7 Inspirational Storytellers Who Have Captivated Audiences Worldwide

Susan notes: a stellar line-up of seven masterful story tellers, some of whom tell stories by profession, others to spread their compelling messages. Thanks as always to TED for making TED Talks downloadable and embeddable. TED ROCKS !


1) Chimamanda Adichie On The Danger Of A Single Story

Nigerian-born novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. She begins with her own childhood in which she wrote stories about blue-eyed children who drank ginger beer, from a world she had never seen or experienced.


2) Isabel Allende Tells Tales of Passion

This spellbinding 2007 TED Talk by world-renowned writer and feminist Isabel Allende alternately made me laugh, cry, and reflect. So much of what she says revolves around themes that I continue to explore in my own life. It’s 20 minutes of non-stop tenderness in which Allende shares powerful stories of her personal experiences of passion, poverty and hope.



3) Eve Ensler On Happiness In Body And Soul

This 2004 TED Talk could equally be called "Eve Ensler's Journey To Help Stop Violence Against Women And Girls." Playwright and actress Ensler, who was abused as a child, is a master storyteller with a passion for changing the plight of violated women around the world. Her talk is at once tragic, funny and touching.



4) Elizabeth Gilbert On Nurturing Creativity

Author of runaway bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. A funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk about storytelling.



5) Sunitha Krishnan’s Fight Against Sex Slavery

Impassioned by the silence surrounding the sex-trafficking epidemic, Sunitha Krishnan co-founded Prajwala, or "eternal flame," a group in Hyderabad that rescues women from brothels and educates their children to prevent second-generation prostitution.



6) Elif Shafak On How Stories Widen the Imagination

Elif Shafak is the most-read female author in Turkey. In this talk, she posits that listening to stories widens the imagination. She says telling stories lets us leap over cultural walls, embrace different experiences, and feel what others feel. Shafak builds on this simple idea to argue that fiction can overcome identity politics.



7) Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke Of Insight

One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor's brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, and self-awareness.


Related links:
Speak Up, Speak Out, Take The Stage: The World Needs More TED Women
AWR TED Talk Favourites