State Artist Rosemary Catacalos
Rosemary Catacalos, 2013 Texas State Poet Laureate, was accidentally born in Florida during WWII of parents from San Antonio. She returned to San Antonio when she was three. Her poems are widely published in high school and college textbooks, among other venues. Her work has twice been collected in the annual Best American Poetry anthology and has earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Stegner Fellowship Program at Stanford University, and the Paisano Fellowship of the Texas Institute of Letters/University of Texas at Austin. One of her poems is included in Caroline Kennedy’s anthology, She Walks In Beauty, A Woman’s Journey Through Poems. Ms. Catacalos’ first full-length collection, Again for the First Time received the 1985 Texas Institute of Letters poetry prize. Again for the First Time was reissued in 2013 on its thirtieth anniversary. Also published in 2013 was a chapbook of newer poems, Begin Here, also from Wings Press.
1018 Avant Ave
San Antonio, TX 78210
public performance/concert $700 - $3000
school performance $300 - $700
optional service workshop fees negotiable $ - $
Sarah Cortez, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, has had hundreds of poems, essays, and short stories published and anthologized. Winner of the PEN Texas Literary Award in poetry, her debut poetry collection is entitled "How to Undress a Cop." An award-winning editor of six anthologies, her most recent is "Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence." Texas Review Press recently published her memoir, "Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston," and her second poetry collection, "Cold Blue Steel." She lives, works, and runs a thriving freelance editing business in Houston, Texas, where she is Houston's most popular writing teacher. Programs include Aliens, Beasts, Creatures: The ABCs of Writing Imaginary Critters- specific exercises make it quick and fun to create imaginary critters (ages 10 to adult). With Let's Find A Poem, participants enjoy a stroll while creating a found poem (ages 8 to 15). The Power and Pizazz of Personal Story leads participants in writing special stories from their own lives (teens-adults). How To Begin Writing My Memoir teaches the basics of memoir writing to keep you focused (teens-adults.) Sarah also gives poetry readings for teens-adults.
2505 Driscoll Street
Houston, TX 77019-0676
public performance/concert $380 - $1275
school performance $380 - $1275
optional service half-day workshop $730 - $1525
optional service full-day workshop $940 - $1735
John R. Erickson, a former cowboy and ranch manager, is gifted with a storyteller's knack for spinning a yarn. He has written more than eighty books and is best known for his Hank the Cowdog series of books and audios, which has sold more than eight million copies. Erickson self-published the first Hank book through Maverick Books. Erickson was born in Midland, Texas, but by the age of 3, he had moved with his family to Perryton, Texas, where he and his wife live today on their working cattle ranch. In live performance, John Erickson brings the characters from his bestselling Hank the Cowdog series to life through readings from his books and by performing original songs from Hank’s adventures. More than eight million books have been sold! This program is great for all ages and is sure to bring a smile to any audience.
Perryton, TX 79070
public performance/concert $1000 - $4000
school performance $1000 - $4000
Chris Espinosa is a published author who despised writing as a child. Lackluster language arts lessons in elementary school stifled Espinosa’s creativity and destroyed any desire for writing. Later he discovered how the interactive nature of improvisation motivated him to write... and enjoy it! This revelation prompted him to develop Dynalogues!, an improvisational writing presentation. His energetic and humorous methods inject excitement into the writing process. Today, his mesmerizing performances inspire young writers to take control of any idea and create colorful chronicles. Espinosa's dynamic writing experience empowers students with the confidence to write. Improvisation and storytelling techniques inspire small writing groups as they collaborate on a rough draft for an original narrative or expository essay. Students also engage in dynamic lessons designed to help develop ideas, voice, and word choice. Everyone, especially the reluctant writers, discover that writing is exciting and can be simply defined by one rule: “If you can THINK it, you can INK it.”
