Updates on info you might not have known...

1. Grand Vue Call for Tellers 
2. National Storytelling Summit Info
3. Massachusetts Events
4. Spotlight on Members

1. Judi Tarowsky has shared the following: 

Call for Tellers for the 2019 Grand Vue Storytelling Festival
9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 at Grand Vue Park, Moundsville.
As of June 5 we had 320 kids signed up already.
We anticipate needing at least 6 tellers; we may need a couple more.
If you are interested, please email Judi Tarowsky at mtarowsky@gmail.com

You will be paid.

If you are interested in staying Wednesday night or Thursday night, the park can give you a 15% discount on a one or two-bedroom treetop villa cabin. You will have to go through Ben Bolock at the park to do so - that can be arranged once tellers are chosen. 

All of the festival will be either in indoor venues or in shelters.

2. Gail Herman has shared the following: 

Hi This is Gail N. Herman, member of WVSG since the 90’s.  I lived in Garrett County, MD, which is borded by WV.  I ran the Tall Tale Liar’s Festival in Garrett County for almost 20 years.   I’m hoping to see my fellow WVSG members at this wonderful Summit Conference.  You will not regret going.  The discount is still on till June 15.

(editor's note: we apologize but we cannot replicate all the imagery and details of the original email. Please visit the link below to see everything)


The Early Bird Deadline is June 15th!

July 25  - 28 Bay Area

3. Gail Herman has shared the following: 

Just wanted to remind you all about Stories in the Park, 2019 Easthampton, MA, supported by ECC.  All events are free.  

  • June 16: Then you are invited to a performance of professional storytellers from Texas, New England and NJ at Stories in the Park   Sunday -Time 3:30 in the afternoon, Father’s Day.  So bring your fathers and family!  Have a lemonade, or humus/veggie snack, or some other good, healthy item.

  • A famous storyteller from Texas who wrote From Plot to Narrative, and who received numerous awards from the National Storytelling Network will perform along with the other tellers.  

Gail N. Herman


4. Katie Ross has shared the following: 

This month we are shining a spotlight on five of our members. As you read what they have written, you will see that they have a good deal to offer to the Guild. If any of you who were invited last month to submit something about yourselves, it is still not too late.

Spotlight On our Members 


Here's a bit about me, Raymond Alvarez..  I'm a native of Marion County, where I live today.  After retiring three times from healthcare management, I'm back to work at Fairmont State University as a visiting professor in the School of Business.  I think of myself as a writer of stories and would like to become more adept a telling them. I've worked with the FSU Folklife Center over the past six years on various projects such as historical displays and community lectures.  I've published 17 history-based articles in Goldenseal over the years focusing on retelling Fairmont stories long forgotten.  My most recent work is about the life of Navy Lt. James S. Maddox, who died in 1943 after surviving 77 days on a small raft with 4 other men; three of whom were rescued on day 83 after their ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Brazil. It's a gripping tale of a young man from Fairmont who found himself thrust into an impossible situation but his leadership kept them focused on survival... and story telling was one of the techniques he used.  It's available on Amazon and Kindle ("Forgotten Hero: Ensign James Maddox")--sorry about the shameless plug.  As I researched this, I found a wonderful story that, for the most part was forgotten locally. The men had very little, if any, conflict.  Two men were Dutch and one was only 17 years old.  Maddox told him folktales and stories each evening.  The other men listened as well. When we did a Folklife presentation, Judy Byers said "this is all about the power of a story."  Recently, I helped organize a Writer's Group in Taylor County at the Taylor County Arts Council.  Storytelling was one of the aspects I want to incorporate into the group--and my neighbor down the road, June Riffle, agreed to come talk to us.  I'm bringing a lot of information to the group that I gathered at the April 27th meeting. We hope to have storytelling by members of the group at some point in the future at Grafton's First Friday events at the Arts Center.  I find a lot of information from the 50+ years of newspaper columns by C. E. "Ned" Smith.  These were published in the Fairmont Times from the 1920s to the late 1950s.  He was a story teller every day in his column... amusing tales and incidents of a city dating to the 1800s.  So I guess the stories I like are those that are colorful tales of the early 20th century... if we don't tell them in stories, they won't be remembered.  Our Taylor County Writing Group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Arts Council building on Main Street in Grafton.



