Book Notes: Storytelling takes center stage

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/7/2019 10:00:15 PM
Modified: 3/7/2019 10:00:27 PM

The stream of storytelling events in the Upper Valley swells in March, starting this weekend with a session titled “Immigrant Stories.”

The gathering, co-sponsored by the Upper Valley Interfaith Project and Long Story Short, which describes itself as a small group of Upper Valley storytellers, will take place at the Upper Valley Senior Center in Lebanon on Sunday afternoon between 3 and 5. Admission is free.

Among the storytellers sharing recollections of coming to America will be the interfaith project’s lead organizer, Asma Elhuni, a U.S. citizen who as a child moved to the United States from Libya with her family. While studying at Georgia State University, she earned the school’s Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award in 2016 for activism that included leading a successful effort to allow Muslim women to wear their hijabs in a detention center in Atlanta. She moved to the Upper Valley in 2017.

Elhuni, who wears a hijab, was detained last summer by the U.S. Border Patrol at a checkpoint in Woodstock, N.H., for exercising her right to remain silent when an agent asked her questions about her citizenship.

The next Mudroom session of storytelling at Lebanon’s AVA Gallery and Art Center is on Thursday night at 7, with six raconteurs holding forth on the subject of “Under the Influence.” Admission is $20 at the door; advance tickets cost $7.50 for AVA members and $10 for others. To learn more, visit

And on the final two Saturdays of March, the Vermont Folklife Center will host workshops in White River Junction on interviewing people for oral history projects, and on “Storytelling for Social Change.”

The introductory workshop on oral histories will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 23 at the Center for Cartoon Studies. The storytelling workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 30 at Northern Stage. Tuition for each workshop costs $55 for students and $95 for the general public. To register and learn more, visit or call 802-388-4964.

Spoken words

The Vermont Humanities Council’s Vermont Reads Series resumes on Saturday morning at 10, with Marlboro College philosophy professor Will Edelglass speaking at the Quechee Library on “The History of the Concept of Race.”

And on April 15, the series of presentations at the Quechee Library will conclude with Center for Cartoon Studies co-founder James Sturm talking about graphic novels, including his own, recently released Off Season.

■The Norwich Bookstore resumes its series of readings by authors on March 20 at 7 p.m. with Diane Les Becquets sharing excerpts from her new novel The Last Woman in the Forest. While set in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, the story is based on the series of murders of six women, in the 1980s, along the Connecticut River in New Hampshire and Vermont.

And on March 27 at 7 p.m., University of Vermont English professor Emily Bernard reads from her collection of essays Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time and Mine.

While admission is free to both events, the bookstore recommends calling 802-649-1114 to reserve one of the limited seats available.

David Corriveau can be reached at and at 603-727-3304.

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