Margaret Chatham


Margaret Chatham

Margaret is an eclectic teller of ethnic tales from around the world who also tells literary stories “just-so,” always putting the story on center stage. She sometimes supplements her word-weaving with string figures, music, or dolls from her world-wide collection, while entertaining and enlightening audiences from age 4 to 104. Margaret has more than 30 years of storytelling experience. A founding member, past president, and current newsletter editor for Voices in the Glen, Margaret Chatham began her storytelling as a children’s librarian in Hawaii.


Margaret Chatham will design a story program to fit your needs, drawing from a repertoire of over 150 stories from 6 continents and several islands. Here are a few samples:

  • Tales From the First Times: stories from the ancient world. This can include ancient Egyptian, Greek,  Sumerian, Hittite, or Chinese tales.
  • Magic By the Book-It’s a Funny Thing…Jane Yolen, Patricia C. Wrede, Natalie Babbitt, E. Nesbit, Rudyard Kipling all wrote tales of magic and humor which jump from the page for out-loud enjoyment
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night-winter shivers from around the Arctic Circle
  • Tricks and Turnabouts-Anansi, Br’er Rabbit, Nasr-ed-Din Hodja, Coyote, and Jack: the world is full of tricksters
  • From the Land of the Rising Sun-Folktales from Japan, or a sampling from Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, and Hmong stories. This can include a Hmong pa ndau storycloth and dolls from the represented cultures.
  • Three Worlds of Hispanic Tales-Hispanic stories from Native American, African and Spanish roots
  • A Middle Eastern Tour-from the adventures of the Arabian nights to the humor of Nasr-ed-Din Hodja
  • Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day specials
  • Celtic Tales, of wee folk, pookas, mermaids, and the people who meet them
  • Margaret’s Favorite: to create a program to suit your theme and audience

Audio Tape

Cat Tales: Four Furry Tales includes “The Cat Who Walked By Himself” from Just-So Stories by Rudyard Kipling; “Naming a Cat,” a Chinese folktale; “The King of the Cats,” adapted from Joseph Jacobs’ More English Fairy Tales; and “The Boy Who Drew Cats,” Japanese folktale originally translated by Lafcadio Hearn. Available for $12, including shipping and handling: send check to Margaret Chatham, 2631 Kirklyn St., Falls Church, VA 22043, with your complete mailing address.


  • Folklore Society of Greater Washington’s Washington Folk Festival, every time it has been held, 1985 to present; also their Midwinter Festival most years
  • Southern Maryland Celtic Festival, 1992 to present (except 2009, when daughter Ann got married on that day)
  • Potomac Celtic Festival – 1994-2010 (except the one when it fell on the same weekend as a family reunion in Missouri)   Organized & ran the storytelling stage 2002-2010.
  • Maryland Faerie Fest, Mermaid Tales, May 2011
  • Green Spring Manor House Teas, most recently programs for Christmas, 2008, and Valentine’s Day, 2011; planned Mother-Daughter Tea, Nov 12, 2011
  • Fairfax County Public Libraries, various. Most recently Burke Centre Library: “Midnight at Bunnyman Bridge” 2009
  • Long Branch Nature Center — Br’er Rabbit Tales, July 2010; Tales from the Deep, Dark Woods, July 2011
  • Reston’s Walker Nature Center – Br’er Rabbit Tales, Feb 2010
  • National Museum of the Marine Corps – Halloween, 2009
  • Tellebrations in Kensington & Frederick, MD, Alexandria, Falls Church & Leesburg, VA, and Colts Neck, NJ
  • Kensington Story Salon, with husband Ralph, several times, first Wednesday in January
  • Voices in the Glen Storytelling Festival, 1984-2003 (alas, it is no more!)
  • Schools ranging from preschools to high schools, history days, book fairs
  • Scouting groups: boys and girls, campfires and pack meetings.
  • Churches, Retirement homes and Alzheimer’s respite centers
  • Clubs & Associations: Old Dominion Doll Club, Women’s Association of Northern Virginia, Clifton Community Women’s Club, Drott Lodge, Maryland Doll Club,  Gladys McDowell Doll Study Club
  • Private occasions from birthday parties for children who love reading, to Halloween parties, to a wedding reception


With Ralph Chatham: Recipient 2003 National Storytelling Network Oracle Award for Regional Leadership and Service

“I’m happy to tell people about your talent for bringing a story to life, connecting honestly and meaningfully with an audience.” Rhonda Belyea, Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 2008

“I hadn’t intended to stay, but her telling drew me in.”

– Potomac Celtic Festival attendee, June 2002

“Everyone really enjoyed the magic you shared with your gift of storytelling. we might make it a yearly event :-).  I’ll keep your phone number!!”

– Beverly Bray, James K. Polk Elementary School, Alexandria, Va. March 5, 2004