April 13, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Storytellers from across the country will spin their tales at the 13th annual Keepers of the Word Storytelling Festival, a day-long event on Saturday, April 30, in the Keefe Campus Center Frontroom at Amherst College. Performances will be held at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

This year's nationally known storytellers are Onawumi Jean Moss, Brenda Wong Aoki, Judith Black, Margaret Bruchac, Carmen Agra Deedy and Queen Nur.

Onawumi Jean Moss, founder and director of the Keepers of the Word Storytelling Festival, is associate dean of students at Amherst College. With original stories, fairy tales, cautionary tales, folk tales and personal narratives, she encourages appreciation of cultural differences, pride of heritage, recognition of kinship, reflection and inquiry. Her soulful narration, a capella singing, dramatic facial expressions and animated movements bring to life the worlds of adventurous girls and women, charming creatures, scheming tricksters and wicked demons.

Brenda Wong Aoki of San Francisco, Calif., is a highly acclaimed, contemporary storyteller, educator, writer, dancer and recording artist whose stories blend myth, street lore and real life.

Judith Black of Marblehead, Mass., has a writer's eye for character and plot, and an actor's ability to capture the idiosyncratic nuances that take a character from a two-dimensional world into your hearts and minds.

Margaret Bruchac of Northampton, Mass., is a traditional Abenaki singer, storyteller, and nudatlokad. Her eloquent voice and thoughtful gestures are finely-tuned to the task of reconstructing, out of thin air, some sense of the culture and beliefs of the indigenous people of New England.

Carmen Agra Deedy of Tucker, Ga., is an award-winning storyteller and author. Her Latin American and Southern heritage is richly portrayed in her poignant, humorous and spirited stories.

Queen Nur of Willingboro, N.J., is a high-energy, interactive performer whose presentations are designed to teach as well as entertain. Queen is nationally known for her creative and expressive storytelling style and has performed extensively for thousands of children and adults throughout the country.

There will be three ensemble performances at the festival: “Stories for Little Folk and the People Who Love Them” from 10 to 11:30 a.m., “Stories for Young Folk and the People Who Love Them” from 2 to 4 p.m., and “Stories for Older Folk and the People Who Love Them” from 8 to 10:30 p.m.

General admission for adults is $8, $6 for seniors and $5 for children for the 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. performances and $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $8 for children for the 8 p.m. performance. A special rate of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for children is available to those who wish to attend both the morning and afternoon performances. Advance tickets are available for each performance at the Keefe Campus Center Office, first floor. The performances are free to Amherst College students with I.D and $5 for Amherst College staff with ID. For more information call 413/542-8422.

Keepers of the Word is sponsored by the Lecture and Eastman Fund Committee, Office of Student Activities/Keefe Campus Center, Office of the Dean of Students, The Willis Wood Fund/Religion Department, Association of Amherst Students and academic departments and supporters throughout Amherst College.