In 1973, a jour­nal­ism teacher and a few neigh­bors from Jones­bor­ough, Ten­nessee rolled an old farm wag­on into Cour­t­house Square and told sto­ries around the wag­on.  This mod­est fes­ti­val changed Jones­bor­ough forever.  It has been rec­og­nized as the first pub­lic event devot­ed to sto­ry­telling.  In 1975, the Inter­na­tion­al Sto­ry­telling Cen­ter was found­ed and a grow­ing cul­tur­al move­ment began.
Sto­ries are the foun­da­tion of cul­ture.  They can enter­tain, share his­to­ry, spread knowl­edge, per­suade, advance a cause, teach, or impart a dream of a bet­ter future.  Peo­ple need sto­ries to make sense of the world.  Sto­ry­telling is a

Doesn't that microphone look inviting....

Doesn’t that micro­phone look invit­ing.…

pow­er­ful tool for effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

In 2002, a new cen­ter cam­pus opened.  It is the first facil­i­ty devot­ed exclu­sive­ly to sto­ry­telling.  Each year, Storyteller’s Week­end is free and open to the pub­lic.  The mis­sion of the Inter­na­tion­al Sto­ry­telling Cen­ter is to enrich MaryBMartinStorytellingHall_Esto-513x302lives through sto­ry­telling, whether by cap­tur­ing and telling their sto­ries, lis­ten­ing to oth­ers, or using it to pro­duce pos­i­tive change in the world.  They desire to build a bet­ter world, health­ier com­mu­ni­ties, more effec­tive work­places, and bet­ter schools.

Though Jones­bor­ough is the sto­ry­telling cap­i­tal of the world, it is not the only devot­ed sto­ry­telling enti­ty.  Ted Talks and The Moth are both orga­ni­za­tions that reg­u­lar­ly give talks in Pitts­burgh, so you don’t have to go all the way to Ten­nessee to hear some good sto­ries.  Before tele­vi­sion we read books, and before we read books we told sto­ries aloud.  It is high time we get back to our roots and tell decent, mean­ing­ful sto­ries.


Cel­e­brate Storyteller’s Week­end this mon­th by sit­ting around a fire pit telling sto­ries among friends and roast­ing marsh­mal­lows!

So, what do you think?