Story by Story

Join PSPL for Story by Story, a monthly storytelling series for adults and mature teens. Listen as diverse tellers from around the country tell stories reflecting a variety of cultures, beliefs, and experiences. Performances run 45-60 minutes, followed by an up-to 30 minute discussion opportunity.

Story by Story will be held in the Library’s River Room, and an American Sign Language interpreter will be provided for all events. Please register for each individual event, as space is limited. For more information, contact Diane Dehoney at (502) 352-2665 x108 or diane@pspl.org.

Peter Cook

Peter Cook - Story by Story

Peter S. Cook is an internationally reputed Deaf performing artist whose work incorporates American Sign Language, pantomime, storytelling, acting, and movement. He has traveled extensively around the country and abroad with Flying Words Project to promote ASL Literature with Kenny Lerner since 1986. Peter has appeared in Live from Off Center’s “Words on Mouth” (PBS) and “United States of Poetry” (PBS) produced by Emmy winner Bob Holman. Peter has worked with Deaf storytellers/poets in Europe, Brazil, Israel, and Japan and was invited to the White House to join the National Book Festival in 2003. He has been featured at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, The Deaf Way II, National Storytelling Festival, Tales of Graz (Austria), Cave Run Storytelling Festival (Morehead, KY), and many others. Peter lives in Chicago and Chairs the ASL Department at Columbia College Chicago.

For more information on Peter Cook, visit https://www.deafpetercook.com/.

Donna Washington

Donna Washington - Story by Story

In America today, we often feel divided from our fellow citizens. We sometimes feel as if the gulfs between us are so wide they will never be bridged. The divide feels real, but what if it isn't? What if the only thing that divides us is the stories we believe about people we don't know? What if the answer to bridging the divides is facing the stories we take for granted? When President Obama ran for national office, many things changed in America for African Americans. There was a belief that with a black president our country had become "post-racial". It changed the way our country spoke about and dealt with people of color. In “Chairs in the Trees”, Master Storyteller Donna Washington takes us on a journey that is funny, heartwarming, dark at times, and ultimately uplifting through the stories that surround a black woman who performs all over America.

Donna Washington, an award-winning internationally known master storyteller and author, has performed for audiences of all ages for over thirty-five years. Her storytelling repertoire ranges from poignant and funny fables about the human condition to racy relationships stories to spine-tingling tales of terror. She has been featured at numerous festivals, schools, libraries, theaters and other venues in the U.S., Canada, Peru, Argentina, and Hong Kong. During the pandemic, she has presented over two hundred shows & workshops virtually. In 2020, she co-founded the non-profit Artists Standing Strong Together with Master Storyteller Sheila Arnold for which they won a 2021 Oracle Award. She lives with her husband and two cats in Durham, North Carolina.

For more information on Donna Washington, visit https://dlwstoryteller.com/.

Registration begins March 1.

Sheila Arnold & Adam Booth

Arnold and Booth - Story by Story

Each year, Sheila Arnold and Adam Booth choose a folktale, create their own new interpretations of the tale specifically for adults, and share both in concert. This program will include the debut of these newly-worked stories from each teller, offering the audience a prime first-listen opportunity! Past stories include Sleeping Beauty, The Fisherman's Wife, The Shoemaker and the Elves, and The Gingerbread Boy.

Sheila Arnold has a talent for storytelling, a passion for history, and compassion for people. She provides storytelling, historic character presentations, Christian monologues, and professional development for schools, festivals, churches, and organizations nationally and internationally. She is co-founder and Artistic Director of Artists Standing Strong Together (ASST) a source of inspiration, strength, and action in the storytelling and artist world. Sheila has been honored as a 2021 MacDowell Artist Fellow, a 2020 Mt. Vernon Research Fellow, and a 2019 Hewnoaks Artist Colony summer residence Noted Artist. Sheila lives in Hampton, Virginia near her son, grandsons, and parents.

For more information on Sheila Booth, visit https://www.mssheila.org/.

Adam Booth is the recipient of the 2022 Governor’s Arts Award for Folk Arts in West Virginia and a four-time champion of the West Virginia Liar’s Contest. His original storytelling blends traditional mountain folklore, music, and an awareness of contemporary Appalachia, with a focus on craft. Career highlights include Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Teller-In-Residence at the International Storytelling Center, the National Storytelling Festival, Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the Appalachian Studies Association Conference, the National Academy of Medicine, and Spoken Word Resident at the Banff Centre (Alberta). His recordings have received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award, two Parents’ Choice Silver, and five Storytelling World Awards.

For more information on Adam Booth, visit http://www.adam-booth.com/.

Registration begins April 1.

Linda Gorham

Linda Gorham - Story by Story

As a professional storyteller, Linda Gorham tells stories on the biggest stages. But singing? In public? In front of a microphone? Well, that was a whole ‘nuther’ thing for her. Scary! Linda will share her story of finally getting the courage to sing – with joy as her mother taught her. She will also share some of her favorite musical stories.

For over 30 years, Linda Gorham has engaged audiences internationally with poignant and humorous family stories; interactive folktales; notably twisted fairy tales; and riveting, well-researched historical stories. Each performance is infused with Linda’s unconventional humor and her signature ‘sophisticated attitude’. Linda has been added to the Wall of Storytelling Faces and Voices at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. She has performed at schools, libraries, and storytelling festivals throughout the United States as well as in Greece, South Africa, and Egypt.

For more information on Linda Gorham, visit www.LindaGorham.com.

Registration begins May 1.

