Anne Izard Award for Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, NM Spectrum

NM Spectrum notes Izard Award goes to Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

New Milford Spectrum, 6/14/13
New Milford Spectrum, 6/14/13

Notice of the Anne Izard Award for Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, New Milford (CT) Spectrum


New Milford author to receive Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award

A collection of Turkish folktales by New Milford author Ron Suresha has been named a recipient of the 2013 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, published by Lethe Press in 2010, received last year the Storytelling World Honor Title award and is now designated to be honored with a second prestigious storytelling commendation.

According to the Awards co-chair Carol Birch, a ceremony of stories and storytelling, including a presentation by Suresha, will be held 10:00am Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at the White Plains Public Library, 100 Martine Ave., White Plains, New York. The morning program is open to the public with a local bookstore supplying books and an area for authors to sign their titles.

Every two years, an (Augusta) Baker’s Dozen (13) of titles are chosen for the ANNE IZARD STORYTELLERS’ CHOICE AWARD that was established in 1990 to honor Anne Izard, noted storyteller, librarian and consultant, who had died that same year. The award was established in her name by the Westchester County Library System (New York), where she served as the Children’s Services Consultant for many years. The award highlights distinguished titles in the field of storytelling published for children and adults, and promotes the riches of storytelling to even wider audiences. Books considered for the 11th award had to be original material, reprints, or new English translations published in North America between January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012.

Selection Criteria:

While mindful of the established standards of excellence in literature, the primary intention of this award is to honor books that can be used with confidence as resources for storytellers.

Stories must be entirely successful without depending upon illustrations, graphic elements, or audio-visual media. Collections, as well as individual picture book versions of stories, will be considered. Folk tales should be distinguished by an outstanding style, which makes the particular version notable. Authenticity, scholarship, and documentation will be taken into consideration, but are not the sole criteria. Distinguished examples of original stories should preserve, promote and/or honor an oral tradition. Non-fiction narratives, including poetry and biography, will be considered. Books which deepen and enrich a storyteller’s understanding of the meaning and uses of story, as well as books pertaining to folk traditions, aesthetics, methods and study of storytelling are eligible.

Here is the complete list of this year’s Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award recipients:

  • Bateman, Teresa. The Leprechaun under the Bed. Illustrated by Paul Meisel. Holiday House, 2012.
  • Claflin, Willy. Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs: A Maynard Moose Tale. Illustrated by James Stimson. August House, 2011
  • Ellis, Elizabeth. From Plot to Narrative: A Step-By-Step Process of Story Creation and Enhancement. Parkhurst Brothers, Inc., 2012.
  • Ford, Lyn. Affrilachian Tales: Folktales from the African-American Appalachian Tradition. Parkhurst Brothers, Inc., 2012.
  • Gotschall, Jonathan. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
  • Hamilton, Mary. Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies. University Press of Kentucky, 2012.
  • Lyon, George Ella. Which Side Are You On: The Story of a Song. Illustrated by Christopher Cardinale. Cinco Puntos Press, 2011.
  • MacDonald, Margaret Read. The Boy from the Dragon Palace. Illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa. Albert Whitman and Company, 2011.
  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Hyperion Books an imprint of Disney/Jump at the Sun, 2012.
  • Pullman, Philip. Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm. Viking Adult, 2012
  • Strauss, Linda Leopold. The Elijah’s Door: A Passover Tale. Illustrated by Alexie Natchev. Holiday House, 2012.
  • Suresha, Ron J. The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin. Lethe Press, 2011.
  • Van Dusen, Chris. King Hugo’s Huge Ego. Candlewick, 2011.

Suresha, a native of Detroit, Mich., moved with his husband from New London, Conn., to New Milford in 2011, and is a licensed Justice of the Peace. An award-winning author or editor of a dozen books, Suresha is currently completing a sequel to his acclaimed collection of Turkish folk tales of the legendary Mid- and Far-Eastern hero and teacher, Mullah Nasruddin (also known as Nasreddin Hoca, Djuha, and by other names), forthcoming 2013 from Lethe Press, an indie publisher based in Maple Shade, N.J.

