 4:30 Story Swap
featuring FSU storytellers
5:00 Dinner on your own
7:30 – 9:00 Storytelling Presentation with
Lepp and Sobol and members of the WVSG
(Free to the public)

Saturday, April 5
8:30 Registration
9:30 -10:30 Keynote speaker – Bil Lepp
10: 45 – 11:45 Concurrent Sessions
Noon Lunch on your own
1:00 – 2:00 Concurrent Sessions
2:15 – 3:13 Concurrent Sessions
3:30 – 4:30 Concurrent Sessions
4:30 – 5:00 Closing session
Address questions and themes

Keynote Scholar
Joseph Sobol will address the preservation of culture through story and storytelling as scholarship. An artist-in-residence for many years in North and South Carolina, Sobol received a Masters in Folklore from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. His book on the American storytelling revival, The Storytellers’ Journey, was published in 1999 by the University of Illinois Press. Sobol is the Director of the Graduate Program in Storytelling at East Tennessee State University.

Keynote Speaker
Bil Lepp will address the preservation of personal history through story. Lepp is a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars Contest. He tells original, hilarious, tales that will bring a smile to the face of even the most ill-humored person. Bil has been a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival six times, and at The Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Bil is the author of three books of tales, four audio collections, and he has had stories published in several national magazines.

West Virginia Storytelling Guild
Presenters Rich Knoblich (a workshop presenter at this summer's WV Writers Conference) will address the crafting and adapting of folktales. Knoblich’s stories have been published in Goldenseal, Reading Today, and Appalachian Life magazines. He holds a B.A. in Education from West Liberty State College and an M.A. of Humanities Literature from California State University, CA. Rich is the recipient of a WV Humanities Council Fellowship for his project, Appalachian Culture: Texture, Text, and Context.

Gail Herman will present "Coal Talk," a community history project. Herman wrote, with help from Elaine Eff of Maryland’s Cultural Preservation Office, and directed Coal Talk, an oral history project located in the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland. Herman holds a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.

Kevin Cordi will examine dialogue, "storying" and literature. Cordi holds an M.A. in secondary education with an emphasis in storytelling and literacy from the University of Akron and is a Ph. D. candidate at The Ohio State University. He has contributed to the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge, English Journal, Storytelling World and Storytelling Magazine. Cordi received the Ann Izard Storyteller’s Choice Award for his book Raising Voices: Youth Storytelling Groups and Troupes.

Ilene Evans will examine the world of symbolic language and hidden meanings in the African American context. Evans is a professional storyteller, playwright, choreographer, actor, dancer and teaching artist. She is the artistic director of Voices from the Earth, an organization which creates historical works of theatre for schools and community groups. Ilene is known throughout WV for her presentations as Harriett Tubman and Memphis Tennessee Garrison

Susanna "Granny Sue" Holstein will share Appalachian and British ballads through performance and discussion and will explore puppets as storytelling partners. Susanna Holstein holds a B.S. in Education (Secondary Social Studies) from WV State College and an MLIS from the University of South Carolina. Holstein was a featured regional teller for the 2000 National Storytelling Network National Conference. She has contributed chapters in several books including "Storytelling with Puppets" in Telling Stories to Children published by NSN Press.

Suzi Whaples will discuss the use of the body to bring stories to life. Whaples, known professionally as "Mama", is a national storyteller, humorist, and conference speaker with 30 years of experience in public speaking, teaching and entertainment. She organized the "Mountain Women," and in 1998, Mama & The Mountain Women, a troupe of Appalachian storytellers, were chosen National Storytelling Champions.

Andy Fraenkel will examine stories across cultures and in healing. Andy Fraenkel holds a B.A. degree in Theater & Film from City University of New York and has a background in regional theater and Off-Broadway. For the last fifteen years he has traveled extensively offering multicultural storytelling programs and workshops at schools K-12, colleges, libraries, museums and special events.

JoAnn Dadisman will examine using storytelling as precursor to written narrative. Dadisman holds a Bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg State College (PA) in Secondary Education. She holds a Master’s degree in English Education from West Virginia University and has done post-graduate work there, with an emphasis on Appalachian Studies. She joined the WVU faculty as the English 102 and English 103 Coordinator for the Center for Writing Excellence. She is also co-director for the National Writing Project at WVU.

June Riffle will examine preserving community history through mixed media storytelling. Riffle graduated from Fairmont State with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. She then earned a Master’s degree in Reading from WVU. June performs with JoAnn Dadisman as "Mountain Echoes." They have told stories to families at the Appalachian Studies Conference, Sumter campus of the University of South Carolina, and presented at the Popular Culture Conference in 2002.

Additional sessions will be presented by FSU