Regional author returns to Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Puppeteer, workshop leader and author Marilyn Kinsella from Southern Illinois is glad to be back at this year's Storytelling Festival in Cape Girardeau. The festival will be April 9, 10 and 11.

The lifelong resident of Fairview Heights, Ill. and former teacher came to the first Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival in 2008 as a regional teller.

"The town really came all out for the festival," she said. "There was a spirit that filled the tents."

A job prevented her from coming last year, but as she says, "I'm delighted to be back."

Kinsella, who taught at several schools in St. Clair County, Ill., started telling stories in 1981 as a classroom teacher.

"I had always wanted to have something special that I could bring to the classroom," she said. "Other teachers could play music or have great art project or direct plays. I was able to not only tell stories but find ways to incorporate parts of the story into the lessons I taught."

One of those stories and the lessons is published in "The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum." When her teaching job was eliminated, Kinsella began working at the Edwardsville Public Library as its storyteller in residence. Since 2002, Kinsella has been telling stories full time.

"I started out by telling folk tales ... and they still are my favorite story to tell," she said. "They are easy to learn, have great characters open for interpretation, usually have a moral, and they have been around for thousands of years ... so there must be something that speaks to the human heart when they are told."

Her favorite stories to write are her personal experience stories about growing up in Southern Illinois.

"I take my listeners on a nostalgic ride full of a gamut of emotions," said Kinsella, who mainly tells in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. "Then, at the end, I let the story wrap up what was just told with a deeper universal truth. I tell these stories differently than folk tales. These are more conversational with observational humor."

More information about Kinsella can be found at

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