So what exactly is a storyteller laureate anyway? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a poet laureate as “one regarded by a country or region as its most eminent or representative poet.” So a storyteller laureate is the best representative of a place—whether that’s a town, a state, or a country.
When the small upstate New York town of Kingston had to choose a representative, they chose storyteller Karen Pillsworth. While poet laureates are fairly common (the U.S. Library of Congress appoints them to serve one-year terms), few people had ever heard of a storyteller laureate.
“I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in the country,” Karen says. “I tell stories about Kingston and its history.”