Order the book from Lethe Press


Second printing, Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

by rjs
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Published on: August 14, 2012

Lethe Press is pleased to announce the release of the second printing, March 2012, of

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, 2nd printing, front cover


Features of the second printing:

  • Storytelling World Honor
  • Part titles
  • Brief quotes of new reviews
  • Bibliography expanded and updated
  • New cover and text typefaces

 Order the book now from

Immortal Mullah Nasruddin receives “Storytelling World Honor”

by rjs
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Published on: February 25, 2012

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

has been named

“A Storytelling World Honor Book”

STW official announcement

Lethe Press
118 Heritage Ave., Maple Shade, NJ 08052 USA
February 25, 2012


The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinLethe Press is pleased to announce that one of its books, The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, by Ron J. Suresha, has been chosen as an Honor Book in the Storytelling Collections category of the 2012 Storytelling World Awards.

The folk humor collection detailing the exploits of the 800-year-old Turkish “wise fool,” published last year by indy publisher Lethe Press of Maple Shade, NJ, was chosen as “A Storytelling World Honor Book” in the annual national refereed competition for valued resources in the “Storytelling Collections — All ages” category.

The winners and honors for each year’s Awards are displayed on the back cover of the April/May issue of Storytelling World / Storytelling Magazine, or are showcased inside the issue by categories. The resource title, author (performer), and publisher are provided, along with a short byline describing the item. The book cover and information are also published permanently on the Storytelling World website,

Here is the Storytelling World official announcement.

The author, Ron J. Suresha, and Lethe Press publisher, Steve Berman, wish to thank award administrator Dr Flora Joy and the Storytelling World award committee judges for recognizing the book for its contribution to the storytelling community as a special folkloric resource.

The official announcement about all of this year’s award titles is expected to be was made public in March. Lethe is expected to reprint the title this year to include mention of the new honor.

The book, with a preface by Connecticut Storytelling Center director Ann Shapiro, has already received critical acclaim from Midwest Book Review, which called it “A fine pick and very highly recommended”; an extensive analysis in the scholastic journal Storytelling, Self, Society, and a positive review from the popular Green Man Review.

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin
Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero
by Ron J. Suresha
Lethe Press, January 2011    •    Paperback: 232 pp.    •    Includes glossary and bibliography
ISBN-10:  1-59021-175-8    •    ISBN-13:   978-1-59021-175-5    •    Softcover price: $18.00 USD
Categories: Humor / Folklore / World Literature / Middle Eastern Studies


Distributed by: ASP, Baker & Taylor, Ingram


Also available for Kindle, iBook, and all electronic-book formats @ For more information, and to order, go to or

Editorial and Distribution Inquiries, Press Inquiries/Review copies:
Steve Berman, publisher: editor @

Nasruddin Reading at NM Public Library Oct. 25

by rjs
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Published on: October 7, 2011

The New Milford Public Library invites everyone to an

Author reception, Reading & Book signing

of an acclaimed collection of Turkish folktales,

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin
with local author Ron Suresha

Tuesday, October 25th
6:00 – 7:30 pm
New Milford Public Library
Memorial Hall, 24 Main Street
Free and open to the public.

Please join us as we hear the humorous stories, jests, and donkey tales of the Turkish folk hero, Mullah Nasruddin, retold by local author Ron Suresha.
A question-and-answer session after the reading will precede the author reception. Refreshments provided courtesy of NM Public Library.

Books will be available for purchase and autograph before and after the reading, $18. Local booksellers Bank St. Book Nook and The Book Cove in Pawling also carry copies.

Facebook event page:

Door-to-door Salesmen

by rjs
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Published on: September 11, 2011

Door-to-door Salesmen

or, Who’s selling here, you or me?


Nasruddin wanted to sell his firewood door-to-door, but he needed a new donkey to help carry the load around town. After much haggling at the market, he bought the milkman’s donkey, and set off on his rounds.

