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Creative Writing and Storytelling Section

Welcome to the public page of the AFS Creative Writing and Storytelling Section!

The AFS Creative Writing and Storytelling Section was formed in 2017 with the merger of the Folklore and Creative Writing Section and the Storytelling Section. The Creative Writing and Storytelling Section intends to (1) gather folklorists with interests in creative writing and storytelling and the research thereof; (2) hold regular panels and events, such as readings and section-sponsored speakers, at the AFS annual meeting; (3) provide support for folklorists who write, teach, or organize workshops in storytelling, poetry, drama, fiction writing, creative non-fiction writing, and more; (4) provide educational opportunities for folklorists who want to improve their creative writing and storytelling skills; (5) publicize and promote the creative performance folklorists are doing; (6) and create additional venues for the publication and performance of creative writing and storytelling by folklorists.

Activities at past AFS Annual Meetings by one or both pre-merger sections include hosting Creative Writing and Storytelling Open Mic Nights, sponsoring panels, and producing storytelling concerts. The sections have also provided occasional workshops and the Storytelling section administered the Dan Crowley Memorial Research Award of $200 given for an outstanding student paper exploring the process of storytelling.

How to apply: see the AFS Review for the most recent information. Contact the section conveners with questions.

The section will hold a business meeting during the AFS Annual Meeting. To ask any questions or join the Section's listserv, please e-mail one of the current conveners.

Click here to join this American Folklore Society interest-group section.

Already a member? Click here to visit the member-only group.

Click here to pay section dues ($10 regular$5 student).

For more information about the section, including how to contact the current section convener, please join the online section free of charge and visit the private section page.


Section Conveners:

Creative Writing & Storytelling

2018-present: Aaron Kiser (

2018-present: Erin Kathleen Bahl (

2017-2018: Victoria Harkavy


Creative Writing

2015-2017: Sara Cleto

2012-2014: Chrissy Widmayer

2011-2013: Aunya Byrd

2010-2012: Brittany Warman

2009-2011: Darcy Holtgrave

2008-2010: Sue Eleuterio

2007-2009: Andrea Graham

2005-2008: Margaret Yocom

2005-2007: Amy Skillman



Milbre Burch

Jo Radner

Joseph Sobol


Dan Crowley Memorial Concerts

2019: (Baltimore, MD) The Brownsville Project: Clory Jackson and Caroline Hann  (Thursday, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm, Constellation D, 2nd floor)

2018: (Buffalo, NY) Kinsfur: Margaret R. Yocom (George Mason University, emerita), featured poet/storyteller 

2016: (Long Beach, CA) An Evening of Caribbean Storytelling: Tersi Bendiburg (storyteller), Lucrèce Louisdhon-Louinis (Louinès Louinis Haitian Dance Theater and Dance-A-Story, Inc.), Louinès Louinis (The Louinès Louinis Haitian Dance Theater)

2015: (Miami) Crone-ology: The Crones Tell Almost All, a retrospective on the AFS tradition of Croning, co-sponsored with the Women’s Section

2014: (Santa Fe)  Dovie Thomason, Walking the Branching Path”

2013 (Providence, RI) two Spirits of Benefit Street Walking Tours, on Thursday and Friday afternoon, October 17 and 18th. Michael E. Bell (Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, retired) led the tours.

2012 (New Orleans, LA): Spirits of New Orleans: A Backstage Tour of a Haunted City, with New     Orleans tour guide Mary Millan (a.k.a. Bloody Mary) – Wednesday afternoon tour in lieu of the traditional Friday-night concert.

2011 (Bloomington, IN): A Land Twice Promised, Noa Baum

2010 (Nashville, TN): Changing Skins: Folktales about Gender, Identity, and Humanity, Milbre Burch.

2009 (Boise, ID): Report from Grimes Creek after a Hard Winter: Stories of an Idaho FamilyRosalie Sorrels.

2008 (St. Louis, KY): Storytellers of the Cumberlands: Jane Muncy Fugate and Loyal Jones, MC Carl Lindahl.

2007 (Quebec)  They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust  Presented by Mayer Kirshenblatt and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett.

2006 (Milwaukee, WI): An Evening of Readings and Storytelling – Co-sponsored by the Folklore and Creative Writing Section.

2005 (Atlanta, GA) “Great Big Something for You and Me”: Southern Food Stories, Songs, and Samples With storytellers Betty Ann Wylie, Veronica Byrd,  and Jan Cribbs; music by the Peavine Creek String Band, and desserts by chef Sandy Avery.  Co-sponsored by the Foodways Section and the Southern Order of Storytellers.

2004 (Salt Lake City, UT): “Is Salt Lake a Drag?” narrated drag show by Walter Larrabee, co-sponsored by the LGBT Section.

2003 (Albuquerque, NM):  Folklorists’ fieldwork stories

2002 (Rochester, NY)  Hearing Hands, Seeing Voices: A Concert of Stories in Voice and Sign Hosted by Jo Radner and Simon Carmel, with storytellers Lorna Czarnota, Sam Holcomb, Doug Lipman, Pam McGrath, Victoria Nordquist, Joseph Sobol, and Frank Todesco.

2001 (Anchorage, AK): An Evening of Alaska Native Storytellers, with John Active, Dorothy Savage Joseph, Paul Asicksik, and Vernon Chimegalrea.

2000 (Columbus, OH):  Story swap by AFS tellers

1999 (Portland, OR):  First concert, organized by Wendy Welch, with Sheila Stewart. (Halloween stories)


Dan Crowley Memorial Student Prize Recipients

2013: Chad Buterbaugh, Dept. of Folklore & Ethnomusicology, Indiana University, "The Transnational Mediation of the Irish Foundation Myth."

2012: Milbre Burch, University of Missouri-Columbia,  "Learning to Listen to an All-Day Talker: First-, Second- and Third-hand Hearing of an Oral Performance by Ray Hicks. "

2011: Theresa Preston-Werner, Northwestern University, “The Use of Testimonials to Negotiate the Medical Marketplace in Costa Rica”

2010: Ziying You, Ohio State University, “Creation and Performance of ‘New Stories’ in Contemporary China: 1963-1966.”

2009: Benjamin Gatling, Ohio State University, “Negotiations in Performance: A Study of the Storytelling Performance of Two Adolescent Afghan Storytellers.”

2004:  Hannah Blevin, ETSU, “How Could a Timber Hold Up a Mountain? Earl Scott’s Coal Mining Narrative as the Hero’s Journey.”

Honorable Mention:

            Elizabeth Matson, “Alex Haley: Oral Storyteller” (UNC-Chapel Hill)

            Jill Breit, “The American Life: Public Radio’s 21st Century Storytellers” (WKU)

2002: Kyoim Yun, Indiana University, “Dialogic Performance of ‘Sky Sounds.’”

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