Diane Wolkstein

po_Wolkstein-DianeDiane Wolkstein (November 11, 1942 – January 31, 2013) was a folklorist and author of children’s books. She also served as New York City’s official storyteller from 1968–1971.

As New York’s official storyteller, Wolkstein 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.