Discipline: Literature

Diane Wolkstein

Discipline: Literature
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1993
Diane Wolkstein (1942–2013) was a folklorist and author of children's books. She also served as New York City's official storyteller from 1968–1971. In that position, she visited two of the city's parks each weekday, staging hundreds of one-woman storytelling events. After successfully talking her way into the position, she realized "there was no margin for error," she said in a 1992 interview. "I mean, it was a park. [The children would] just go somewhere else if they didn't like it." She also had a radio show on WNYC, Stories from Many Lands, from 1968 until 1980, and she helped create the Storytelling Center of New York City. Wolkstein authored two dozen books, primarily collections of folk tales and legends she gathered during research trips. She made many visits to China, Haiti, and Africa. She received a bachelor's degree from Smith College and a master's degree in education from Bank Street College of Education. While living in Paris, she studied mime under Étienne Decroux.



Diane Wolkstein worked in the Sorosis studio.

Sorosis Studio was funded by the New York Carol Club of Sorosis. The small, masonry studio was designed by F. Winsor, Jr., the architect who also designed Savidge Library (1926) and Mixter Studio (1927). At the time of construction, the large porch on the southeast façade offered a spectacular mountain view that has since been obscured…

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