2104 Old York Dr.
Keller, TX 76248
public performance/concert $125 - $650
school performance $400 - $950
optional service residency services $1650 - $3250
State Artist Laurie Ann Guerrero
Laurie Ann Guerrero, 2016 Texas State Poet Laureate, was born and raised in the Southside of San Antonio. She holds a B.A. in English Language & Literature from Smith College, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize, and an MFA in poetry from Drew University. Her first full-length collection, A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying, received the 2012 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and an International Latino Book Award, and was listed as one of 14 must-read works of Chicano literature by Rigoberto Gonzalez. Guerrero’s work has also been honored with the Panhandler Chapbook Award, and grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. In 2014, Guerrero and was appointed poet laureate of San Antonio by Mayor Julian Castro. Her latest collection, A Crown for Gumecindo, was released by Aztlan Libre Press in spring 2015.
Actress and zany comedian Martha Hannah performs as Maid Martha, Medieval Comedienne & Stand-Up Historian in "Tudors & Fleas & To Be or Not to Be," making the Middle Ages and Renaissance come alive! Her hilarious, irreverent look at village life and the Tudor reign is a unique show of medieval jokes, songs, ghost stories, multimedia, and audience participation, accompanied by recorded and live period music. Projected medieval images and art along with "The Ghost of Hampton Court" book illustrations on a stage set with Medieval banners complete the look of the production. With over twenty-six years' experience on many arts commissions' touring rosters, Martha's hilarity and charm evokes enthusiasm, laughter, and such glowing accolades as "Our audience was charmed by her genuine personality and delightful mischief!" and "She is a delight on and off stage!"
PO Box 90834
Austin, TX 78709
public performance/concert $1200 - $4000
school performance $600 - $2500
optional service author visit The Ghost of Hampton Court & Henry VIII $500 - $1200
History In Person
Recipient of the 2008 Texas Council for the Social Studies "Friend of Social Studies Education" award, Bill Perryman is known throughout Texas for his historical portrayals of heroic figures in Texas and American history. Now in its seventeenth year, History In Person continues to inspire young audiences. An award-winning teacher, Mr. Perryman holds a master's degree in elementary education from Texas State University, administrator/mid-management certification from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and has earned graduate studies coursework hours in historical research through the University of Virginia. Mr. Perryman is co-author of the newly published children's book, "From Lanterns to Liberty - The Story of Midnight Rider Paul Revere." Each forty-minute school performance by Mr. Perryman features an historical portrayal of a pivotal character in American history augmented by music, sound effects, archival images, and maps to create a multi-sensory experience. Programs include: Adventure on the Underground Railroad- The Stories of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman; Benjamin Franklin; Sam Houston; Thomas Jefferson; Meriwether Lewis; Abraham Lincoln; Paul Revere; George Washington; and William B. Travis at the Alamo - 1836!
17314 Sable Landing
San Antonio, TX 78232
school performance $500 - $1500
For almost 20 years, Donna Ingham has taken the ancient art of storytelling and given it a Texas twist. A college English professor in her former life and the author of six books, she creates finely crafted stories from history, folklore, and her own personal experiences. And although she did not set out to be a liar, she has been named the Biggest Liar in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and, yes, the whole state of Texas. Her stories reflect her native roots in the Lone Star State, and she chooses appropriate tales for all ages and stages. Donna will continue to expand her "Tall Tales and True" touring program, adding original lies that have now won her seven titles as the "Biggest Liar in Austin" and other stories that reflect the humor, history, and traditional folklore of the Lone Star State. She has begun to complement the stories with music as well. A flexible well-received program for all ages, it allows for multicultural elements and geographic scope.
1025 Coventry Road
Spicewood, TX 78669
public performance/concert $600 - $1200
school performance $450 - $900
optional service festivals $1500 - $3000
optional service after-dinner speaking $500 - $1000
Mary Grace Ketner
Once upon a time, Mary Grace Ketner worked as a teacher, then a director of religious education, and finally a museum educational specialist, but along the way, (I cannot say when) this goal-oriented M.Ed discovered storytelling, and off she went on a quest! She authored one children’s book (Ganzy Remembers, Atheneum 1991) and recorded two award-winning story CDs ("Ghostly Gals and Spirited Women" and "1001 Years of 1001 Nights," Three Swans Productions 2008 and 2010). A recent recipient of Tejas Storytelling Association’s prestigious John Henry Faulk Award, Mary Grace has been a member of the Texas Touring Roster since 2008. From Ali Baba to Baba Yaga, La Llorona to Jack, storyteller Mary Grace Ketner brings traditional folktales, fairy tales and legends to life. Her engaging story programs circle the globe, finding common ground in humor, love, courage, wisdom and-- yes!-- horror while affirming family and community values. Her interactive programs for schoolchildren stimulate higher level thinking skills as described in the TEKS and reflect each grade’s scope and sequence as well as its essential knowledge objectives.
