Windham returns to storytelling festival

Published 11:30 pm Saturday, January 24, 2009

If you said that Kathryn Tucker Windham is a living legend, she wouldn’t like that one bit.

If you said anything less, it would be an understatement.

Kathryn Windham is Alabama’s own storyteller and she is also one of the most well-known, most-love and most-sought after storytellers in the country.

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That she’s coming back to the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival this weekend is exciting to a lot of people who have grown up knowing the 90-year-old “legend,” said Johnny Steed, a member of the sponsoring Brundidge Historical Society’s storytelling committee.

“Kathryn Windham reminds us of our grandmothers or a favorite aunt,” Steed said. “When she’s on stage it’s like she is having a conversation with the audience. She’ll be in the middle of a story and get tickled with something she says and it will remind her of something else and she’ll start talking about it.

“Mrs. Windham has a fantastic memory and has lived such an interesting life and experienced so many things. She shares her memories in a Southern voice that is familiar to all of us. Everyone has great respect for her for what she’s accomplished. It’s a great honor to have her back at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival. Kathryn Tucker Windham is a treasure.”

Sara Bowden, a member of the Brundidge Historical Society, said Windham has the ability to hold an audience spellbound.

“Her storytelling ability is superb,” she said. “People just want to hear what she has to say. She has that wonderful Southern voice that just pulls you into the story. Her stories are nostalgic and sad and humorous and it’s the manner in which she tells them that is so enjoyable. She is a master storyteller and an amazing person.”

Bowden said some people come to the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival just to hear Windham.

“But they also get to hear the other really great storytellers and they get hooked on storytelling,” she said.

In addition to her notoriety as a storyteller, Windham is an award-winning journalist and photographer. She has written several books, include a widely popular cookbook and a series of “true” ghost stories based on local folklore, beginning with “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey.”

Jeffrey is the “friendly ghost” that took up residence inside the Windham home.

Windham is the founder of the Alabama Tale Tellin’ Festival in Selma and continues to be a hot ticket on the storytelling circuit. Her stories and commentaries can be heard on Friday mornings during Morning Edition of Alabama Public Radio. Kathryn Tucker Windham will be one of four nationally acclaimed storytellers at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival on Jan. 30 and 31. Joining her will be Donald Davis, Carmen Agra Deedy and Bil Lepp. Aleta Davis of Montgomery will join them on stage for the Saturday night concert. Tickets are available for the Saturday morning and night concerts. The Friday night and Saturday afternoon concerts are sold out. For tickets call 334-735-3125 or 735-3675 (night).