Mountain State Storytelling Institute to Feature Bil Lepp and Kate Long

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fairmont State University has received a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council to support the 2011 Mountain State Storytelling Institute, a four-day conference featuring master classes and seminars by scholars and storytelling professionals. 

The Institute, offered in cooperation with Pierpont Community & Technical College, the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center and the West Virginia Storytelling Guild, will provide academic, professional and personal development for those interested in storytelling. The target audience includes teachers, librarians, ministers, counselors and social workers, as well as professional and amateur storytellers. 

This Institute will focus on “Finding Story” in resources and personal experience and shaping those stories into “tellable” tales. The master teachers Bil Lepp and Kate Long are among the featured artists.

Bil Lepp is a nationally renowned storyteller and five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest.Lepp’s CDs “King of Little Things” and “The Teacher in the Patriotic Bathing Suit,” have both received the Parent's Choice Approved Award, and “Mayhem Dressed as an Eight Point Buck” won a 2008 NAPPA Honors Award. Lepp has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and at major storytelling and corporate events across the country. 

Kate Long has worked as a media writing coach for 22 years. Her fiction, songwriting, video editing, radio production and newspaper stories have won national awards, including the  2007 WV Press Association’s Best Enterprise Reporting, for a series on cutoffs in in-home care for the elderly, and the 2003 Gabriel Award (broadcast) for the radio series, “In Their Own Country,” a 14-part series featuring prominent West Virginia writers.

The Mountain State Storytelling Institute will run June 15 through June 18, 2011. A storytelling performance featuring Bil Lepp and Kate Long will be held on Wednesday, June 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Falcon Center, third floor conference rooms, on the FSU and Pierpont main campus. This performance is free and open to the public. Lodging is available on campus, and professional development credit is available for an additional fee.

For information on the Institute registration and fees, contact Susan Bailey at (304) 367-4203 or e-mail