Meet our 2020 Featured 35 Storytellers

David Claunch

David spent 21 years as a construction project engineer. Then his right brain demanded equal time! Suddenly, a clown, balloon artist and storyteller appeared! He travelled and performed for 12 years. Now he teaches math and science at a recovery high school in Houston and he tells stories of course.

Decee Cornish

Teller and oral historian provides programs for students of all ages: Black History, Texas History, the Civil War, tall tales, legends and myths from around the globe.​ Four-time winner in Texas State Liar’s contest, 2015 NSN Story Slam National Champion, and Amon Carter Museum Outstanding Performer for presentations as the Negro Seminole Indian Scout “Gator Bill”.

Tim Couch

Recently retired, Tim was formerly a lawyer and Middle School teacher.  He served on the Boards of TSA and the Dallas Guild. He has been a Featured Teller at the Texas Storytelling Festival and a Spirit of Oklahoma Festival Teller. He shares stories at schools, churches, libraries, and museums.

Kathy Culmer

Kathy has shared folktales, historical tales, faith stories and original stories for more than 25 years. She has been featured storyteller for the NBS International Festival Gathering, has performed at The Exchange Place at the National Storytelling Festival, and has appeared here at the Texas Festival. Kathy is author of “Big Wheel Cookies: Two for a Penny”.

Eldrena Douma

Eldrena grew up in the pueblo tribes of the Laguna, Tewa and Hopi. Her experiences as a teacher and her Native upbringing made a powerful foundation for her work as a storyteller. A recipient of the prestigious John Henry Faulk Award, she travels the country sharing her captivating stories.

Elizabeth Ellis

Elizabeth is the first recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award and has been honored by the National Storytelling Network with the Circle of Excellence and Lifetime Achievement Awards. Her new book Prepare To Scare will be available this fall from Parkhurst Brothers.

James Ford

James is a writer and storyteller who blends both pathos and humor into his personal history and family stories, telling at Texas Tale Telling Festival, National Storytelling Festival, Spring Arts Festival, George West Storyfest, Patchwork of Storytelling Festival, Texas Folk life Festival, Haunting in the Hills Festival and Big South Fork National Parks Festival.

Dalton Gregory

Gregory retired after 36 years as a teacher and principal.  He has worked with students Pre-K through college seniors. He was introduced to storytelling by the founders of this festival. He has told in schools, churches, civic clubs, scout groups, barber shops, and campfires throughout the Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado.

Donna Ingham

As a humorist and folklorist, Donna takes the ancient art of storytelling and gives it a Texas twist, sharing tall tales, folk tales, historical, and personal stories told only as a Texan could – or would. She is the 2007 recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award.

J.B. Keith

J.B. is a founding member of the Tejas Storytelling Association and the Dallas Storytelling Guild. He is a past president of TSA and a John Henry Faulk awardee.  J.B. describes his original stories as the divergent wandering of an undisciplined mind on the brink of chaos.

Mary Grace Ketner

Storytelling captured Mary Grace’s heart two decades before she retired from UTSA’s institute of Texan Cultures and began to focus on story work exclusively. Another decade later, in 2018, she “retired” from full-time storytelling, but we all know what that means: she is still telling stories!

Sue Kuentz

Thank goodness storytelling found Sue early in her career because she has a lot to say! Her enthusiastic and interactive storytelling of all genres was nurtured every year at the Tejas Storytelling Festival and Conferences. She’s the 2016 recipient of the Tejas Storytelling Association’s Colson-Herndon Storytelling in Education Award.

Shayne Larango

Shayne is the StorySource for Ten-gallon Texas Tales and reigning “Biggest Liar in Texas” awarded by the George West Storyfest. She tells stories around Tejas, the USA, and as far away as Istanbul. A Sugar-Coated Hellcat who dearly loves to laugh, she believes even serious stories deserve a celebratory atmosphere.

Kim Lehman

Kim is an educator, storyteller, musician, workshop presenter, and author. Currently on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster, Kim has performed at hundreds of festivals, schools, libraries, and museums including being a featured teller at the Texas Storytelling Festival. She  is the author of the book “Beekeeper’s Lab”.

Tom McDermott

Tom McDermott is a seasoned, salted, and slightly solemn teller of tales, a crafter of ukulele wonders, and a Zen-Methodist pastor who is generally up to no good (for all the right reasons). For nearly 25 years he toured the US, Canada, and Ireland masquerading as a semi-talented, musician and storyteller.




Betsy Mosier

Betsy has been telling stories for nearly 30 years. She says the best part of being a teller is when the tale is done and she looks out over the listeners and realizes that they have come along on the adventure! Some of it may even be true!

Bernadette Nason

Award-winning storyteller, actress, author, and TCA touring artist, Bernadettehails from England, but performs everywhere. Acclaimed for her spirited multicultural folktales and anecdotes about her travels, Nason’s memoir, Tea in Tripoli, re. her dangerous year in Libya, was recently published, and the sequel, Dinner in Dubai, is forthcoming.

