‘Affrilachian Tales’ author to give four talks in ToledoWritten by Paige Shermis | | email@example.com
Lyn Ford, a storyteller, published author and self-described teller of “home-fried tales” of Affrilachian roots, will give four presentations in Toledo in June.
“The word ‘Affrilachian’ was created by Frank X. Walker, and it means an African-American Appalachian,” Ford said. “[Walker] is a professor at the University of Kentucky, and the word is now in the Oxford English Dictionary and the Appalachian Folk Encyclopedia. The tradition is rooted in a combination of folktales that began in both Africa and Europe, and the British Isles.”
Ford has been exposed to fantastical stories and tall tales since childhood, she said.
“It was just routinely what folks did in my family. Then, my children kindly volunteered me in their classrooms [to tell stories] in their elementary schools, and that was how my career got started,” she said.
In the fall of 2012, Ford published her first book, “Affrilachian Tales: Folktales from the African-American Appalachian Tradition.” So far, the book has won several awards, and Ford will accept the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Conference in Richmond, Va., in August.
“['Affrilachian Tales' is] a combination of both personal stories about growing up as an African-American Appalachian, and the folktales. Most of them are from my father or my grandfather, my mother’s father,” Ford said.
Ford’s talks will be held 2-3 p.m. June 25 in the Lagrange branch meeting room (with advance registration required for groups of six or more), 67:30-7:30 p.m. June 25 in the Toledo Heights branch upstairs meeting room, 1:30-2:30 p.m. June 26 at the Main library’s McMaster Center (for grades K-5) and 4-5 p.m. June 26 at the Maumee branch auditorium.
For all four talks, Ford plans to share her folktales for a family audience, she said. Additionally, the audience will have an active role in the presentations.
“There’s a lot of humor involved in them, and a lot of interaction. The audience actually participates in the storytelling. There might be a choral response or a little hand motion, a little rhythm,” Ford said.
The difference between the talk aimed for children in grades K-5 and those for all ages is slim, Ford said.
“Usually, I can flex the K-5 stories so they are more physically active than those for the whole family audience. But, I try to get people involved no matter what age they are, because you’re never too old to play,” Ford said.
Brigid Fall, a librarian at the Toledo Heights branch, is responsible for bringing Ford to the Toledo area.
“I have been a member of OOPS (the Ohio Order for the Preservation of Storytelling) for many years, and Lyn has been too,” Fall said. “We worked together on the board of directors for OOPS for a few years. Last year I went to a conference and I heard Lyn tell again. I know she tells stories for kids, as well as stories for adults, so I thought she would be a good person to have to share these arts with us. She knows how to work with people and for an audience.”
Ford’s talks are part of a larger series funded by the Library Legacy Foundation with support from Directions Credit Union, said Rhonda Sewell, media relations coordinator for Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
For more information, visit www.storytellerlynford.com.