About Granny Sue

  • Granny Sue: Stories from the Mountains and Beyond
  • Available for Workshops, Conferences, Festivals, Fairs, Schools, Civic Private Events
  • Contact: susannaholstein@yahoo.com 
  • toll-free 1-800-643-1353
  • Granny Sue’s News and Reviews
  • Storyteller Granny Sue
  • Mountain Poet
  • Railey Ridge Books
  • Susanna Holstein presented storytimes and elementary programs regularly to children during her 12 years as a library branch manager. She has been a professional storyteller and Appalachian balladeer for over 15 years, and has been a multi-year performer for the WV State Parks Summer Performance series, the West Virginia Storytelling Festival, West Virginia State Folk Festival and other events. She obtained her BS in Education (Secondary Social Studies) in 1991 from WV State College and went on to earn her MLIS from the University of South Carolina in 1995.

 “Granny Sue” is a member of the National Storytelling Network, the West Virginia Storytelling Guild, the Kentucky Storytelling Association, VASA, and the Storytellers of Central Ohio.

 Her writing interests were rekindled when she started a youth writing group at her branch library in 2000. Since that time she joined WV Writers Inc and Appalachian Wordsmiths Creative Writing Group. Her publications and awards include:

  •  Mountain Story, Mountain Song (CD); 2004
  • Beyond the Grave: Ghost Stories and Ballads from the Mountains (CD); 2009
  • 2003: Tell It Together: Participation Stories for Family Audiences (op)
  • 2004: Homeplace: Poems from the Mountains, chapbook
  • Granny’s Ghost Stories,  chapbook, 2004 (op)
  • 2006: The Zinnia Tales, anthology published by Mountain Girl Press.(nominee for Appalachian Book of the Year 2007). Stories included: Gracie’s Cabin and Burning the Trash.
  • 2006: Skull Run Stories (one of 6 editors).
  • 2007: Lives Unheralded. Poetry chapbook. Valley of the Shadow, poetry chapbook.
  • 2007: Self-Rising Flowers: an Anthology of Strong Appalachian Women Stories. Mountain Girl Press. Story included: Yellow Roses.
  • Granny Sue’s News and Reviews, quarterly newsletter 1999-2008; online blog 2007-ongoing

 Articles and other Publications

  • Granny’s Front Porch. Monthly column for Two Lane Livin’ magazine since 2009.
  • Storytelling reviews since 2010 for WV Storytelling Guild Newsletter.
  •  Storytelling in the State Parks. Storytelling Magazine, NSN Press, March 2006.
  •  Filling the House. Short-short story published by WestEd in high school sophomore test booklet for Massachusetts, 2008-2015.
  •  Storytelling with Puppets. Telling Stories to Children. NSN Press, 2005.
  • Young Writers Group. More Teen Programs that Work. Honnold, Rosemary. Neal-Schuman, 2005.
  • Gracie’s Cabin and Burning the Trash. Zinnia Tales: An Anthology of Strong Women Stories, Mountain Girl Press, 2006.
  • Yellow Roses. Self-Rising Flowers, Mountain Girl Press, 2008.
  • Simplicity. Gambit Literary Magazine, 2006 edition, WVUP.
  • The Way It Was. Appalachian Journal, 2005.
  • Brown Paper Lunch Bag. Museletter, WV Writers, Inc. 2005.
  • Telling Stories in the Parks. Storytelling Magazine, 2005.
  • Filling the House: a retelling of an old folktale. Storyteller.net, 2004
  • Various stories and poems, MountainEchoes.com, 2003-2004
  • The Old Road. Poetry in Motion, Morgantown, WV. Poetry on city buses project.


  • WV Writers Conference Writing Contest 2006: 2nd Place, 3rd Place (2), Honorable Mention (2)
  • National Storytelling Conference, 2000: Featured Regional Teller
  • WV Storytelling Conference, 2001: McWhorter Award for service to storytelling in West Virginia
  • Allegheny Echoes Creative Writing Workshops Scholarship, 2004
  • AuthorEnablers Creative Writing Contest, 2nd place, 2005
  • WV Writers Conference Writing Contest 2004:2nd Place and Honorable Mention (2)
  • WV Writers Conference Annual Contest 2006: 2nd Place, 3rd Place (2), Honorable Mention (2)
  • WV Poetry Society Annual Contest 2006: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 1st Honorable Mention and 2nd Honorable Mention
  • WV Writers Conference Annual Contest 2007: 2- 3rd Place and 2 Honorable Mentions
  • WV Writers Conference Annual Contest 2008: 2nd place, 2 Honorable Mention, 1st place People’s Choice
  • WV Writers Conference Annual Contest 2009: 2nd place, Appalachian category, 2 honorable mention, 1st place People’s Choice

What Others Say About Granny Sue:

 “Granny Sue’s stories were educational as well as entertaining. The stories helped students to relate to their Appalachian heritage and to be proud of their heritage. She portrayed what living in Appalachia is all about.” Wilma Sexton, Princeton Summer Writing Camp Director.

