Lyn Ford, a featured storyteller on this year’s Timpanogos Storytelling Festival roster, was born into a storytelling family, but never expected storytelling to become her career. “Stories were part of any day—from personal stories, to teaching tales, to folktales, ghost stories, and literary works,” Ford says. “My dad and my maternal grandfather were the best storytellers I ever heard.”

She liked going places with her dad who would often get lost on the journey. He’d then tell her stories she later told her siblings—stories they had never heard. He was the best storyteller she knew in her life, she said, so she modeled her storytelling after him. “It started as a teaching tool for my preschool class of three-year-olds and my volunteer work in our children’s schools.”

Now in her 30th year of telling full-time, Lyn is returning to the Festival for the fourth time. “I’ve loved every festival,” Ford said. “I love seeing the ‘aha moments’ on the faces of listeners and hearing folks laugh. I love knowing we’ve connected and become a community through story sharing.”

Lyn’s mother says Ford started telling stories at the age of three. “But that means I’ve been telling stories for 67 years!” she said. “Oooh. That’s a long time!” She is known for what she has dubbed “Affrilachian” Tales: Folktales from the African-American Appalachian Tradition.

She received the 2013 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice and Storytelling World Awards for her book, Affrilachian Tales. Beyond the Briar Patch, referred to as “a cultural treasury” by the Midwest Book Review, was also an Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award winner. Hot Wind Boiling Rain is now a 2017 Storytelling Resource Award-winner for the story, By Another Name.

Ford was the first storyteller in Ohio to be nominated for a Governor’s Award for the Arts. She refers to her mix of folktale adaptations, spooky tales, and original stories based on her multicultural storytelling traditions as “home-fried tales.” Her stories and programs are often enriched with rhythm and rhyme, humor, heart, and choral response.