Gioia Timpanelli

AcclaimedNovelist & Storyteller
American Book Award Winner


"Gioia Timpanelli's stories...are dreams...and these dreams, in the skill of their telling, lead us back to ourselves." —The Boston Globe

“No one in the world can tell a story better than Gioia Timpanelli.” 
—Frank McCourt


“She has the capacity to draw out the very depths of the power of myths and narrative and to take literature back to its sources before your eyes (and ears).” —Gary Snyder


Gioia Timpanelli is one of the founders of the worldwide revival of storytelling. Often called the "Dean of American Storytelling," she is today considered one of the world's foremost storytellers—widely respected as both a master and scholar of the ageless art. She won two Emmy Awards for her series of programs on storytelling, Stories from My House, on educational television, where she created, wrote, produced, and appeared in eight series of literature programs shown on PBS stations all over the United States. She has also received the prestigious Women's National Book Association Award for bringing the oral tradition to the American public and recently the Maharishi Award for "promoting world harmony wherever she goes by enlivening within the listener that field of pure consciousness that is the source of all stories." She received The 1999 American Book Award for Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily (W.W Norton).

She has performed her improvisational telling of ancient and modern stories and given talks in collaboration with respected masters of other art forms—especially in the world of poetry and letters (Joseph Campbell, Robert Bly, James Hillman, Nor Hall, and Gary Snyder) throughout the United States, including The New School, The Art Institute of Chicago, The University of California, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, The American Museum of Natural History, Il Santuario De Guadalupe in Santa Fe, John Hancock Hall in Boston, the Laurel Theatre in Knoxville, Riverwalk in New Orleans, the 1980 Winter Olympics, the Spoleto Festival, The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and many other venues. She has also performed in Canada, Britain, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Greece. Her radio series "Told and Retold" is on both PRX and NPR's ContentDepot.

“Timpanelli's tales are little treasures. We need them in these times for their psychological clarity about feminine experience and masculine identity.” —Nor Hall


“I love almost all storytelling, but this woman, Gioia Timpanelli, is the greatest I have heard in the art.” —Robert Bly

About WHAT MAKES A CHILD LUCKY (Novel, 2008)
A luminous story of danger and survival. In a timeless moment in rural Sicily, a boy experiences the death of his best friend and is kidnapped by the murderers. No child should have to know evil so intimately; and yet once he does, what will save him? His salvation lies in the cycles of the seasons; the sturdy earth and its gifts of lentils and wild asparagus in a time of starvation; the animal sense that enables one to anticipate the whims and impulses of others; and, most important, familiarity with the Ancient Grandmother, who knows the entire play of good and evil. We know her by the real grandmother, who everyday saves children all over the world. If he can trust her—the gang’s cook, a fierce woman of great practical wisdom and humanity—he will escape the grip of perpetual violence. Or so we learn from the beguiling old couple who narrate this story. Uniting the most ancient forms of storytelling with a modern sensibility, Gioia Timpanelli’s work is a national treasure—a joy to read, clear and resonant and satisfying.