Mary Grace Ketner
109 Fir Street
San Antonio, TX 78210
public performance/concert $250 - $1000
school performance $350 - $1000
optional service keynote address $750 - $2000
optional service after dinner speaking (storytelling) $250 - $600
A first generation Irish-American, Tom travels the US as a storyteller, guitarist, theremin player, percussionist, and virtuoso ukulelist at festivals, conferences, and schools. He addresses comparative cultural studies, character education, memoir, problem solving, and creative writing. A John Henry Faulk Award recipient for storytelling, Tom accompanies his original stories, adapted folktales and Texas lore with humor, participation, and music to create an unparalleled experience for all ages. Tom was the US performer at the 2012 International Storytelling Festival in Sneem, Ireland. His children’s books include "Otis Steele and the Taileebone: A Southern Tall Tale" (Pelican, 2013) and "The Ghouls Come Haunting One by One" (Pelican, 2010). Programs for elementary and middle schools include: "Please Make Me Care– Stories to Make Life Interesting" (folktales, original and personal stories with music and humor, illustrating how stories make us and make us interesting: pre-K – 6th grades), "Sometimes You Gotta Mess With People" (trickster tales, ghost stories, Irish folklore, and historical tales of trickery and lessons learned: 5th – 9th grades), and "Cooperation Garden Time" (global tales of cooperation, bully prevention, and paying attention: pre-K - 5th grades).
PO Box 470593
Fort Worth, TX 76107
public performance/concert $450 - $1500
school performance $450 - $1000
State Artist Karla Morton
Karla K. Morton, 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, is an award-winning author and a celebrated poet and presenter. She has been described as “one of the more adventurous voices in American poetry,” but don’t let the title “poet” fool you– Karla is an outgoing, warm and energetic ball of fire that loves to promote poetry and the arts. She has spoken, offered workshops, and performed her poetry at venues and events across Texas. From small town classrooms to cancer support groups to large corporate conferences, Karla is comfortable in any crowd. Her poetry spans many subjects and forms and evokes laughter, tears, and inspiration. Karla is the author of Wee Cowrin' Timorous Beastie (a North Texas Book Festival Awards Finalist), Becoming Superman, Stirring Goldfish, Redefining Beauty (a 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award Winner written during her journey through cancer), and 6 additional books. She has been featured on Good Morning Texas, NPR, ABC News and in newspapers across Texas. A Texas native and mother of two, Karla is a graduate of Texas A&M University and currently resides in Denton, Texas. Karla also offers presentations on her photography.
236 River Bend Trail
Combine, TX 75159
phone 972/330-2882 or 817-236-6075
public performance/concert $400 - $1200
school performance $400 - $600
optional service workshops $400 - $1200
State Artist David M. Parsons
David M. Parsons, 2011 Texas State Poet Laureate, poems are straightforward, vivid writing bringing settings alive, shaping intimate portrayals of everyday life. His poetry speaks from the past and the present, balancing ordinary and extraordinary experiences. Audiences and readers will find in his most celebrated work: award-winning poems found in as diverse locales as a romantic, historic house in England to another favorite about the poet running into President Lyndon Johnson in an iconic Austin restaurant. His latest works are also included with new revelations that will bring what has become a Parsons Poem trademark, the rewarding discovery of a transforming moment. Award-winning poetry critic Ange Mlinko writes of Parsons and his work, “It is deeply informed by English and American literature. There is no artificial barrier between art and life, love and intellect. The Renaissance man was once a courtly ideal; Parsons shows that it is a democratic ideal too—warm-blooded, muscular, as companionable on the page as in the flesh.” Both tangible and cerebral, Parsons’s poetry lifts its readers into a new, transformational reality with a depth of insight that is truly exceptional. Institute of Letters in 2009. Though his performances are appropriate for any venue, he is particularly interested in providing programs for high school teachers on how to conduct successful Creative Writing Workshops and Poetry Workshops for students and veterans.
