Comedy Central-featured comedian brings the art of storytelling to Malad

Staff Report

MALAD – While they might not always be true, Bil Lepp’s wild tales are honest, funny and family-friendly.

When was the last time you gathered under the stars and lost yourself in a good story? The Oneida County Storytelling Festival is aiming to revive the art of a good story today at 7 p.m. in Malad City Park.

“We are delighted to have Bil come and share his stories,” said Kathy Kent, director of the Oneida County Library.

Lepp has performed on Comedy Central’s Stage, has been featured 13 times at the National Storytelling Festival and has performed at the Smithsonian Storytelling Festival.

A nationally renowned storyteller and five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, Lepp’s outrageous, humorous tall-tales and witty stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. Though a champion liar, his stories often contain morsels of truth which shed light on universal themes.

Each year on Memorial Day weekend, West Virginia’s best storytellers compete for the prestigious title of “Biggest Liar.” The tall-tale contest draws large crowds, and the winner receives a Golden Shovel. You can imagine why.

However, truth or fiction isn’t the point of good storytelling. Storyteller Neil Gaiman put it best when he hosted a San Francisco town hall event on the art of storytelling.

“’Once upon a time’ is code for ‘I am about to lie to you,’” Gaiman half-jokes. “The act of reading a story or listening to a story is the act of knowing you’re being lied to.”

Be it true or exaggerated, Lepp can find the humor in any situation, be it a hunting trip, a funeral, or a visit to the dentist. Lepp explains that while his stories may not be completely true, they are always honest.

As a storyteller, author, and recording artist, Lepp’s works have received awards and recognition from The Parents’ Choice Foundation, The National Parenting Publications Assoc., and the Public Library Assoc. In 2011, Lepp was awarded the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award. He is the author of three books of tall tales, 10 audio collections, a non-fiction book, and a novel.  His first children’s book, The King of Little Things, was published by Peachtree Publishers in the fall of 2013. Samples of his work can be found at http://leppstorytelling.com/.  Bil lives in Charleston, WV with his wife and two children.

All are invited to attend this free performance at the Malad City Park. Those attending are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets.

This event is made possible by a generous grant from the F.M., Anne G. and BeverlyB. Bistline Foundation Fund.

For a recorded interview about the West Virginia Liars Contest, visit this link.

06_23_15bil lepp handout

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