Michael McCarty

Michael McCarty - Story by Story

Michael McCarty’s mother always read to him and told him stories. As a high school student in the 1960s, he discovered the amazing stories of Black history and culture that weren’t taught in schools, so he began telling stories. In 1992, McCarty discovered the world of professional storytelling, and he has been telling stories and teaching storytelling around the country and the world ever since! Since 2014, he has worked in California prisons as part of the Arts in Corrections program, teaching inmates how to find, develop, and tell their own stories.

McCarty has told “goo goobs” of stories in his over thirty years as a professional storyteller, specializing in stories of African and African-American history and culture. Many of those stories have been especially important to him, and he will share those stories with us!

Registration begins June 1.

 

Arif Choudhury

Arif Choudhury - Story by Story

Arif Choudhury is a professional storyteller, filmmaker, theater artist, and stand-up comic. He performs "More in Common than You Think", his one-person program of stories for schools, libraries, conferences, and festivals around the country and abroad. He tells humorous stories of growing up in one of the few Bangladeshi-Muslim immigrant families in Chicago. Focusing on issues of ethnic and religious identity, assimilation, multiculturalism, and diversity, his stories poke fun at how we think of one another. Arif also tours the country in “More Alike than Not: Stories from Three Americans—Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim.” He recently recorded a CD of stories entitled Where Are You From? And Other Difficult Questions and has written his first children’s book The Only Brown-Skinned Boy in the Neighborhood. He wrote and directed a short film entitled Coloring based on his childhood and contributed a story about his dating woes for Salaam, Love: Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy.  Arif lives with his wife and children in New York City where he is now a high school and middle school math teacher.

Registration begins July 1.

Kevin Kling

Kevin Kling - Story by Story

Humorist, playwright, and author, Kevin Kling is hailed as a Minnesota state treasure. Former Guthrie Theater artistic director Joe Dowling said that "Kevin has the ability to be genuinely funny, but he can also move you to tears. He's profound in the way he combines a natural genius sense of observation and humor with a real understanding of what it is to struggle, as he's had to do all his life." Join Kevin as he shares new stories and reads from his very popular books The Dog Says How, Holiday Inn, Big Little Brother, and Big Little Mother.

Kevin Kling’s style reflects both his innate sense of humor and the life challenges he has surmounted, including a congenital birth disorder and complications from a near-fatal motorcycle accident. He has performed his stories and plays in libraries, schools, the Kennedy Center, Off-Broadway, regional theaters, and storytelling festivals nationwide. His international tours have included Australia, Europe, and Thailand. Kevin is especially proud of his work as a teacher, playwright, and performer with Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, a company that creates art in the spirit of radical inclusion. Kevin comes to us from Minneapolis.

For more information on Kevin Kling, visit www.kevinkling.com.

Registration begins August 1.

Carrie Sue Ayvar

Carrie Sue Ayvar - Story by Story

Flowing seamlessly between Spanish and English, Carrie Sue Ayvar chooses from her large repertoire to connect people, languages, and cultures through her stories. She believes folktales can be windows into each community, often dealing with universal problems and ideas but tinted with their own cultural viewpoint. Stories are the threads woven into the tapestry of time, and Carrie Sue seamlessly weaves together personal and traditional tales in this program.

An internationally celebrated storyteller, Carrie Sue Ayvar has been connecting people, languages, cultures, and curriculums in both English and Spanish for over forty years. As an award-winning storyteller, Chautauqua scholar, and a national credentialed teaching artist, she has performed in diverse venues across the country and internationally.  An advocate for the art of storytelling and arts education, she believes that, like her Grandpa Nat taught her, “If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life.”

For more information on Carrie Sue Ayvar, visit www.carriesueayvar.com.

This program will be presented in Spanish and English.

Registration begins September 1.

Past Storytellers

Yvonne Healy

Yvonne Healy didn’t simply kiss the Blarney Stone; she swallowed it. A citizen of two cultures, Irish and American, Yvonne spoke both languages as a child. From this world of hidden treasures rose one of America’s most endearing storytellers. Funny, thought-provoking, and dynamic, too!

Loren Niemi

The desert wind blows, the palms sway as Loren Niemi tells a “choose your adventure” story of the Baker, the Contessa, the Mapmaker, and the Widow, in search of their destiny with four starting points (the audience must choose from) to an improbable destination, Fata Morgana, and four, maybe five

Andy Offutt Irwin

In “An Evening with Marguerite Van Camp, M.D.”, Andy tells the adventures of his eighty-five-year-old-widowed-newly-minted-physician (fictional) aunt, Marguerite Van Camp, a woman who avoids curmudgeonship by keeping her finger on the pulse of the changing world around her as she seeks to grow –

Ray Christian

Ray tells stories of his upbringing in a southern ghetto, his family life, and his transition from ghetto kid to soldier to academic.

Laura Packer

Laura Packer’s extensive repertoire includes traditional tales from around the world; retold fairy tales and myths that reveal new perspectives; personal narrative that amuses and moves; original magical realism fiction full of wonder; scary stories; historical works; improvised stories that exis

Alton Takiyama-Chung

E Komo Mai! Welcome and spend an evening hearing tales of old and not so old Hawaii. Explore ancient Hawaiian legends of Gods and Goddesses with kama’aina storyteller Alton Takiyama-Chung.

Charlotte Blake Alston

For over thirty years, Charlotte Blake Alston has been committed to preserving and sharing stories from African and African American oral traditions. She has shared stories in a wide range of venues including the John F.