2018 Featured Tellers


Cary Graphic The 36th “In the Tradition...” 

Annual National Black Storytelling Festival and Conference

“Our Storytelling Fabric:

Weaving Tales From The Dismal Swamp to Moral Monday Marches”
        October 31-November 4, 2018


Ernestine Brown 
 Ernestine Brown is a talented versatile storyteller for listeners of all ages! Ernestine is a retired educator who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Western Connecticut State University (Danbury, CT) and a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA). While serving as a classroom teacher and administrator, she opened SOMBA Bookstore, in Hartford, CT, and began storytelling as part of the bookselling experience. Ms. Brown went on to become a consultant for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Ernestine Brown is a faithful member of Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia, where she has served as President, Vice-President and Secretary and is currently Membership Chairperson.  She is also a member of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. and the Southern Order of Storytellers. She has performed at The Herndon Home Museum, the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Ernestine believes that storytelling will guide us through this present wave of technology and hostiity, because storytelling tells the truth.

For more than twenty-five years Atiba Kwabena has studied the folklore of Afrika and its western-hemispheric diaspora.  Along with the members of Songhai Djeli and the Befo’Quotet, Atiba has performed and lectured throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Afrika.  Atiba believes that “music, poetry, storytelling and dance have always been utilized to ritualize the history of Afrikan people. These rituals help to relive the experiences of the ancestors and to learn from the wisdom they have gained.” 

Atiba is the founder and artistic director of Songhai Djeli and Befo’Quotet. He has lectured at Hunter College on the subjects of the “African Origins of Hip-Hop”and the “African Origins of the Blues”. He has contributed to several anthologies, including Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (edited by Tony Medina and Louis Reyes Rivera (2001) and Let Loose On The World: Celebrating Amiri Baraka at 75 (2009).


Donna Washington

Donna Washington
is an internationally known, multiple award winning storyteller, spoken word recording artist, and author. Donna was born an army brat in Colorado Springs, Colorado and traveled all over with world with her parents. Donna attended Northwestern University and was involved with numerous theatrical productions. It was at this time that storytelling reemerged as something she wanted to learn more about. In the four years she was there, she began to make storytelling a central part of her performance life. She performs all over the country (and recently returned from Australia) at festivals, schools, and gives workshops for parents and educators as well. She has been featured at numerous storytelling festivals including the 2004 National Storytelling Festival, The Illinois Storytelling Festival, The Three Rivers Festival, The St. Louis Storytelling Festival, The NC StoryFest, The Corn Island and Cave Run Festivals in KY, and the Broward County Children's & Ocala Storytelling Festivals in Florida. Her books include A Pride of African Tales (2003), The Story of Kwanzaa (1966) and Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa (2010). Donna is a dedicated contributor to the National Association of Black Storytellers’ Inc blog “NABS Talking”.


Dylan Pritchett

Dylan Pritchett
is a native of Williamsburg, Virginia and has been a full-time storyteller since 1990. Although he performs in many, many schools annually, his talents extend beyond the classroom to museums, arts centers, historical sites, television and recordings. Dylan has created the voices and persona of many historical characters for museum, recordings and exhibits…most recently for the National African American Museum of History & Culture in Washington, D.C.! Dylan, (pronounced DIE-lan), is a Life Member of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. and feels honored to have served as the 10th President of the NABS, Inc., serving ten years on its Board of Directors, Co-Editor of Sayin’ Somethin’, and serving as Festival Director for six Festivals & Conferences. He was honored to be a recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston Award and Linda Jenkins Brown Award for Service. He is the author of First Music (2006).





Kevin and Tracy Bell, a husband and wife storytelling team, known professionally as The Two Bells offer interactive, unique tandem storytelling. Highlighting African and traditional African American folktales, the pair offer power-packed performances with stories, songs, and mime woven throughout to create an atmosphere of excitement for any audience.  They have been performing since 1999 in schools, libraries, universities, churches, family gatherings, and summer camps.  Kevin studied graphic design at North Carolina Central University and has created authentic paintings, t-shirt designs, brochures, greeting cards and murals. Tracy has a BA degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Library Science and a Master of Arts Degree specializing in Educational Technology from North Carolina Central University.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Library Media.

The Two Bells are members of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. and the North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers.  They have traveled throughout North Carolina sharing stories with members of NCABS for various venues, including the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, NC.


Queen Nur


Queen Nur has served as the 14th President of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. and is currently the Director of the Folklife Center for Perkins Center for the Arts in New Jersey.  Queen Nur also serves as Co-Director of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. Adopt-A-Tellers Program. She is an international teller, having presented in Ghana, Canada, and 34 states.  Following the griotic tradition, her stories capture historical victories, celebrate folkloric traditions, and profoundly speak to the quintessence of humanity. Audiences may experience tears upon the soul; and, within the same breath of story, have a toetapping, hand-clapping good time. Queen Nur presents original works, traditional tales, workshops, lectures and residencies extensively to thousands at theaters, schools, libraries, universities, museums, churches, community organizations, festivals, hospitals, family reunions, conferences, elder centers, retreats and special events including the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the John F. Kennedy Center, Smoky Hill River Festival, KS, the National Storytelling Festival, and the National Association of Black Storytellers, Festival and Conference.




Mitch Capel / “Gran’daddy Junebug”… storyteller, recording artist, poet, actor and author…was born and raised in the small town of Southern Pines, North Carolina. He has been bringing stories to life and delighting audiences throughout the United States with his warmth, wit and compelling storytelling style since 1985.  Elnora Leak Capel, (his grandmother) read to Mitch at the tender age of three from “The Life & Works of Paul Laurence Dunbar” (1872-1906) and the rhythm of the story was planted like a seed. He has memorized over 70% of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s work and is considered the “national interpreter” of the poet laureate. Mitch Capel / “Gran’daddy Junebug”, who calls his style of storytelling “sto’etry” (stories recited poetically), has been described as a “word magician”, a “national treasure”, “unexpectedly powerful” and a “transformer of lives”. He has been featured at numerous festivals including twice at The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN & The Timpanogas Storytelling Festival in Orem, Utah; The Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC;  The 2009 Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC. and the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. At NABS, he is the emcee for the Jackie Torrence Tall Tale Contests and the emcee for the Liars’ Contest at the Signifyin’ & Testifyin’ Storytelling Festival in Minnesota.