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Donald Davis @ Athens Storytelling Festival

  • Courthouse Square Downtown Athens, AL 121 Marion Street Athens, AL 35611 Athens, Alabama United States (map)

Cripple Joe: Stories from My Daddy

Donald Davis has remarked that he “didn’t learn stories, I just absorbed them” from a family of traditional storytellers that has lived on the same western North Carolina land since 1781. Considered by many to be the father of family tales, Donald turns the focus of his newest collection on his own father, Joe.

As Donald reveals in the opening story, when he was 28, he mistakenly thought his father had died. Until learning of the mistake, he lamented that he’d been “too young and immature to know to ask for the stories that would have filled out his life.” Given a “second chance,” Donald asked those questions for the next 22 years. In this collection of 20 tender and often humorous stories—including one that tells how the elder Davis came to be called “Cripple Joe”—he shares the lessons he learned from his father.

The late Wilma Dykeman wrote in an article for the New York Times, “I could have listened all morning to Donald Davis. . . . His stories often left listeners limp with laughter at the same time they struggled with a lump in the throat.” If you are already a Donald Davis fan, here’s his latest offering. If you have yet to discover him, here’s your chance to see what all the excitement is about.