414 Oakhill Dr.
Conroe, TX 77304
public performance/concert $500 - $1000
school performance $300 - $500
optional service workshops (one to two hours) $300 - $500
Writer and multidisciplinary artist Sehba Sarwar was born in Karachi, Pakistan and is based in Houston, where she has recreated a community similar to the one where she was raised, filled with artists and activists. Sarwar’s writings and art have appeared in publications including the Houston Chronicle, The New York Times’ Sunday Magazine, and Callaloo. Her videos have been screened in Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Pakistan and the US. A recipient of three Houston Arts Alliance’s Individual Artist Awards, Sarwar served as Artist-in-Residence for the Mitchell Center for the Arts/University of Houston in 2012-14. Sarwar has a wide range of art that she can tour: literary reading, performance with images and/or objects, video screenings, art and/or writing workshops, site-specific installations and public talks. The content of the work she creates addresses women’s issues and displacement (migration, immigration and border crossings). Currently, Sarwar is working on a prose manuscript called "What Is Home?" that tackles these issues; she is presenting writings and art from new material that she is generating. Photo: Mahwash Rahman.
6411 Jefferson Street
Houston, TX 77023
public performance/concert $200 - $1000
school performance $200 - $1000
optional service installation/video $250 - $1000
State Artist Jan Seale
Jan Epton Seale, 2012 Texas Poet Laureate, is a native Texan. She is familiar with much of Texas, having lived in north and central Texas as a youth, with summers spent in the Panhandle, and living in South Texas all of her adult life. Seale received her education at Baylor University, the University of Louisville, and the University of North Texas. She has taught English and creative writing at three Texas universities. Her life’s work includes eight books of poetry, two of short fiction, three of nonfiction, and several children’s books and dramas. Apparent in her writing is her interest in the people and places of Texas, as well as those of the Southwest and the wider world. Her short stories have been described as a “capable evocation of peculiar personalities” with a “sense of nostalgia and richly drawn places”…“all ending in epiphany.” Her poems are said to be “both beautifully witty and serious.” Seale is at home with many types of audiences. She particularly enjoys college groups, civic and writers’ organizations, nature lovers, elder learners, women, and church lay-groups. Comfortable on stage or in small gatherings, with sensitivity to and rapport with her audiences, her presentations are noted for their humor and accessibility. Seale is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, the Texas Folklore Society, the Poetry Society of Texas, the Story Circle Network, and the Texas Writers’ League.
400 Sycamore Ave.
McAllen, TX 78501
public performance/concert $300 - $500
school performance $100 - $200
optional service daylong workshops: negotiable $ - $
Ire'ne Lara Silva
Ire'ne Lara Silva is the author of furia (poetry, Mouthfeel Press, 2010) which received an Honorable Mention for the 2011 International Latino Book Award and flesh to bone (short stories, Aunt Lute Books, 2013) which won the 2013 Premio Aztlan. Her most recent collection of poetry is Blood Sugar Canto (Saddle Road Press, January 2016). ire’ne is the recipient of the 2014 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award, and the 2008 recipient of the Gloria Anzaldua Milagro Award, as well as a Macondo Workshop member and CantoMundo Inaugural Fellow. ire’ne will be reading from her work, including her three published books, furia, flesh to bone, and Blood Sugar Canto, and using those texts to engage audiences in far-ranging discussions about family, trauma, grief, violence, our bodies, the Texas-Mexico border and its folklore, diabetes and illness, indigenous/Latino culture and history, the importance of artistic expression, and healing of all kinds—physical, emotional, and communal. Groups of diverse ages and backgrounds have responded emotionally and enthusiastically.