 “The program was very fitting for Celtic Heritage Festival. Very entertaining and high quality.” Melissa May, Executive Director, Prickett’s Fort Foundation

 “Excellent age appropriate stories that keep alive our heritage and culture.” Terry Patterson, West Virginia State Storytelling Festival Director.

 “The best of Appalachian storytelling weaves an emotional human narrative that, while local in details, makes the listener realize just how universal the characters and situations described really are. Susanna “Granny Sue” Holstein of Sandyville, WV places herself firmly in this living tradition with her new collection of ghost stories and ballads, “Beyond the Grave.” Dave Tabler, Appalachian History blog

 “Love your voice! I wanted more! I learned so much today.” Mountain State Storytelling Institute ballad workshop attendee

 “Granny Sue’s programs were geared to their level so well that the children are still talking about the stories and telling them to friends and family.” Julie, Willis, Fairview Public Library

 “Your performance received high praise from the audience and other tellers alike. Granny Sue Holstein is fast becoming a favorite with Pittsburgh audiences.” Mary Morgan Smith, Three Rivers Storytelling Festival

 “The interaction with the children made this program special.” Pamela Roach, Children’s Librarian

 “Granny Sue has been described as one of the few tellers that is equally effective with any age audience and her variety of material helps her present the right story for the right audience.” Robert F. McWhorter, WV Storytelling Festival Director

  “The program was right on target. The presenter demonstrated how stories could be presented to encourage student involvement and present difficult themes in an accessible way. The program was just what we hoped for: relevant, informative, and entertaining.” Bill McGinley and Kym Randolph. WV Education Association Conference chairs

“I never saw children sit so still and enthralled with stories.” Karen Enderle, Library Director

 “We loved the fact that you started to interact with the children before the program started which seems to set the mood and tone for the entire program.” Mary Woolever, librarian

 “Granny Sue was wonderful! I laughed until I had tears in my eyes.” Amy Roberts, teacher

 “My students sat spellbound listening to Granny Sue. She really connected to them. They did not want her to leave.” Cheryl Yaconis, teacher

 “The hit of the day was Susanna Holstein’s “Storytelling Without Stage Fright. One attendee made the comment that she enjoyed the program because she could participate instead of sitting and listening.” WV Library Association newsletter

 “The way you connected with a group of teens with very different backgrounds and frame of reference was excellent.” Mark  Lewis, Sales Director, North American River Runners

 “Mrs. Holstein, thank you for telling ghost stories. I liked that better than anything!” Jamie Payne, student

 “You put into action a wonderful, quality program for our haunted house. Presentation was excellent!” Veronica Powell, Kelsi Manor Bed and Breakfast

 “Your commitment to fascinate and entertain our visitors with the tales and truths of Appalachia is unprecedented.”    Sonja Wilson, WVU Mountaineer Week

 “Your wonderful storytelling and sparkling personality went a long way in making our celebration a success.” Nancy Utt, Prickett’s Fort 25th Anniversary Celebration

 “Spooky stories around the campfire really captured the audience’s attention.” Lynn Watts, Supt. of Recreation, Kanawha County Parks

 “We were really excited to have an opportunity to expand the educational activities and it was with your help that it turned out so well.” Rosalie Brooks, Arts on the River Festival, Morgantown

 “Granny Sue has the most hauntingly beautiful voice that went just right with her powerful story… She had the crowd in the palm of her hand. Just beautiful!” Karen Chace, Massachusetts storyteller

 “Granny Sue, starts her tale by belting out the strains of a love song like a young Loretta Lynn…  you must get her to tell you the tale of Rain and Snow, it’s potent with emotion.  Mel Davenport, Texas Storyteller


2 Responses to About Granny Sue

  1. Pat Moton says:

    Do you have anything for kids in grief that would work as a holiday puppet show?

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