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Storytelling Section

Note: In 2017, the Folklore and Creative Writing Section and the Storytelling Section merged. See the Creative Writing and Storytelling Section page.


The AFS Storytelling Section brings together those pursuing studies related to storytelling and performance. Members of the section include both folklore scholars and practicing tellers. The section focuses on the process of storytelling, in formal or informal settings, and includes in its scope the contemporary storytelling profession.

The section sponsors a panel at each American Folklore Society annual meeting. Past panels have included "Migrating Folktales” (a forum in which contemporary tellers discussed their individual versions of a tale); "Tradition Bearers, Tradition Carers, Tradition Careers” (which raised such issues as interpreting "revivalism,” and storytelling career ethics); and "Professional Storytellers and Professional Folklorists in Dialogue.” At the 2001 meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, the section presented a forum in which Native Alaskan storytellers discussed how they adapt stories and performance style for different esoteric and exoteric audiences. Past papers presented by the section members include discussions of how professional tellers research their repertoires; the use of stories to preserve culture in Thailand and Chicago; memory and oral history; similarities and differences among revival and source storytellers; and storytelling in multicultural societies.

In addition to sponsoring an annual panel, the section produces a storytelling concert in the annual meeting’s host city (2002, Rochester, New York; 2003, Albuquerque, New Mexico). It also provides occasional workshops and administers the Dan Crowley Memorial Research Award of $100 US given for an outstanding student paper exploring the process of storytelling. Deadline for the award is July 1 each year.

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

The Section communicates using a listserv, Subscribers do not have to be Section members. To join contact Jo Radner.


For more information on the Dan Crowley Award or the section, please contact section conveners Joseph Sobol or Milbre Burch.

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

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