The Greatest Storytellers of the 21st Century

By Kendall Buzzelli

The 21st century has brought a slew of new faces to the storytelling realm, and with David Sedaris coming to Wharton Center November 3, I’ve been thinking about how storytellers can come out of anywhere. We live in an age where everyone has a story: from tweets to posts and beyond.  Untitled design

The first storyteller I thought of was the talented and popular Lin-Manuel Miranda. Of course, Broadway fans have followed Miranda for years; as a playwright, he has famously told the stories of In the Heights, Bring it On, and most recently, the smash-hit Hamilton. But Miranda’s storytelling abilities have even transcended the theatre community. In just a few years, Miranda has seamlessly brought together unlikely communities through the common interest of a previously little-known founding father. His music and lyrics are dynamic, vibrant and clever, and remind audiences that we aren’t as different as we appear.

Another who came to mind is the late Steve Jobs. Revered for his success in building Apple as a powerhouse brand, Jobs gave us a reason to care about the technology in our hands: it could be not only functional and foolproof, but also an extension of our personalities. I think of his commencement speech at Stanford University where, by telling three personal stories, he reminded graduating students to seize the day:

At the young age of 16, Malala Yousafazi began to share her story with the world. An activist for women’s rights, she’s shed light on the importance of sharing your story and having your voice heard. Her inspirational words have energized entire communities to take action and stand up for what they believe in. 


David Sedaris rounds out my list of the greatest storytellers of the 21st century. We’ve followed him from his “SantaLand Diaries” days, and his stories and opinions have only gotten more humorous, clever and poignant. His writing surprises me to no end as he continues to present new, funny ways to look at life. He’s able to laugh at himself and laugh at life, which makes his storytelling raw and inviting for new and old fans every time.


David Sedaris will be at Wharton Center on Friday, November 3. Tickets are available by clicking here. Specially priced $19 student tickets are available here using your APID. Be sure to follow Wharton Center on Facebook to get the inside scoop on everything Wharton. 


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Posted in At Wharton Center, Wharton Center News

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