Donna Ingham, Storyteller


Donna Ingham

Role models


When I turned 80 last year, I started looking around for role models in my age bracket, starting with artist Grandma Moses.


If you need reminding, Grandma Moses is an American folk artist, a painter, who didn’t seriously begin her career in the arts until she was 78 years old. She lived to be 101 (1860-1961). Even as a child she painted, using lemon juice and grape juice to make colors for her landscapes, but at age 12 she started working as a live-in housekeeper for one wealthy family or another. She eventually married a hired man and had 10 children. Still she found outlets for her creativity, using house paint to decorate a fireboard and embroidering pictures and quilting. By the time she was 76 and 10 years a widow, her arthritis made embroidering painful. Her sister suggested she start painting to produce pictures. She did. She began selling some of her paintings, described as “primitive,” for $3 to $5 each. Then in 1938 she was “discovered” by an art collector who bought all her paintings displayed in the window of a small town drug store and went to her house to buy 10 more. That led to several of her paintings being included in a 1939 exhibition of “Contemporary Unknown American Painters” in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and solo exhibitions followed. For the next 20 years her paintings were exhibited throughout Europe and the United States. As recently as 2006 one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.

Humorist and folklorist Donna Ingham takes the ancient art of storytelling and gives it a Texas twist to entertain audiences of all ages. Hear tall tales, folklore, historical and personal stories told only as a Texan could – or would.


As a storyteller Donna has appeared at festivals and conferences throughout the United States and even swapped a yarn or two in Ireland. A former college professor with a Ph.D. in English, she also offers workshops, master classes, and training and in-service sessions as well as age-appropriate programs for elementary and secondary schools.


As a published author, she brings an added dimension to her school visits, and she both entertains and enlightens audiences at book festivals and conferences. Her reputation as a humorist makes her a popular luncheon and after-dinner speaker and presenter of special programs and keynotes as well.


She has been named the Biggest Liar in Austin, Texas, seven times and the Biggest Liar in Texas three times and is a recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award for “outstanding contributions to the art of storytelling” and a National Storytelling Oracle Regional Excellence Award for “exceptional commitment and exemplary contributions to the art of storytelling.”


Donna is listed on the Texas Touring Roster of the Texas Commission on the Arts and on the Mid-America Arts Alliance Regional Touring Program.



“masterful style of oral storytelling” – Raymond V. Whelan, River Cities Tribune, Marble Falls, Texas


“impressive, funny, a virtuoso” – audience member Michael, from California 


“You’ll have to decide what is true and what is, well, maybe almost true. . . sure to entertain.” – Abilene Reporter-News


A couple of comments following recent Road Scholar presentations:


“Donna Ingham deserves all the awards she has received. Her delivery and content were extraordinary!”

“Donna Ingham was a great storyteller. Could listen to her for hours. Her stories gave a great insight into Texas life.”