Ire'ne Lara Silva
2502 E. Oltorf St. #1527
Austin, TX 78741
public performance/concert $250 - $2000
school performance $250 - $2000
optional service manuscript consultations/per individual $50 - $600
Toni Simmons is a dynamic storyteller and author who brings her multicultural stories to life with audience participation, rhythms, chants, and movements. Her book "The Cheese Chase: Why Dogs Chase Cats," is the winner of an IParenting Media Award and her video won the Parents' Choice Award. Toni's background includes work as a children's librarian, drama teacher, and actress. She has been featured at many festivals throughout the United States. She has performed at the National Storytelling Festival's Exchange Place and in South Africa, Germany, and Mexico. Toni was designated an NEA American Masterpiece touring artist. Her multicultural storytelling programs use rhythms, songs, and movements to enhance a variety of age-appropriate folktales. These energetic sessions use creative dramatics and audience participation. The audience is taken on an imaginary story trip and is engaged by helping to tell the stories.
323 W. Beltline Road, # A 4
Cedar Hill, TX 75104
public performance/concert $350 - $1500
school performance $350 - $1500
State Artist Carmen Tafolla
Dr. Carmen Tafolla, 2015 Texas State Poet Laureate, is known internationally for her moving inspirational performances and heart-felt poetry readings. A poet, children’s writer, performance artist, storyteller, motivational speaker, and Associate Professor at UTSA, Tafolla was chosen in 2012 as the first Poet Laureate of the City of San Antonio. Her mission as State Poet Laureate is to plant seeds of poetry all over Texas through her “Poet Trees” initiative, sponsored by UTSA, in which twenty public schools with predominantly low-income student populations will be chosen to receive books and workshops free of charge between August 2015 and April 2016. Dr.Tafolla also conducts dramatic performances, keynotes, readings and workshops in English and Spanish to all age groups. The author of more than 20 books, her work appears internationally in five languages, in journals, magazines, newspapers, college textbooks, and elementary school readers, and she has won numerous awards including the Américas Award, the Charlotte Zolotow, the Art of Peace, two Tomas Rivera Book Awards, and five International Latino Book Awards.
A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Tim Tingle performs Native American stories for all ages, with music on his cedar flute and whaleskin drum. He has been a featured storyteller at festivals in forty-three states, including five appearances at the National Storytelling Festival. In June 2011, Tingle spoke at the Library of Congress and presented his first performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The author of twelve award-winning books, Tingle offers a variety of writing workshops. In 2012, Tingle was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters, an honor reserved for Texas’ most renowned authors. Tingle’s repertory of 400-plus stories includes, for elementary school ages: "Grandma Spider Brings the Fire;" "Coyote and the Rock," a hilarious Trickster tale; "The Bowl," a frightfully funny Navajo story; and (from Tingle’s books) "Crossing Bok Chitto" and "Danny Blackgoat." For young adults and adult audiences, Tim can perform stories such as: "La Llorona," "Trail of Tears," and (from Tingle’s books) "How I Became a Ghost," and "No Name." He also offers the full-length theater piece, "Clarence Carnes–Boarding School to Alcatraz."
4417 Morningside Way
Canyon Lake, TX 78133
public performance/concert $150 - $1000
school performance $550 - $950
optional service keynote $1200 - $1500
This professional performing artist and instructor has over 35 years of experience touring throughout the US and abroad. Melissa Waddy-Thibodeaux is sought after for historical performances which teach history, motivate, inspire, and promote literacy. She also works with incarcerated youth in Harris County teaching theatrics and historical re-enactment. Ms. Waddy-Thibodeaux is a co-author of "Places of the Underground Railroad" (Greenwood Press, 2010). One of her programs, "The Resurrection of Harriet Tubman in Escape to Freedom," travels worldwide, providing a historical account of this woman’s life story and showing how it relates to today. This national touring artist explores the lives of women in history and how their accomplishments made a difference in our country's history. Ms. Waddy-Thibodeaux portrays various women via costuming and theatrical storytelling techniques to teach US history. Harriet Tubman, Mrs. Rosa Parks, Ms. Lavinia Bell of Texas, "The Story of Bessie Coleman," and "The Buffalo Soldier Female Story" are all available for classroom and auditorium presentations, festivals, churches, libraries, and museums across the country.
PO Box 740606
Houston, TX 77274-0606
public performance/concert $650 - $1500
school performance $550 - $1100