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WTAMU to Host Annual Storytelling Festival

April 16, 2013

COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

WTAMU to Host Annual Storytelling Festival

CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University’s Department of Communication and the Panhandle Storytelling Guild will bring the “Firelight Fables” Storytelling Festival to the stage Friday, April 26 in a concert featuring awarding-winning children’s book author and storyteller Carmen Deedy at 7 p.m. in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, Recital Hall on campus.

Other events planned for the storytelling festival include two children’s concerts—at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.—in the Branding Iron Theatre, and an afternoon workshop for University students and community members at 2 p.m. in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, Room 176.

The 7 p.m. concert will feature Deedy and four WTAMU students enrolled in the Art of Storytelling seminar. Students participating in the concert are John McSheffery, a sports and exercise science graduate student from Sulphur Springs, Brady Gregory, a sports management graduate student from Tuscaloosa, Ala., Nicole Moore, a corporate communication major from Wheeler, and Matt Ciampi, a communication graduate student from Union, N.J.  Graduate sports management student Elliot Burrow from Great Falls, Mont., has assisted with the production and marketing of the event.  

“My time spent learning the art of storytelling this semester has been simultaneously eye-opening and enjoyable,” Ellison said. “I’ve seen some great stories.”

A new feature for the evening performance is “Story on the Spot,” an impromptu storytelling performance. Audience members will get to choose from a series of images and based on the images selected by the audience, the storytelling seminar students will have to create a story “on the spot.” The students both produce and perform in the day-long festival.

Deedy began writing as a young mother and storyteller whose NPR commentaries on “All Things Considered” were collected and released under the title, Growing Up Cuban In Decatur, Georgia. The 12-story collection soon garnered awards including a 1995 Publishers Weekly Best Audio (Adult Storytelling) and a 1996 Parents’ Choice Gold Award.Carmen Deedy

She’s also won numerous awards for her children’s books. The Library Dragon received various children’s state book awards and has sold almost half a million copies. In 2003 the book was her home state’s choice to represent Georgia at the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival.

The Yellow Star was the recipient of the 2001 Jane Addams Peace Association Book Award, presented to Deedy at the United Nations by Kofi Annan.  It also received the 2001 Christopher Award, the 2000 Parent’s Choice Gold Award, the 2001 Bologna Ragazzi Award for best international children’s book and the 2002 WOW Award (National Literary Association of England), among other notable awards and honors. It has been translated to more than a dozen languages.

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach was presented with the 2008 Pura Belpre Honor Award, the 2008 NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Book Award, the 2008 Best Children’s Books of the Year, the 2008 International Latino Book Award, the Irma Simonton and James H. Black Award, the 2008 E.B White Award and the 2009 ALA Odyssey Audio Award, among others.

Deedy’s most recent children’s book, 14 Cows for America, is based on an astonishing gift Americans received from a Maasai village in Kenya, following the events of 9/11. The book was released in September of 2009 and is a New York Times best seller. She is now expanding into the world of chapter books with The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale.

In addition to writing and telling stories, Deedy has been an invited speaker at venues as varied as The American Library Association, Refugees International, The International Reading Association, Columbia University, The Smithsonian Institute, TED, The National Book Festival and the Kennedy Center. An ardent supporter of libraries, she was the 2008 National Spokesperson for School Library Media Month (AASL). She has spoken before Noble Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, CEOs of major corporations, heads of state and told stories to hundreds of thousands of school children..

The festival is sponsored by the Panhandle Storytelling Guild and the WTAMU Department of Communication with funding provided by WTAMU’s Guest Artist Series. All events are free and open to the public, but seating is limited for the evening performance. Deedy’s books will be available for purchase at the 7 p.m. performance. For reservations, call Dr. Trudy Hanson, 806-651-2800 or email thanson@wtamu.edu.


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