About the National Storytelling Network

National Storytelling Network is a membership organization advancing all forms within the storytelling community through promotion, advocacy and education.

A world in which all people value the power of storytelling and its ability to connect, inspire, and instill respect within our hearts and communities.

Responsive Innovation: Continuous adaptation of our work in response to changing and community needs.
Cultural Awareness and Engagement: Sensitivity and respect for diverse individuals and communities
Inclusion: Advancement of equity by elevating underrepresented voices.
Collaboration: Employing the power of storytelling as a way to support the missions of our partnering organizations.
Integrity: We act with transparency, honesty and sincerity.

NSN Regions

Pacific - Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii

Western - Idaho, Utah, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming

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

South Central - Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana

MidAtlantic - Metro NYC, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, District of Columbia

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

Southeast - Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky


Our History

Stories began not long after people first learned to speak.


This organization of storytellers began when many people had forgotten what it was like to hear a story. On a crisp October day in 1975, in a small town in Tennessee, people gathered to hear and to tell stories, then take them back to their own communities. Kathryn Windham, a journalist and storyteller, slapped down $5 and said, “We need a membership organization, and I’m the first member.”


Kathryn was the first of many members who formed our organization, initially named the National Association for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Storytelling. The early efforts of NAPPS centered on producing that annual festival. But, the members quickly expanded their scope. They created festivals and events all over the country. Storytelling spread to schools, libraries, national and state parks, corporations and non-profits, churches and places of physical and psychic healing, coffee shops and nightspots.


The National Storytelling Network is now a fifty-state community of storytellers who bring storytelling into diverse settings across the United States. The National Storytelling Conference is NSN’s vehicle for bringing this national community together once a year. Like our members, the conference moves about the country, providing an array of workshops for new initiates and longtime storytellers to network and hone their skills. Today, 1,600 individuals and affiliated organizations comprise the National Storytelling Network.


NSN has recently relocated to the more central location of Kansas City, Missouri. Our new home facilitates member engagement and allows us to develop synergies that will further NSN’s national presence within arts communities at all levels. The burgeoning, vibrant arts center of Kansas City offers us an important partnership with the award-winning Mid-Continent Library System, and its newly founded Story Center.


This move expands NSN’s reach, as it continues to support many festivals, offers grants, and fosters the growth of storytelling in education, organizations, healing arts, and beyond, with new venues and new audiences. Our creative and innovative members are the bedrock of our organization, sharing their wisdom and expertise, encouraging excellence, and exploring new and creative paths in storytelling. We believe in the transformative power of story. We value diversity. We are the National Storytelling Network: We grow storytellers.