Michael D. McCarty

As a child in Chicago my Mother told and read me stories and imprinted in my mind the joy and power of reading. “If you can read you can do anything!” she reminded me constantly.

While in high school in the 60’s I began telling stories of Africa and African-American history. Later, I told stories to my daughter as she grew up. She even listened to my stories when she was a teenager!

In 1992, in Los Angeles, I was introduced to professional storyteller Joel ben Izzy. I was amazed to hear that there were people who made a living telling stories. I vowed that I would join their ranks and that my motto would be, “Have mouth, Will run it!”

A week or two later I asked myself what I would do as a profession if I was independently wealthy. “Tell stories” was the answer. So I went out and had business cards printed up and began gathering folk tales from different countries at my local library.

One day the Young Adult librarian asked if I was writing a paper. When I informed him that I was a Storyteller he asked if I could give a workshop to a group of kids who wanted to learn storytelling. And, remembering my Mother’s words, I replied, “Of course.”

The workshop was a success and I’ve been running my mouth around the country and around the world ever since.

And that’s the end of that!

Awards and Grants

  • Public Corporation of the Arts Grant (Long Beach, CA) 1994 -1999
  • Candlelight Award for Sharing Hope 1998 (South Africa)
  • National Storytelling Network’s 2003 Leadership & Service Award (Pacific Region)

Professional Associations

  • The GRIOT Workshop (Director)
  • National Storytelling Network (NSN)
  • Community Storytellers
  • National Association of Black Storytellers
  • Dreamshapers Arts Organization (VP)
  • LARP Literacy Council (VP)


  • Midwest Center for the Study of Oriental Medicine
  • Doug Lipman’s Storytellers Workshop