West Virginia Storytelling Guild’s Bob McWhorter Award

Affectionately known as "The Clock"

The West Virginia Storytelling Guild gives an award each year honoring a member of the Guild. This honor began in the year 2000 and is named for Bob McWhorter.  Bob is passionate about storytelling and envisioned an annual storytelling festival in West Virginia. He drew together a dedicated group of volunteers who created the West Virginia Storytelling Festival at Jackson’s Mill 4-H Camp.  For many years, the festival was a success and celebrated the art of traditional storytelling in the Mountain State. But, the festival did more than create an event.  It solidified a cohesive storytelling community in West Virginia.  The WV Storytelling Guild had existed prior to that first festival. But, the opportunity to meet on an annual basis helped to build a strong and vital organization. 

To honor Bob’s vision, the WV Storytelling Guild created the Bob McWhorter Achievement Award. It is given annually to a member of the Guild that serves the storytelling community.  The award is in the form of a clock and is presented each year to a deserving member at a regional or state-wide event.  


The Bob McWhorter Achievement Award is given by the West Virginia Storytelling Guild to an individual who has served the storytelling community of the state. This honor is not limited to performing storytellers, or even to a member of the WV Storytelling Guild, but is open to anyone who has promoted storytelling and helped the storytelling community.  Individuals who receive this award will be someone who has spearheaded a storytelling project, promoted West Virginia stories on a state or regional basis, or worked to make the art of storytelling and the WV Storytelling Guild strong.  In general, the award is given to someone who is a visionary, a leader and exemplifies the spirit of service. 

Recipients include:

2019: Dr. Fran Kirk: Fairmont State University professor, founder and director of the Mountain State Storytelling Institute, interim director of the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center, collector/creator/teller of 9 Before IX

2017: Rich Knoblich: long-time driving force behind creation and organization of McWhorter Clock Award, founder and co-director of storytelling events in Pricketts Fort and Grand Vue Park, decorated WV Liars’ Contest competitor

2016: Judi Tarowsky: co-creator of the WVSG Festivals at Pricketts Fort and Grand Vue Park, creator of numerous events in the Greater Wheeling area, and fine teller of tales. 

2015: Adam Booth: teller of a variety of styles of story, founder of the Speak Story Series, and educator of Appalachian tales and folklore

2014: Susanna "Granny Sue" Holstein: tireless promoter of storytelling in WV who is a teller, blogger, and fine singer of many traditional ballads

2010: Jason Burns:  In addition to a storytelling performer, Jason has served as Guild Webmaster and founder of West Virginia's Spectral Heritage Project

2009:  JoAnn Dadisman - Editor-in-Chief of the WVSG book, From Our Mountains, and one-half of the storytelling group Mountain Echoes.

2008:  Bil Lepp - Nationally-recognized full-time storyteller with numerous awards and credits, leading teller of tall tales

2007:  Suzi “Mama” Whaples - Mountain Women founder and performer of many original tales

2007:  Paul Lepp - Six time winner of the WV Liars Contest held during the Vandalia Gathering music festival

2006: Betty Cross - Storyteller who is one of the leading authorities of WV supernatural phenomenon and historical tales

2005:  Tiffany Turner - Organizer of the Strand Theatre Storytelling Festival

2004:  Ilene Evans - Founder of Voices From the Earth and History Alive presentations

2003:  Bonnie Collins - Winner of Vandalia Award and numerous other storytelling awards

2002:  Karen Vuranch - Well known storyteller of original and adapted tales

2001:  Judy Byers - Director of the Folklife Center at Fairmont State University

2001:  Jodi French-Burr - First president of the WV Storytelling Guild and responsible for making it a nonprofit organization

2000:  SusannaGranny Sue” Holstein - Past president of WVSG

2000:  Betty Bea Cox - Original cofounder of the WV Storytelling Festival

2000:  Bob McWhorter (for whom the award is named) - Cofounder of the WV Storytelling Festival and patron of the WV Storytelling Festival

2000:  David Mann - past director of the WV Storytelling Festival and former director of Jackson’s Mill

2000:  Joe & Anne Hutchison - Original cofounders of the WV Storytelling Festival