2020 Featured Storytellers
Willy Claflin is a one-man festival. Spanning historical sagas, intergalactic yarns, and counter culture misadventures, he covers the full spectrum of spoken word entertainment. A musician and storyteller since the early 1980s, Willy Claflin tells original and traditional stories, and is the speaking-mouth-person for Maynard Moose, the only quadruped on the storytelling circuit. He also sings traditional ballads from the British Isles and Appalachia, blues, and his own original tunes.
Claflin has authored multiple award-winning recordings and has performed across the globe, including at the International Storytelling Festival in Ireland. He is an NSN ORACLE Circle of Excellence award recipient.He offers stories for families as well as adults, often weaving music into his performances. An accomplished guitar player and narrative ballad specialist, Willy is sometimes joined by his son Brian for performances of In Yonder's Wood—a celebration of traditional music from the British Isles and Appalachia.
His tributes to departed tellers, especially Gamble Rogers, revive wonderful talent that might otherwise be forgotten. Festivals love sidekick Maynard Moose. Original, traditional, historical, personal, comic—regardless of genre, Willy fits any playbill.
Cairo born, and Le Coq and Goldsmith's trained in Paris and London - Chirine El-Ansary is a storyteller and physical performer living in France, and working in French, English and Arabic. Chirine was one of the first performers to perform in the ancient buildings in the heart of the old city of Cairo, and in the markets and old palaces of Damascus and Aleppo. Today she is an international storyteller and has performed in cities diverse as Sana'a, Nairobi, Zanzibar, Johannesburg, Rome, Naples, Rotterdam and Paris… and made her mark in the UK at Crick Crack Club seasons at the Barbican and Soho theatre.
Her work includes performances of The Arabian Nights; her remarkable adaptation of the Banu Hilal epic (premiered at the Barbican in 2005); experimental movement solos based on Italo Calvino's prose; Sufi tales and performance poetry. Since 1996 she has been entirely dedicated to the art of story-performing with a very physical approach and a deep interest in how words and movements can combine to communicate moods, atmospheres and images. Political, ironic and social elements are ever present in her performances.
In 2012 Chirine is part of Transit 5 International Women's festival, at the Odin theatre, Holstebro, Denmark. She also works as a radio actress, featuring in productions such as the Naguib Mahfouz trilogy, on BBC Radio 4, and recordings of her own storytelling for Radio Monte Carlo-Moyen Orient. Chirine leads workshops in performance and storytelling in various communities, for extremely diverse groups; from teenagers and young adults in the Egyptian Oasis, to public school teachers in Alexandria and professional actors in Syria and the UK. Chirine is fluent in Arabic, French and English.
Queen Nur (Karen Abdul-Malik) is a highly interactive International Storyteller, Folklorist and Teaching Artist from Willingboro, NJ. She is the Immediate President of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. Following the griotic tradition, her stories capture historical victories, celebrate folkloric traditions, and profoundly speak to the quintessence of humanity.
For 25 years she has enthralled hundreds of thousands in over 34 states at such venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.; The Opening of the Smithsonian National African American Museum of Culture and History; Equitable Tower Theater on Broadway; NJN Television; Toronto Street Festival; National Storytelling Festival; and Kravis Center, FL.
Queen founded and produces the Annual Willingboro Kwanzaa Festival and is featured in local newspapers and on Fox Television every year during the Kwanzaa season. She is the Director of the Folklife Center at Perkins Center for the Arts, Roster Artist with Theatreworks USA and a Creative Consultant Teaching Artist with Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.
Queen founded In FACT: Innovative Solutions Through Folk Art, Culture and Tradition,
a cultural sustainability organization that produces workshops and events designed to
create opportunities for civic engagement through folklife traditions. Queen is a winner
of the MidAtlantic Artist-As-Catalyst Award; the NSN Brimstone Grant; and several
leadership awards. Queen has two CDs, Parent's Choice Winner, "Sweet Potato Pie and
Such", and "Live and Storified." She has an MA in Cultural Sustainability at Goucher.
Carolina Quiroga-Stultz is a bilingual Storyteller, performer and podcaster, who graduated in 2013 with a Masters in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Her large repertoire of bilingual stories, explores the Native and Afro-Latin American and Hispanic Myths, Legends and Mysteries ranging from El Río Bravo to La Patagonia. On July 31 to Aug 4, 2018 Carolina was a TELLER IN RESIDENCE at INTERNATIONAL STORYTELLING CENTER - Jonesborough, Tennessee.