He led the young, perky beast of burden away from the market. The donkey, for her part, was a creature of habit and always remembered the daily route through the streets, helping her master sell his milk, through the streets around Akşehir. Unknown to Nasruddin, though, this donkey had developed the habit, as she reached certain spots along the route where the previous master had sold his milk, of braying loudly as a signal to the locals that they should come out and get their milk.

After Nasruddin loaded up, he began leading the donkey the quickest way toward the market, but the animal stubbornly insisted on taking its previous path. Nasruddin threw up his hands and relented. He thought, This donkey acts like she knows the way better than I do — so maybe she is right! He slackened the tether, and let the young donkey lead the way until they reached the first point of sale, where the donkey stopped abruptly and would not budge forward even a hair.

Nasruddin thought that the donkey must know that this is a good spot to sell, so he took a deep breath, and got ready to call out for folks to come buy his wood. He was interrupted, however, by a loud, long bray. One of the local women, Setare, who was long accustomed to hearing the familiar call of the milkman’s donkey, brought out the milkcans, but when they saw that it was just Nasruddin selling firewood, she reviled him and went back inside.

As the donkey led the way to the next stop on the route, Nasruddin was rapidly becoming less delighted with the animal. Again he drew in his breath, ready to proclaim his firewood to all — and again the donkey opened her lips wide, almost seeming to smile, and brayed loud enough to drown out Nasruddin as he made the call for firewood. Soon enough, another local woman, Turan, came out with a milk jug under each arm, but soon enough she realized Nasruddin’s folly, and returned to her home disappointed.

After several episodes of the same unsuccessful sales tactic, Nasruddin had sold not so much as a matchstick of wood. Finally the Mullah could stand it no more. He faced the donkey, shook his fists, and yelled, “Let’s settle this matter once and for all, you miserable, impudent animal: Who is selling here — you or me‽ You bray to announce the firewood, and they attack me for not bringing the milk.”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

Your Daily Nasruddin

It’s always funny when someone speaks to an animal as if the animal could understand exactly what the person was saying. Especially so with the Mullah and his beloved grey donkey, who occasionally seems to understand more than the Mullah.

The story doesn’t make clear whether the old donkey is his favorite, or if the new donkey is the one Mullah makes famous in his stories.

In this case, the donkey, who would bray in specific locations where her previous master (either a milk-seller or a pickle seller) had trained her to, is always a creature of habit.

So when Nasruddin takes the donkey on his neighborhood rounds to sell his firewood, the donkey brays at the wrong time, besides which everyone in town knows the bray of this donkey is the sound announcing the milk-seller … hilarity ensues.

The funniest part is when Nasruddin confronts his donkey – this happens regularly in Mullah donkey tales – and berates Karakachan, saying “Who’s selling here – you, or me?” And of course, we know the answer – is that the ass is selling, not the man.

Naughty Nasruddin reading at DC LGBT Book Fair, Sat. Aug. 6th

by rjs
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Published on: August 1, 2011

The Naughty Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin and His Hairy Ass

Saturday, August 6 · 6:00pm – 6:30pm

The DC Center for the LGBT Community

1318 U Street NW

Created By
This event is part of the OutWrite LGBT Book Fair:


Ron Suresha will tell authentic, bawdy, queer Turkish folktales and jokes, based on work from his most recent book from GLBTQ publisher Lethe Press, The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero, which Midwest Book Review acclaimed as “a fine pick and very highly recommended.” More at:

Facebook Event Page:

Please come visit Ron at the Lethe Press table at the Outwrite Book Fair, Saturday

Review in Storytelling, Self, Society

The Mullah offers 108 salaams to Dr Bird and to SSS for their fine review!

Our Old Friend, the Mullah:

A Review of

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

SSS cover

from Storytelling, Self, Society:

An interdisciplinary journal of storytelling studies

Volume 7, Number 2, April 2011, pp. 161 – 166


Our Old Friend, the Mullah: A Review of The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

Sandra Bird

[S]uresha, Ron J. The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero, Maple Shade: Lethe,  2011. $18.

