The Merle Davis Story Listener Fund Application 

The International Storytelling Center (ISC) is now accepting applications for The Merle Davis Story Listener Scholarship. The scholarship will cover registration fees and a travel stipend for one special listener to attend the National Storytelling Festival in October.

Born in Durham, NC, Merle Smith Davis received her education degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Half of Merle’s professional career was spent as an elementary classroom teacher, and the other half as an Arts Administrator.  She was Director of the Dublin County Arts Council in Kenansville, NC, and later Director of Artsplosure in Raleigh, NC.  For the last 25 years she has been the Arts Administrator for Donald Davis, Storyteller, Inc., her husband, Donald’s, storytelling business. In their time together she and Donald loved travel, camping, reading, cooking, and of course, storytelling.

The Merle Davis Story Listener Fund honors the life of an arts administrator and story lover who understood the art of listening. The Chinese symbol for the word to listen is comprised of four words: ear, eye, heart and understanding. Merle used all of those senses and sensibilities as she listened to stories. ISC invites avid story listeners everywhere to apply for this scholarship. 

  • Essay Section

    A 500 to 1000 word essay on one of the following: • Why attending the National Storytelling Festival is important to you • How story has inspired you and/or changed your life
  • The Merle Davis Story Listener Fund

    The fund is intended to support one person each year to attend the National Storytelling Festival as an audience member and Festival Listener. Expenses covered by the Fund: Festival Registration, Yarnspinners Party Entry, Travel or Lodging – up to $500. The application deadline for the Merle Davis Story Listener Fund Scholarship is June 1st. Submissions missing any of the required items will not be considered. The scholarship will be announced on or before July 1st. For questions, email All submissions can be submitted online, emailed to, or mailed to the Merle Davis Story-Listener Fund International Storytelling Center 116 West Main Street Jonesborough, Tennessee 37659
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