Ruth Walkup, PhD
As a cultural anthropologist Ruth Walkup has been trading in stories for decades. Stories are the ‘currency’ of anthropology, the study of human cultures. Ruth has brought stories into her graduate-level teaching, into her work as a U.S. government civil servant and diplomat, and into her lecturing to various audiences around the world. But only recently has Ruth turned to telling her own stories, which she realizes she has been collecting all of her life. Ruth was born in Liberia and spent her childhood in Cameroon, Tunisia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the daughter of medical missionaries. Her Ph.D. research, her work in global health policy development, and her travel bug have taken her and her husband to many regions of the world. With a keen sense of observation and a desire to be a ‘translator’ of cultures and experiences, Ruth seeks to bring alive other worlds and other lives for the listeners of her stories.
Solveig Eggerz, a native of Iceland, is the author of the award-winning novel, Seal Woman, published by Unbridled Books. She teaches memoir and personal stories at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, and creative writing to incarcerated women in Northern Virginia with a non-profit organization, Heard. As a storyteller and writer, she uses storytelling as part of her writing process. Her essays and stories have appeared in publications such as The Delmarva Review, Palo Alto Review, The Northern Virginia Review. Her forthcoming novel is set in Iceland during World War II. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Catholic University.
Joyce Morgan Young
Joyce Morgan Young provided educational leadership for the children of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee for 44 years. She provided leadership, guidance, and vision to the systems’ principals, teachers and staff in the areas of curriculum and professional development. Joyce taught middle school, high school and college science before moving into school administration. During the 9 years of teaching and 35 years of school administration, she made numerous presentations. Through this, Joyce developed a love of storytelling as audiences seemed to more easily receive information that they could relate to previous experiences, both in and out of the school setting. In 1995, Joyce and two others worked to bring a storytelling event to their home town, LaGrange, Georgia. And thus, began the 22-year journey of the now nationally recognized Azalea Storytelling Festival, always held the first full weekend in March. Joyce and the other two founders of the festival were awarded the National Storytelling Association’s 1999 Leadership Award and the LaGrange Troup County Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Tourism Visionary Award.