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April 2, 2013
International storyteller to visit HCC campus, April 18
WELDON, N.C. – Multiple award-winning professional storyteller, author and educator Donna Washington will make a presentation to the Halifax Community College (HCC) campus and community starting at 11 a.m., April 18 at The Centre at HCC. Her vocal pyrotechnics, elastic face and dynamic physicality make her stories come to life. The HCC Early Childhood Club will host the event, which is free and open to the public.

Washington was born an army brat in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She traveled all over the world with her parents. Her father would sit at the dinner table and spin the wildest yarns imaginable. He taught her Arthurian Legend and Greek Mythology by telling the stories in the first person. She thought he had actually been with Merlin and Oedipus. She thought he was thousands of years old. Washington spent from second to sixth grade in Seoul, Korea. It was during these years that her parents adopted three Amerasian children. Through it all, she learned about different people, places and of course, learned their stories.

Washington attended Northwestern University and was involved with numerous theatrical productions. It was at this time that storytelling reemerged as something she wanted to learn more about. In the four years she was there, she began to make storytelling a central part of her performance life.

Her first recording work was done with Warren Coleman Productions. She provided the talent on a storytelling tape that was so successful for Children's Press that the tape was used to make four wordless picture books. It was at this time that Washington began writing books. Her first writing project was an anthology. "A Pride of African Tales" was released in December 2003. Award winning illustrator, James Ransome provided the lush watercolor pictures for the book. It received rave reviews from the American Library Association (ALA) Booklist and the School Library Journal. "Pride" was nominated for the Pennsylvania 2005-2006 Young Reader's Choice Award. Washington’s second book, "The Story of Kwanzaa," has been in print for 11 years. It is a wonderful primer for kids about the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa. Washington's third book, "A Big Spooky House," is a wonderful book to read aloud at Halloween. Her next book will be titled "Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa" and will be published by HarperCollins Children's Books.

Washington is also a multiple award-winning recording artist. She received a 2002 Parent's Choice Award for her first independent recording, "Live and Learn: The Exploding Frog and Other Stories." The October 2004 edition of the ALA Booklist gave Washington's second CD, "A Little Shiver" a recommended review. It also won the 2004 Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award and 2005 Storytelling World Honors. Her third CD, "Fun, Foolery, and Folktales" also won the 2004 Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award and a 2006 Storytelling World Honors. Her fourth CD, "The Sword and The Rose" won an iParenting Media 2005 Excellent Product Award, a 2005 Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award and a 2006 Storytelling World Award. All of her CDs won 2005 Children's Music Web Awards. Washington's fifth CD, "Angels' Laughter" was released in May 2006.

Washington has performed at thousands of schools and libraries and numerous storytelling festivals throughout the country. She has also been featured at numerous storytelling festivals including the 2004 National Storytelling Festival, The Illinois Storytelling Festival, The Three Rivers Festival, The St. Louis Storytelling Festival, The N.C. StoryFest, The Corn Island and Cave Run Festivals in Kentucky, and the Broward County Children's and Ocala Storytelling Festivals in Florida—just to name a few.

She also offers workshops in storytelling, writing, education and creative drama for librarians and educators as well. Some of her recent workshop venues include the National Storytellers Conference, Forsyth School Media Association, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Carolina Library Association Conference, Virginia Library Association Conference, Georgia Council of Media Organizations Conference, South Carolina Library Association Conference, National Storytelling Conference, International Reading Association Conference, Mary Lois Staton Conference at East Carolina University, and she has been the keynote speaker and presenter at the North Carolina Elementary Educators Conference, among others.

For more information on the 2013 HCC Lyceum Series of Special Events, visit http://www.halifaxcc.edu/lyceum/. This event is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education PBI Formula Grant.
Donna Washington
Donna Washington
Halifax Community College’s Mission
Halifax Community College strives to meet the diverse needs of our community by providing high-quality, accessible and affordable education and services for a rapidly changing and globally competitive marketplace.
Primary Media Contact: Melanie Temple, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, templem@halifaxcc.edu, 252-538-4319

Secondary Media Contact: Dr. Dianne Rhoades, Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Halifax Community College and Interim Executive Director of the Halifax Community College Foundation Inc., rhoadesd@halifaxcc.edu, 252-536-7239