Suzi “Mama” Whaples has been performing professionally as a storyteller for the last 12 years. Before making storytelling her vocation, she worked in child evangelism and as a Youth Media Specialist in a local library. While working at the library she envisioned educating the children of West Virginia about their rich Appalachian heritage by using the art of storytelling. She formed a group of three tellers and called them THE MOUNTAIN WOMEN. In 1998 they won the National Storytelling Contest in Hillsboro, Ohio. They, also, took away the top honor for Echo’s in the Coalfields in 2001. The Mountain Women, later reduced to two tellers, traveled throughout the United States spinning yarns and telling tales.
Suzi works both alone and as part of THE MOUNTAIN WOMEN. This year she has traveled to CA, IA, FL, IL, IN, NC, and OH speaking in libraries, churches, schools, and organizations. Suzi loves to retell family stories passed down through generations of coalminers and mountain people. She delights in the sounds of laughter from children eight to eighty. In 2007 she was humbled to receive the West Virginia Storytelling Guild’s Bob McWhorter Award for outstanding work in storytelling.
In October of 2010, Suzi appeared at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. After performing a humorous story called “I Hear Somethin’” Suzi received a standing ovation.