Diane Ferlatte, a native of New Orleans, can readily remember childhood years of sitting on the porch of her grandparents’ home, captivated by the oral stories of family generations past, their spirit, their journeys, and their heartfelt fantasy coming more alive in each moment.
Diane was an adolescent when her family migrated to Oakland, CA, and years later after she married and adopted her three-year-old son Joey, she again became interested in storytelling. After weeks of searching for creative ways to increase Joey’s interest in books and lessen his interest in television, Diane began to apply animation and characters while reading and telling stories to him and his sister. It worked! Joey started to enjoy books and stories, and Diane started on her path to become a professional storyteller, a journey of some 30 years.
Now an internationally renowned storyteller, Diane has traveled the globe including Austria, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Canada, Senegal, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey, Jamaica, Bermuda, India, Switzerland, Romania, and of course all over the United States. She believes that telling and listening to each other’s stories not only enables us to learn about each other, but also to understand each other better. She views storytelling as a traditional art form that can promote literacy, imagination, and values in the young. While emphasizing African American stories, she loves to tell stories that hold truths touching upon our common humanity, including personal and historical stories. Having a background in music as well as American Sign Language, Diane frequently incorporates both into her performances. Erik Pearson, her musical sidekick, often accompanies Diane on banjo & guitar.
Diane has received numerous honors including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award, the National Association of Black Storytellers’ Zora Neale Hurston Award, The Friends of Negro Spirituals Heritage Keepers Award, as well as the California Arts Council’s highest ranking. In addition to receiving a 2008 Grammy nomination, all of her recordings have received other awards including multiple Parents’ Choice, American Library Association, National Parenting Publications, iParenting Media, Children’s Music Web, and Storytelling World Awards. Among her most exciting performances are her numerous appearances at both the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and the Internationales Storytelling Festival in Graz, Austria, the First International Festival to Commemorate the End of Slavery, on Goree Island, Senegal, as well as performing for President Clinton at his first inauguration.