Joe McHugh Storyteller, Writer, Audiographer and Philosopher
© copyright 2007
About Joe
Joe McHugh

In 1988 he moved west to northern California with his wife Paula where they designed and directed an innovative summer camp program for young people called Camp ImaginAction. Inspired by this experience, they went on to found the Raven Radio Theater, which explored the creative use of radio dramas with young people and organizations. In 1992, the Raven Radio Theater was awarded a major grant by the Office of the California Superintendent of Public Instruction to design, produce, and disseminate an innovative tobacco-use prevention radio drama curriculum to fifth grade students throughout California. Two years later the McHughs received funding from the United States Justice Department to produce a radio drama curriculum exploring the role and responsibilities of citizenship.

In the year 2000, Mr. McHugh founded the American Family Stories Project and began traveling around the country recording people telling their family stories. These stories were later featured on a public radio series called The Telling Takes Us Home, which aired on many public radio stations and on the international English-language service of Voice of America. He has produced audio documentaries for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Judicial Counsel of California, the Washington State Office of Public Defense, and the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association.

Joe McHugh has presented at conferences, colleges, libraries, museums, and festivals throughout the United States, Scotland, Ireland, and England. He has published two collections of folktales and humor and an illustrated children’s book about the early days of aviation, and a novel entitled Kilowatt. His most recent book Slaying the Gorgon, the Rise of the Storytelling Industrial Complex explores how we tell stories in the modern age given the dynamic and transforming influence of new technologies. He lives with his family in Olympia, Washington.

Joe McHugh began telling stories professionally in 1978 when he was hired to organize a series of ethnic festivals in New York State. He went on to serve as the founding director of the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia where he also hosted a weekly segment on Appalachian folkways for West Virginia Public Television. He has been a consultant for numerous non-profit organizations and government agencies and has served as an artist-in-residence for the National Endowment for the Arts, the West Virginia Department of Culture and History, the Pennsylvania Arts Commission, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Click to view a selected list of past conference presentations (PDF)