Since their inception in 1995, the ORACLE Awards have been presented by the National Storytelling Network to those who have excelled in their art, or made significant contributions to storytelling art or practice, NSN or its members. Below are the Award Recipients for 2023: Dolores Hydock, Jessica Robinson and Loralee Cooley. Click the button below for a complete list of award recipients.

Regional Service & Leadership Mid-Atlantic: Jessica Robinson founded “Better Said Than Done” in 2011. In addition to performing with Better Said Than Done, and locally in the DC Metro area, Details…

Jessica has performed at Exchange Place at the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN in 2018 and, in 2019, in the Susquehanna Folk Festival’s Liar’s Contest. In 2020, she appeared on PBS’ “Stories from the Stage,” and produced the first Women’s Storytelling Festival. Virtually, Jessica has performed for the Queens Theater, Artists Standing Strong Together (ASST), Six Feet Apart Productions, Stories for Healing, First Person Arts Festival, Mostly True Things, The Story Space, Bridgeport Pechakucha, at 2 National Storytelling Network (NSN) Conferences, and the Forest Storytelling Festival. She also shared stories on the Bonkers Brit, Elemental Woman, Full Spirals, Orchid Story, and Funny Parents Podcasts. In 2022, Jessica was a featured teller at the Stone Soup Festival, the Washington Folk Festival, and the Allegheny Highlands Story Festival, and in 2023 was a featured storyteller for Florida Storytelling Festival and the Hampton Storytelling Festival. Jessica is a contributing author to the book Roar: True Tales of Women Warriors.

Jessica has been leading storytelling workshops since 2011. In addition to Better Said Than Done workshops for individuals, Jessica has led storytelling workshops for The Story Center at MCPL, INOVA Fairfax Hospital, George Washington University School of Business, Story Crossroads, AHRQ, The Brookings Institution, and the World Bank.  More about Jessica here:

Regional Service & Leadership Mid-Atlantic: Loralee Cooley, whose business name is “Storyspinning,” began telling stories professionally in 1977 in Arizona. Details…

She began to comprehend that a told story can be quite powerful–but having no knowledge of anyone DOING storytelling professionally–she launched her career by using material based on Arizona history and filling in for the Governor’s wife for a luncheon.

Subsequently, Loralee’s “Storyspinning” has taken her from Arizona to Virginia, South Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma. In Georgia she was instrumental in launching the Southern Order of Storytellers and is credited with inspiring many tellers in that area.  She is now based in Albuquerque New Mexico.   She’s been listed on the artists’ rosters of the South Carolina Arts Commission and Texas Council for the Arts.

Her storytelling style strives to bring simple words to life, telling classic tales and modern stories that enchant audiences of all ages.  She has told to scouting groups, university students, summer festivals and convention attendees.  For more about Loralee see:

Member Awards

To further our mission of “advancing all forms within the storytelling community through promotion, advocacy, and education,” NSN individual, associate, and affiliate members may apply for funding up to $1,000 to develop new projects.

J.J. Reneaux Award

The J.J. Reneaux Grant is being processed through Artists Standing Strong Together. Please use the link below to access current information:

The J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Fund supports two different awards given alternate years, both of which support activities to advance storytelling skills. The Emerging Artist Award provides $1,500 to a storyteller of major or unique performing talent who has not yet received wide public recognition. The Mentorship Award provides $1,250 for a gifted younger teller (18-30 years of age) to work with a seasoned teller as a mentor.

ASST and NSN are delighted to announce that LAURA DEAL, of Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded the 2024 J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Grant. Please help us congratulate Laura!

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