In early 2019, Carolina's bilingual literary podcast "Tres Cuentos Podcast" dedicated to the traditional narratives of Latin America, was awarded two grants for its continuation by the following organizations: ALTERNATE ROOTS and from NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures). Listen to the podcast here: www.trescuentos.com
On 2014, she was awarded "Outstanding Performer of the Year" by ETSU, and in December 2015 she became the recipient of the "J.J. RENEAUX EMERGING ARTIST GRANT" by the National Storytelling Network. On 2016 she became a Teacher Artist part of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts, a recognized national model for utilizing the performing arts to support young children's cognitive, emotional, and physical development and school readiness.
Joyce Slater is a storyteller, workshop leader, actor and visual artist who loves to combine all talents whenever possible. She tells stories for listeners aged pre-school through adult with songs and puppets. Joyce has been the Artistic director for the KC Storytelling Celebration in Kansas City since 1999 and the Director of River and Prairie Storyweavers since 2008. She teaches storytelling to all ages and offers a new class, "Everything you wanted to know about Story Slamming but were afraid to Tell". She presents at libraries, museums, schools, churches, festivals, and other events.
Joyce is offering several new programs; Dreamsicle Stories, Bedtime stories for Children, To Sleep Perchance to Dream (Shakespeare for Beginners) for families and Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ghost stories, Origami Creatures of the Night for Teens, plus more love stories and other favorites. A timely set of programs developed for Missouri's Civil War Anniversary includes "Missouri Women of the Civil War" and "Border War Tales." Interprekidz teaches historical interpretations for children and adults. Workshops such as Remember When for Young and Old and Stories that Fold and Unfold, an Origami, help participants to learn and share the arts together.
Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller. His great-great grandfather, John Carnes, walked the Trail of Tears in 1835, and his paternal grandmother attended a series of rigorous Indian boarding schools in the early 1900's. In 1993, Tingle retraced the Trail of Tears to Choctaw homelands in Mississippi and began recording stories of tribal elders.
Tingle was a featured author and speaker at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., based on critical acclaim for "How I Became a Ghost," which won the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Award. The next book in the series, "When A Ghost Talks, Listen," will be released June 24, at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and June 26 at the American Library Association Conference in Orlando.
His first children's book, "Crossing Bok Chitto," garnered over twenty state and national awards, and was an Editor's Choice in the New York Times Book Review. In June of 2011, Tingle spoke at the Library of Congress and presented his first performance at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. He received his Masters Degree in English Literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies. While teaching writing courses and completing his thesis, "Choctaw Oral Literature," Tingle wrote his first book, "Walking the Choctaw Road." It was selected as Book of the Year in both Oklahoma and Alaska.
As a visiting author and performer, Tingle reaches audiences numbering over 200,000 annually. He has completed eight speaking tours for the U.S. Department of Defense, performing stories to children of military personnel stationed in Germany. In February of 2016, his novel "House Of Purple Cedar" won the American Indian Youth Literature Award.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Dack Virnig is the fourth-generation Deaf family. While growing up, he attended Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (MSAD) and later California School for the Deaf at Fremont (CSDF) and graduated in 2007. He attended Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and obtained his degree in 2011.
He credits his Mom for his storytelling passion with her numerous of fairy tales and her beautiful signs. This passion lead to his first ASL contest, where he placed first. That is when his imagination suddenly emerged and lead to his involvement with High School dramas, five performances for Rochester Institute of Technology and eventually a deaf movie.
DackCube Entertainment was an outgrowth of his YouTube fan base who encouraged him to inspire the world with how awesome and beautiful ASL can be. Since then Dack has performed at universities, deaf schools and numerous deaf events where he shares his rich experience in ASL.
As a community historian, storyteller, and musician, Charlie Chin has been at the forefront of Asian American artistic expression since 1970. He was the Community Education Director at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City and has continued his research and performances as the Artist-in-Residence at the Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco.
Charlie's interest in Chinese American history led him to collect oral history and family stories from the old timers of Chinatown. He studied with the late storytelling master, Leong Chi Ming of Toishan, China, and specializes in the "Teahouse Style" of classical Chinese storytelling. He has presented at organizations such as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. In addition, Charlie has been a frequently featured teller at the Sierra Storytelling Festival in California, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Utah, and the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Continuing his role as an active storyteller, Charlie leads regular walking tours and docent training workshops in San Francisco's Chinatown.
On top of performing live, Charlie has published several children's books, including China's Bravest Girl (1992) and Clever Bird (1996); and several of his plays, A.B.C., American Born Chinese (1983), The Last Spirit Boxer (1992) and Hawaiian Sweethearts (2001), have been produced in Boston, New York City, and San Francisco.