Loren Niemi

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Loren has spent more than a quarter century as a professional storyteller, creating, collecting, performing and teaching stories to audiences of all ages in urban and rural settings. His work has been called "post-modern", "with the dark beauty of language that is not ashamed of poetry." It is, as storyteller, Kate Lutz said, "a sensibility that owes more to the New Yorker than to the Old Farmer's Almanac."

"I began as a child fibber but soon discovered that I was less interested in telling lies than I was in improving the truth."

Storytelling is also at the core of thirty-five years of working as a community organizer and public policy advocate and trainer with neighborhoods, non-profit groups and NGO's to articulate their dreams and resolve their conflicts. In 1998, Loren was a recipient of a Bush Leadership Fellowship to research the vital role of storytelling in neighborhood and community development. In 2001 he created Public Policy Project, working with Children's Home Society & Family Services (St. Paul, MN), helping low-wealth and communities of color shape and tell stories that illuminate issues of race, equity and social change.

Loren has also been a Humanities Scholar in Residence for Northern Minnesota, the ringmaster and tour manager of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre's Circle of Water Circus, and one third of BAD JAZZ, a performance art trio with Michael Sommers and Kevin Kling, experimenting with new theatrical and storytelling forms.

He has a BA (Philosophy and Studio Arts) from St. Mary's College (Winona, MN) and a MA in Liberal Studies (American Culture) from Hamline University (St. Paul, MN). He teaches Storytelling in the Communications Department of Metropolitan State University (St. Paul, MN) as well as providing storytelling workshops, corporate and organizational consulting around the country.

He is the co-author, with Elizabeth Ellis, of Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories, from August House Publishers. His second book, The Book of Plots, a incisive look at how writers and storytellers can construct engaging narratives is now available from Llumina Press.

Loren was one of the founders of the Northlands Storytelling Network, a five state storytelling education and advocacy organization, and spent four years as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Storytelling Network, the 3000 plus member advocate and promoter of America's storytelling revival.

Storytelling is Loren's life's work and he sees it as an embodiment of Federico Fellini's statement, "I have invented myself entirely, a childhood, a personality, longings, memories and dreams, all in order to be able to tell them."


3708 24th Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55406


This site is a member benefit of Illinois Storytelling, Inc.
revised 3-2-10