National Storytelling Festival Announces Special Guest Samara Huggins

Samara Huggins, the 2017 national Poetry Out Loud champion, will be the special guest of the International Storytelling Center at its 45th annual National Storytelling Festival, October 6-8 in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Last April, Samara competed against 300,000 of her peers across the country by reciting poems by Arthur Rimbaud and W.D. Ehrhart in the final competition in Chicago. The Marietta, Georgia native recently began her first year at the Pratt Institute in New York City, where she is studying fashion design.

The young woman is set to perform at the National Storytelling Festival on Friday, where she will appear with the iconic tall tale teller Bil Lepp at 1:00, in the Family Tent.

Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the Poetry Foundation. Its mission is to promote poetry in high schools across the country while cultivating public speaking and performance skills. Since the initiative began in 2005, more than 3 million students have participated nationwide.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the national Poetry Out Loud champion will perform at the Festival. Samara’s recitation, as well as an entire day’s worth of storytelling, will be internationally broadcast on Friday, October 6, beginning at 10:00 a.m. The livestream can be accessed for free at