The Art of Storytelling

The Art of Storytelling
We will begin with an overview of oral storytelling traditions, from Native American to Western African to Irish. We will read excerpts from Arabian Nights, and we’ll dabble in psychology. Contemporary readings include work by Amy Tan, Tracy K. Smith, and Carmen Maria Machado. We’ll watch videos of stories told live for The Moth, and we’ll discuss our own family lore. A five-minute story can span decades or a few seconds —we’ll discuss timeline, along with stakes, scene-setting, and perspective. The class culminates in a Story Slam: students craft and perform true stories from their lives, without notes. Grades are based on participation, written analyses, creative writing assignments, and the final presentation.

Molly Johnsen holds an MA from the Bread Loaf School of English, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. She works as Academic Coordinator for the English Department at Middlebury./
Course Reference Number (CRN):
Subject Code:
Course Number:
Section Identifier:


CRWR 1014

All Sections in Winter 2025

Winter 2025