Frances Focus Fellowship

Ray Christian

Ray Christian is 2017's recipient of the Frances Focus Fellowship, awarded to a storyteller with deep ties to the American South.

IN RESIDENCE March 3 - March 17 | July 14 - July 28, 2017

Raymond Christian is a storyteller, whose storytelling began with his role as reader for
his illiterate parents at age 10. He escaped the urban slums of Richmond, VA by joining
the United States Army at 17. Here he served in a number of capacities and
assignments at home, abroad during peace time and in combat, primarily as an
Infantryman and Paratrooper, where he retired after 20 years of service. Following
retirement the combat-decorated veteran went back to school and earned a BS in
History, MA in Public History, and an EdS in Education Leadership. He is currently
pursuing a doctorate in Education, where his dissertation research explores the
relationship between parental behavior and academic success among African American
students. Ray also teaches part time at Appalachians State University, the courses “The Souls of Black Folks”, an examination of African American social culture, and “Life in the
Narrative” a course that explores the historic and contemporary use of storytelling and
oral history in America.  

Ray has shared his stories on the Moth Main Stage in the US
and Canada. His stories have appeared in Readers Digest (One of the Best Stories in
America Edition) and have been featured on the Moth Radio Hour and Snap Judgment.
In addition, as a competitive storyteller Ray is a 7 time Moth story Slam Champion, and
the winner of the 2016 National Storytelling Festival Story Slam. Ray also has his own
podcast “What’s Ray Saying”. Ray hopes to continue crafting stories that can serve the
cause of cultural enlightenment and social justice by using oral expression to present
the human experience in a compelling and memorable way. Ray currently resides in
Boone, North Carolina.


AIR Serenbe supports artists of every discipline through our Focus Fellowship awards, nominated annually by our National Advisory Council—esteemed peers and experts in the field.  Focus Fellowships provide the opportunity for individuals, corporations, and other organizations to directly support artists and their influence on building healthy, creative communities. Funders of these awards have the chance to name the fellowship and to work closely with AIR Serenbe to determine what kind of artists (discipline, geography, demographic, subject) the fellowship will serve.  

To learn more about establishing a Focus Fellowship, contact AIR Serenbe Executive Director Brandon Hinman at