Ann Marie Newman

Ann Marie is a creative dreamer who grew up to be a performance storyteller, visual artist and poet. She uses a variety of materials and myriad techniques to create sensory-rich storytelling experiences. Her love for people, their stories, their art, is made manifest through her “story sharing”.

Paul Normandin

Paul is a large man with a big mouth who loves to tell stories to anyone who can’t outrun him. Paul learned to tell stories from the loving feedback of children while teaching Sunday school. Paul remains humbled to play on any stage with his supportive and loving friends.

Jeannine Pasini-Beekman

A founding member of TSA, Jeannine Pasini Beekman is known for the wit, passion and integrity of her award winning work. She combines an artful use of voice, gesture and movement with extensive study and research. An eighth generation resident of Louisiana, she currently serves as a Louisiana Humanities Scholar.

Fred Peters

My story starts when I was banished to South Side Salvage in Wellington, TX. This was great for a storyteller. I won the 4H Salute to Excellence Award for “JUST SAY NO as professional volunteer. Also a Rising Star and a State Liar who enjoys a load of stories and an aspiring writer, just ask!

Sheila Starks Phillips

The 2005 recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award, Sheila has twice been a Teller in Residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, TN. Most recently Sheila was featured for the second time at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Lehi, Utah. She and Millie Kitty live in Sugar Land.

Jiaan Powers

Jiaan brings her love, expertise, and passion for storytelling to each of her performances. She tells multi-cultural folktales, literary tales, and ghost stories often weaving them together with snippets from down home. Audience members experience the “intimacy of storying” as they participate in Jiaan’s workshops or listen to her tell.

Jacqui Rash

Teller, Youth Service Programming Librarian, Retired Elementary Principal, Stand-Up Comedian and Actress. Miss Jacqui provides programs for students of all ages: Black History, Religious, Comedy, Diverse Folktales, legends and myths from around the globe, presenting in Oklahoma, Texas, Belize and Sydney. Her stories are energetic, informative and educational!

Gayle Ross

Gayle is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a direct descendant of Cherokee Chief John Ross. It is from this rich cultural heritage that Gayle’s storytelling springs. Gayle has appeared at storytelling festivals, schools, libraries, museums and performing arts halls throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

Vivian Rutherford

Vivan RutherfordVivian, native Houstonian and mother of three is a natural born yarn-spinner. She defies the joyless librarian bookworm stereotype. She is a storyteller who does not “hush” children – she positively incites and inspires kids about reading through vivid tales and commands attention and affection from rapt listeners of her stories.

Consuelo Samarripa

Consuelo is an educator, award-winning author, bilingual storyteller, and performing artist. Her services include educational workshops for all ages, in-service/training workshops and public speaking engagements. Audiences relate to her different perspectives- as a native and a foreigner. Unique bilingual blends, interesting “noise makers”, shawls and costumes enhance her storytelling style.


Jay Stailey

First featured in 1990, Jay has returned to Denton as a teller, emcee, workshop presenter, artistic director, volunteer, and even labyrinth facilitator. It’s the Texas Storytelling Festival that provided the impetus and inspiration for Jay Stailey the author, recording artists, professor, and producer. Thanks for 35 years of storytelling joy.

Fran Stallings

Fran Stallings’ favorite word is Imagination! Based in Bartlesville OK, she performs and teaches across the US and overseas. She produces CDs of stories and songs and has published award-winning books of stories. She has received two NSN ORACLE awards and now serves on NSN’s board representing South Central

Larry Thompson

Award-winning storyteller and cowboy poet Larry has been in front of listeners for more than 30 years. Larry is at home helping the audience laugh, learn, and let loose. He has told stories on mountain tops and in valleys from New Mexico to South Carolina. Whether the stage is a campfire ring, an RV park, a fancy theater, or a back porch, Larry brings a one-of-a-kind talent.

Tim Tingle

A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Tingle is a world-traveling storyteller and the author of over twenty books. He grew up in a working class family, paid his way through college—and though he often had to hitch-hike to work, Tim is most grateful that he never lived beneath a bridge.

Darci Tucker

Darci Tucker, a shape-shifter who portrays more than 20 women from American history, also tells folktales, fairytales and ghost stories. She performs in schools all over the country, and plans her Oklahoma trip each year to coincide with the Texas Festival, where she has been involved since 2011.

Shelly Tucker

In a former life, she traveled Texas with her spinning wheel in tow, spinning yarns both literally and figuratively. These days, folks in Denton know Shelly Tucker as “Ghost Lady,” for most weekends she leads groups around the square weaving tales of mystery for her Ghosts of Denton tours.

Twice Upon a Time

Exploring the complex, challenging and humorous issues of our times, Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson have shared their stories together for over 20 years. Telling from preschools to prisons, this tandem duo presents folklore and fairytales from around the world as well as reenactments of characters from Texas history.

Nancy Burks Worcester


Nancy Burks Worcester has made a living as a storytelling ventriloquist for almost 30 years. Accompanied by her “mannequin-American” friends, she has worked in almost every state as well as Canada and Mexico.  She has a story included in “Best Stories from the Texas Storytelling Festival”. Nancy lives in Granbury with her firefighter husband and six rescue animals. She has four grandchildren.