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The storytelling tradition has long been an important piece of Kentucky history and culture. Folktales, legends, tall tales, and ghost stories hold a special place in the imaginations of inventive storytellers and captive listeners. In Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies Kentucky storyteller Mary Hamilton narrates a range of stories with the voice and creativity only a master storyteller can evoke.
Hamilton has perfected the art of entrancing an audience no matter the subject of her tales. Kentucky Folktales includes stories about Daniel Boone’s ability to single-handedly kill a bear, a daughter who saves her father’s land by outsmarting the king, and a girl who uses gingerbread to exact revenge on her evil stepmother, among many others. Hamilton ends each story with personal notes on important details of her storytelling craft, such as where she first heard the story, how it evolved through frequent re-tellings and reactions from audiences, and where the stories take place. Featuring tales and legends from all over the Bluegrass State, Kentucky Folktales captures the expression of Kentucky’s storytelling tradition.
Mary Hamilton, a professional storyteller since 1983, frequently performs at local, regional, and national storytelling festivals as well as conducts storytelling workshops around the country. In 2009 she received the Circle of Excellence Oracle Award from the National Storytelling Network.
"This book functions on two levels...great stories which will be fun for the casual reader…along with in depth notes showing how a contemporary storyteller…Mary Hamilton…shapes a tale for telling. Lovers of story will find a lot to delight them in this book. And Kentucky story lovers will just want to grab it and take it home with them to keep!"—Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald, author of Ten Traditional Tellers
“Mary Hamilton has given us a fascinating tour of the heart and mind of a contemporary storyteller, weaving together her tales, their sources, and the fabric of her life in which each tale has its lovingly embroidered place.”—Joseph D. Sobol, Ph.D., author, The Storytellers’ Journey: An American Revival
"This book is a goldmine. If you are looking for Kentucky stories, you will find some amazing ones here. If you want to know about how stories were collected in Kentucky, you can learn a lot here. If you want to learn more about the development and process of a brilliant storyteller, you need look no further. Mary Hamilton does Kentucky proud!"—Elizabeth Ellis, Kentucky born storyteller
"Hamilton's book is lively, convincing, unforgettable. This is a book tellers will read again and again, so rich and vivid is its approach."—Jo Radner, Past President, National Storytelling Network
"Lovers of story will find a lot to delight them in this book. And Kentucky story lovers will just want to grab it and take it home with them to keep!" --Margaret Read MacDonald, author of Ten Traditional Tellers
"Mary Hamilton has given us a fascinating tour of the heart and mind of a contemporary storyteller, weaving together her tales, their sources, and the fabric of her life in which each tale has its lovingly embroidered place." --Joseph D. Sobul, author of The Storytellers' Journey: An American Revival
"This book is a goldmine...Mary Hamilton does Kentucky proud!" --Elizabeth Ellis, recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award for the National Storytelling Association
“An entertaining collection of folktales and folklore that will remind all who read it of the value of storytelling to the human imagination. It will encourage readers to explore the lore of their own communities, no matter how near to or far from Kentucky.”--Library Journal
"Even before opening Mary Hamilton's ode to storytelling, the rustcolored cover, adorned with a rocking chair and the kind of rustic text that might be carved in a tree, invites the reader into a world of oral traditions shared among Kentuckians for years before being captured on the page. . . . Her diligent notes increase the collection's quality, ensuring many hours enjoyed in the chair of your choice."--Appalachian Voices
"A well-documented, lively, informative book and is a major contribution to regional folklore."--Louisville Courier-Journal
"Mary Hamilton has given us not only a glorious collection of dazzling tales...but also an inspiring model of how a truly professional storyteller works."--Storytelling Magazine
"With imagination and a joy of communicating, [Hamilton's] book is informative without becoming didactic. It is a well-documented, lively, informative book and is a major contribution to regional folklore."--Louisville Courier-Journal
"An absolute joy. . . . This is the perfect book for bedtime reading."--Tucson Citizen
"Hamilton's first book--a collection of tales and her commentary on each one--is a must-have for anyone considering telling a good tale. And for those of us who mostly sit and listen, Kentucky Folktales provides some really good stories along with a little peek behind the scenes at the mind who tells them."--"Around Cincinnati," WVXU
Winner of a 2013 Storytelling World Resource Award for best storytelling collection.
Winner of the Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award
Hamilton entrances the audience...[and] narrates a range of stories with the voice and creativity only a master storyteller can evoke. -- News-Express Weekend
[. . .] With each story in her text [. . .] the author provides such excellent context and commentary that the reader comes to understand the story in its told form and also in its backstory. [. . .] Hamilton’s voice throughout is that of a storyteller [. . .] [A]fter reading a few pages, most readers will find both her voice and her stories about storytelling captivating. -- Indiana Magazine of History
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Tales, Storytelling, Kentucky
Hamilton, Mary, "Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies" (2012). Folklore. 13.