April 3, 2003
Gioia Timpanelli (Distinguished Poet, Prose Writer and Storyteller): "From Folk Tale to Fiction: The Italian Oral and Literary Traditions"
Gioia Timpanelli is one of the founders and leading promoters of the worldwide revival of the ancient art of storytelling. Often called The Dean of American Storytelling, she is the winner of two Emmy Awards, a Womens National Book Association Award, a Maharishi Award for promoting world harmony, an American Book Award, and a National Book Award. She is the author of Tales from the Roof of the World: Folktales of Tibet (1984), Traveling Images and Observations, Immagini e Annotazioni (1987), and Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily (1999). In addition, she has contributed many stories, essays, encyclopedia articles, sound recordings, and broadcasts to the field of folklore studies and she has served for many years, within the United States and abroad, as leading spokeswoman for Italian-American culture and for the universal art of storytelling.
Not only a distinguished poet and prose writer, Timpanelli has performed her improvisational style of storytelling to great acclaim across the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Greece. She has received the enthusiastic praise of many contemporary writers and critics, who laud the freshness of both her oral and written tales. Frank McCourt, author of Angelas Ashes, calls her an utterly masterful storyteller, while the poet Robert Bly said of her, I love almost all storytelling, but this woman, Gioia Timpanelli, is the greatest I have heard in the art.