I grew up in South Georgia in the small town of Swainsboro.  It is where Highways 1 and 80 intersect.  If you were born before the days of Interstates, you know that Highway 1 went from the southern United States to the tip of the Northern United States and Highway 80 did the same from East to West. Therefore, we billed ourselves as the “Crossroads of the Great South.”

This Georgia Peach was transplanted to Beckley, West Virginia in 1969, and I blossomed under the acceptance and friendliness of Mountaineers. I did not get into storytelling until I met Danny McMillion about 2004.  This was after my husband passed away, home was an empty nest, I sold the family business and had taken a part time job because I didn’t know what else to do with myself.

I have always been an avid reader and Danny showed me how to share myself and my stories through storytelling. She would always introduce me as, “Sue Atkinson. She has lived in WV for 45 years, and she still talks funny.”

Now I live in Ohio, next to my daughter and tell stories rarely, although I do enjoy telling a good lie from time to time. And that’s how I am usually billed…a liar. Most of my stories are lies, with a grain of truth. I want to work on telling stories written by others so I can share what I enjoy reading.



I am Judith Clister. I live in northern Preston County, West Virginia.  My background is in elementary education and counseling and environmental education.  Many summers have been spent camping and telling Native American stories around the campfire.  One of my loves is Celtic stories and I have been involved with the Garrett County Celtic Fest for several years now.  I have not yet, but can provide music along with my stories and pictures if talking about Ireland.  I hope to begin learning some West Virginia stories to share in classrooms and around campfires.

I can be reached at 304-379-3564 or jclister@frontiernet.net.

Judith Clister

Spiritual Companion



I am a full-time professional storyteller who resides in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. I have told stories professionally for fourteen years and, of that, this is my seventh year telling full-time. I am fortunate in that I get to travel the country telling stories. I have told at some of the premiere storytelling events in the US, including the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and the National Storytelling Festival. I have worked in twenty-five states and am proud to get to tell quite a bit around WV each year. I got my start in the WV Liars' Contest but have broadened my repertoire to include traditional Appalachian stories, ballads, and original neo-traditional stories. I have released five collections of stories which have received Parents' Choice Awards and Storytelling World Awards. I have been an active member of the Guild telling at events around the State, previously serving as President, and now I volunteer as the Webmaster for the Guild.  



When asked “who am I?” I turn to my friend and colleague George Ella Lyon’s “Where I am from” poetry.

I am from rich stories of deep hollers of Clay County and rural life in Newburg West Virginia.  My parents who told me my first stories and allowed my veins to speak narrative. 

I am from the richness of stories of Appalachia. 

However, I am also from teaching 14 years of teaching in Ohio and California.  

From African American teens to migrant workers , I held on to each tale as my students

found their voice in story and together we formed a storytelling guild for 11 years.

I am from listening and learning from storytellers such as Jackie Torrence, Jay O’Callahan, and from everyday storytellers like my neighbors and friends.

I listened so much I have written about the importance of listening in my new books.

I am from Jack who  stands as a metaphor for my journey of being a teller.

In the tales of Jack, I am connected to story.

I am a deep listener of the mountains, nation, and the world, as they echo their tales to be heard.

Being a storyteller for over 25 years has taught me that there is so much more to learn.

The only way to know Jack and his story is to find out more about both.

The only way to discover narrative is to use narratives.

This has brought me to correction officers in Qatar helping them use narrative to discover people not inmates.

Children with parents suffering from AIDS to remind them laughter and story can comfort them.

standing alongside the lollipop kid from , now grown up, from the Wizard of Oz being not Kansas, but a new place called narrative as they wait for the film to begin.

To study the art and earn a doctorate in narrative and education

and teach future teachers that their story needs to be strong, as well as their students.

Where I am from

is where stories reside and where people need to know the simple message that stories 

help create meaning.

It has done this for me and my journey has only begun.

*Kevin D. Cordi has been telling stories and teaching the art professionally for over 25 years.  He currently has taken a new position at Ohio University Lancaster serving as an Assistant Professor of Education and Literacy.  He is the author of You Don’t Know Jack: A Storyteller Goes to School (2019) and Playing with Stories: story crafting for writers, teachers, and other imaginative thinkers.   He continues to travel teaching and telling about the art we know as story.  He runs the monthly series Storyville at Columbus, Ohio and serves on the National Advisory Board for Teaching Tolerance.  You can find out more at www.kevincordi.com   Email: kctells@gmail.com