Seattle Storytellers Guild

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Merna Ann Hecht

Merna Ann Hecht


Award-winning storyteller, poet, and essayist, Merna Ann Hecht has built her life work around the vital role of story and spoken word in all cultures.

Merna's diverse projects include work in a children's grief center; poetry and storytelling projects with immigrant and refugee students; and projects in art museums, facilities for disenfranchised youth, hospitals and schools. She also presents college courses on multicultural storytelling and the use of story and poetry for teaching global compassion. Merna is writing a book about using storytelling and poetry in working with grieving children for which she has created an extensive annotated bibliography of storytelling resources.

She is a recipient of a 2008 National Storytelling Network Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling and a 1999 NSN Community Service Award. Her essays and poetry appear in a number of professional journals, books and magazines, including The Storytelling Classroom and Storytelling Magazine.

Merna tells stories from around the world with a special affection for tales that have themes of compassion, peace-making, and healing. Her performances are diverse and lively, and often involve audience participation. She collects Eastern European tales, Gypsy stories, Yiddish folktales, and ghost stories of a haunting and elegant nature. Her stories are just right for intergenerational audiences or at-risk youth, and special settings such as hospitals and grief centers.