Blending traditional mountain folklore with music and the contemporary Appalachia, Adam Booth’s approach to storytelling tickles the funny bone and tugs at heart strings. With myriad appearances at a host of storytelling festivals and events (including the National Storytelling Festival), and a plenty of awards to adorn his biography and proverbial trophy case (such as four Storytelling World Awards and Honors), Adam not only tells stories, but also teaches Appalachian Studies at Shepherd University, and is the founding director of the Speak Story Series. Oh, and let’s not forget his four championship wins at the West Virginia Liar’s Contest (makes you think about his accolades, doesn’t it?).
Before the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival gets underway, get to know Adam Booth better by taking a look at this exclusive interview we were privileged to have with him. While it’s true that he is an amazing liar, his insight is deep and his experiences inspiring. We’re pleased to be able to let you in on some of his thoughts on storytelling, life, and more. Ladies and gentlemen—Adam Booth.
Q&A with Adam Booth
Our theme this year is “Pathway to Story.” How would you describe your pathway to becoming a storyteller. Was it a road, a back alley, a fast track, or a meandering trail?
I would call my pathway a forest trail that meanders up and down through the woods, over the springs, and around the rocks, with some difficult climbs, beautiful overlooks, and plenty of good company in the fellow hikers on the way.
Could you tell us about someone who has influenced you on this journey as a storyteller?
In 2011 I received the NSN J. J. Reneaux Mentorship Grant to begin a mentoring relationship with Dovie Thomason. This was a major step for me as a teller and I feel like I experienced tremendous growth in the years immediately following. Even though the grant was for one year, we have continued our relationship. Dovie has been along my journey ever since then, and I am excited to share the stage with her at Timpanogos. This will be the very first time we have told at an event together.
What are you passionate about outside of storytelling?
I am an advocate for correcting perceptions of Appalachia and Appalachians, which actually comes through a lot of my storytelling. I’m also passionate about youth education. Again, this is very much part of my work, so, perhaps those doesn’t count. I enjoy hiking and camping wherever I go, but especially in the West Virginia hills.
Where does storytelling go from here? How do you see it’s influence on society?
Storytelling is a hot word right now and we see and hear it combined with other media and processes, such as storytelling and health, or storytelling and community building. From here we work to see a greater general understanding of storytelling and how it touches all disciplines, not just as a hyphenated addition.
What fictional place would you most like to visit?
Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.
Thanks Adam! To see him live at this year’s Timpanogos Storytelling Festival on September 6-8, 2018 at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah go the our website to buy tickets at https://timpfest.org/