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Give Your Storytelling New Meaning … Meet Me In Chicago in July

At this point, you are probably asking, "Why would I want to meet you in Chicago, and especially in July? How would that give my storytelling new meaning?" If you are interested enough in the power of storytelling to be visiting this website, you would love take part in the National Storytelling Network's (NSN's) National Storytelling Conference, July 9-13, 2003 in Chicago. I guarantee that this will be one of the most satisfying and life enhancing events you have ever attended. Having attended many conferences and conventions in my life, I rate the NSN conferences highest of all in my estimation. In this article I am going to share some of the planned highlights.

Pre-Conference Offerings consist of five full-day tracks. There are five Special Interest Groups (SIGs) sponsored by NSN. These groups are formed by NSN members who wish to focus on a particular area of storytelling interest. Each group will be hosting an all-day program open to their members and anyone else who is interested in attending. The Storytelling in Organizations SIG will be presenting New Vistas: Story Work in Organizations with the goal of learning to foster meaningful communication within organizations through stories and building a bridge between the storytelling community and diverse organizations. Building a Successful Storytelling Event will be produced by the Organizers SIG and will use small breakout sessions to discuss key aspects of storytelling events including all the nuts and bolts of planning and implementing successful programs. The Healing Story Alliance, another NSN SIG, will present Stories from the Field, Reaping the Wisdom: A Healing Story Gathering, an innovative three-part program designed to enlighten, challenge and empower. Raising Young Voices: Youth Storytelling in Classroom and Community, produced by Youth Storytelling, an NSN SIG, will offer anyone working with young tellers informative workshops, talks and presentations from some of the most experienced experts in the field. Storytelling in Higher Education, the newest NSN SIG, will offer Storytelling in Higher Education: Bridging Islands in Academe and Community and will feature a keynote and workshop by Jack Zipes, one of the most prolific and influential scholars of fairy tales writing today, as well as a powerful exponent of the importance of storytelling in cultural life.

Six keynote speakers will offer a wide variety of topics along with challenging their listeners to grow and think in many different areas. Studs Terkel, acclaimed chronicler of the lives of ordinary Americans and Timuel Black, revered educator, political activist and community leader, will hold the dialogue, "Icons and Elders: Honoring the Richness of Story Traditions." Susan O'Halloran, author of four books and recipient of the 2002 Spirit of Peace Award, and David Hernandez, known for his cunning urban poetry, imagery and biting wit, will present "The Illusion of Diversity: Re-imaging our Community's Commitment to Change." Syd Lieberman, internationally acclaimed storyteller, award-winning teacher and author will present "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My: The Storytelling Adventure." Naomi Shihab Nye, poet, essayist, children's author and songwriter, will present "MINT SNOWBALL: The Stories of Our Lives."

And that is only the beginning!

Workshops, Showcases and Intensives will fill the daytime hours. Orchestrated and presented by storytellers from all over the world, these informative sessions will cover topics from the many uses of stories, to the how-tos of creating and telling stories for different audiences, to helping others tell stories, to the business of storytelling, to using the Internet for research and marketing, and to tackling storytelling projects of all sizes and descriptions. There are sessions for beginning, intermediate and advanced storytellers. I guarantee that you will return home energized and filled with new and useful ideas and enthusiasm to get started immediately.

Evenings will be filled with presentations, socializing, dancing, stories at Chicago museums, storytelling swaps and awards. We will enjoy the opening Welcome Reception, the Regional Storytelling Concerts at six of Chicago's museums, a Dance Party followed by Story Swaps, and the ORACLE Awards Ceremony, followed by a Reception and Story Swaps. As you can see, there will be a chance to have fun, network, tell and listen to stories.

What more could you hope for? I am sure that by now, you want to know the rest of the story and where to sign up. Just visit NSN's website at for the full roster and for the answers to any of your questions. Register now - time is growing short. You'll be glad you did!

I hope to see you in Chicago in July! Be sure to introduce yourself. I'd love to meet you.



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