ORACLE Awards

NSN is proud to annually recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to storytelling. The members of the Awards Committee for 2023 are: Sarah Juba Addison, Chair, Alton Chung, Mary Gay Ducey, Angela Lloyd, and Cora Newcomb.

The 2022 ORACLE Award Recipients

Laura Simms – Talking Leaves Award


Rachel Ann Harding – Regional Excellence Award (Colorado)


Cooper Braun Enos – Regional Excellence Award (Colorado)


Marilyn McPhie for the Pacific Region’s – Regional Service/Leadership ORACLE Award


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, NSN or its members.

The ORACLE can be an award given for:

O rganization/Originality
R eliability
A chievements
C reativity
L eadership
E xcellence

in the Storytelling Community

Nomination Process

Nominations for 2023 Oracle Awards opened December 5, 2022
Deadline for submissions: March 13, 2023 by 10 pm Central Time

Click Here for Submission Instructions

Click Here to Submit a Nomination

Award Recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award – is presented to individuals in the storytelling community who have dedicated their lives to the art form of storytelling and who have demonstrated meritorious service to the National Storytelling Network, as well as to the community of storytellers at large. The individuals who are awarded are those who have expanded public awareness of the art of storytelling by virtue of their preservation of traditional art forms or the significant originality of their body of work.

Circle of Excellence Award – is presented to artists who are recognized nationally by their peers to be master storytellers who set the standards for excellence and have demonstrated, over a significant period of time, a commitment and dedication to the art of storytelling.

Regional Excellence – recognizes the creativity, professional integrity, and artistic contributions of tellers who have greatly enriched the storytelling culture of their region.

Distinguished National Service Award – is presented to those individuals, members or groups who contribute their time and energy in an exemplary manner on the national level to forward the work of the National Storytelling Network.

Talking Leaves – is presented to those members of our community who have made outstanding contributions to the literary body of storytelling as authors, editors or collectors.

International StoryBridge Award – recognizes the exemplary work, dedication and spirit of those individuals or groups that promote the art of storytelling in their own country or promote the building of bridges between their country and other countries through the use of storytelling and/or storytelling events.

Regional Award Recipients

Regional Service and Leadership Awards are presented to individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to their local or regional storytelling community and/or have used storytelling to make a significant contribution to the larger community in which they live.

Southeast Region – Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky

South Central Region – Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana

North Central Region – North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio

Northeast Region – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Upstate New York

Mid-Atlantic Region – Metro NYC, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, District of Columbia

Pacific Region – Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii

Western Region – Idaho, Utah, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona. New Mexico, Wyoming

ORACLE Award Submission Form

Deadline: March 13, 2023 10 pm Central Time

General Instructions

This is the digital nomination form. Please complete, upload your letters where indicated, and click SUBMIT to forward all to the Awards Committee for review.

Format

Narrative and Letters of Support: 8 ½” x 11”, with 1-inch margins and type font no smaller than 11pt. Please note that the maximum number of pages is five (5) for the narrative and two (2) for each letter. For the Regional Excellence Awards only, please also include a link to a video showing a Storytelling performance of the nominee (YouTube, website, etc.) 

Directions for Narrative Addressing Qualifications of the Nominee

When writing the narrative, please refer to the description of the specific award:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – is presented to individuals in the Storytelling community who have dedicated their lives to the art form of Storytelling and who have demonstrated meritorious service to the National Storytelling Network, as well as to the community of Storytellers at large. The individuals who are awarded are those who have expanded public awareness of the art of Storytelling by virtue of their preservation of traditional art forms or the significant originality of their body of work.
  • Circle of Excellence Award – is presented to artists who are recognized nationally by their peers to be master Storytellers who set the standards for excellence and have demonstrated, over a significant period of time, a commitment and dedication to the art of Storytelling.
  • Regional Excellence Award – recognizes the creativity, professional integrity, and artistic contributions of tellers who have greatly enriched the Storytelling culture of their region. Note: video is required with this nomination since the evaluation committee may be unfamiliar with the nominee’s Storytelling work.
  • Distinguished National Service Award – is presented to those individuals, members, or groups who contribute their time and energy in an exemplary manner on the national level to forward the work of the National Storytelling Network.
  • Talking Leaves – is presented to those members of our community who have made outstanding contributions to the literary body of Storytelling as authors, editors, or collectors.
  • International StoryBridge Award – recognizes the exemplary work, dedication, and spirit of those individuals or groups that promote the building of bridges between their country and other countries through the use of Storytelling and/or Storytelling events.
  • Regional Service & Leadership Awards – presented to individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to their local or regional Storytelling community and/or have used Storytelling to make a significant contribution to the larger community in which they live.

Here are some topics you may want to cover. Please focus on topics relevant to the specific award you are submitting a nomination for. The ORACLE committee can’t judge a nominee’s excellence if the Narrative and Letters of Support concentrate on their service and leadership; they can’t give Talking Leaves (publications) if they hear mostly about the nominee’s excellent performances, etc.

  • Description of how the nominee’s work has expanded public awareness of storytelling.
  • Description of the nominee’s contribution to NSN (especially important for Distinguished National Service, International Story Bridge, and Regional Service & Leadership Awards).
  • Description of the nominee’s contribution to the storytelling community (especially important for Distinguished National Service, International Story Bridge, and Regional Service & Leadership Awards).
  • Description of the nominee’s contribution to the community in which they live (especially important for Distinguished National Service, International Story Bridge, and Regional Service & Leadership Awards).

NOTE: No more than five (5) pages of narrative will be accepted.

Please note: Letters or excerpts in support of a winning nomination may be posted on the NSN website.

Please submit each nomination individually. Submission via the online form is preferred.

Submitting the nomination

  • Online Form: Click here to go to the online submission form. Submissions will be accepted through 10 pm Central Time, March 13, 2023.

Questions regarding submissions can be directed to the NSN staff at  or +1-651-703-8191.

All original copies will be kept on file by NSN. If the nominee is not selected in the year nominated, the nominee’s paperwork will be kept on file and automatically reconsidered in the following year.

Nominator Information

(Membership in NSN is not required)

Nominee Information

(Regional Excellence, Service & Leadership Only)
(Regional Excellence Only)
(NSN membership is not required)

Supporting the Nomination

Include with this form, letters of support (each 1-2 pages) from three other people. Include the contact information for these individuals below. (NOTE: only 3 letters will be accepted.)

First Supporter