The subtitle of Ron Suresha’s new collection of Nasruddin Khoja fables is Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero. It is always interesting to me that so many territories beyond the famed village of Aksehir, Turkey, lay claim to this popular persona. . . .

Suresha identifies the real strength of Nasruddin’s stories in context to world literature and story performance, that is, its power to build bridges between cultures. He relates a personal reference to the mullah stories, as they were [among the] the first stories he learned from his Israeli-American mother. Throughout his life he continued to collect these anecdotes, and as a young adult he found one of Idries Shah’s collections of Nasruddin stories on the shelves in an ashram library. . . .

The intended audience for Suresha’s collection is a contemporary audience of all ages. If the illustration cover by Sgott MacKenzie is any indication of a future market for this collection, we are likely to see Suresha’s book in use for secondary educational environments as well as personal libraries. Suresha refers to this text as a “contemporary retelling,” which is appropriate to the storytelling traditions of Turkey. The point of these stories is to speak to the audience in the language and metaphors that are familiar. Suresha acknowledges that he avoided the “more lurid and pejorative sexual, scatological, ethnic, racist, sexist and violent subjects,” but he [al]ludes to the possibility of including them in a forthcoming collection. I hope Suresha carries out this plan to bring the more compromising stories to an adult audience at a later date—after all, that is part and parcel of the trickster’s trade.

Sandra Bird, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Art Education in the Department of Visual Arts at Kennesaw State University (GA).

Order the complete review in SSS from Informaworld here.

Mullah Nasruddin e-book available from OmniLit

by rjs
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Published on: June 4, 2011

Mullah Nasruddin e-book available from OmniLit

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero

By: Ron Jackson Suresha | Other books by Ron Jackson Suresha

Published By: Lethe Press
ISBN # 9781590211755
Word Count: 75000

Available in: Adobe Acrobat

add to cart


Read More

About the book

Once, when young Nasruddin was acting up in class by distracting his classmates with endless antics, jests, and stories, his irate teacher uttered a curse: “Whatever you do or say, wherever you go or stay, whether it’s night or day — people will only laugh at you.” Now, eight centuries later, children, adults, and wise fools everywhere are still laughing at Nasruddin, one of the world’s most beloved folk characters. This entertaining and insightful retelling of more than 350 Mullah stories brings the famed Persian legend into the 21st Century. Storytellers, folklorists, Sufis, comedians, wisdom seekers, and everyone who loves to laugh will be enriched and enlightened by the timeless wit, inscrutable wisdom, and uncommon sense of humor of Mullah Nasruddin.

An excerpt from the book

Imagine if you can, eight centuries ago, when Mullah Nasruddin was just a child. Like all young Turks his age, Nasruddin attended the grade school for boys, the madrasa, in the village of Akşehir.

One morning, young Nasruddin ran stark naked through the town square and into the madrasa. As he raced by, his friend Hussein called out, “Nasruddin, why aren’t you dressed properly?”

“I overslept for the big test today,” said Nasruddin, trying to cover himself and jog in place to respond, “and so in my crazy rush to make it to school on time, I forgot to put on clothes.”

Get the e-book here from OmniLit / All-Romance Ebooks:



“Very highly recommended” — Midwest Book Review

by rjs
Categories: Reviews
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Published on: February 12, 2011

The Mullah offers 108 salaams to MBR for their fine review!

from Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA),

Small Press Bookshelf, Volume 10, Number 2, February 2011, The humor shelf

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

Ron J. Suresha

Lethe Press

9781590211755, $18.00

A good legend is something hard to keep down. “The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero” is a collection of short fiction original and retold from Ron J. Suresha as he grants readers an exploration of the legend of Nasruddin, beloved throughout the Middle East and Persia for centuries. “The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin” is a fine pick and very highly recommended. review, February 11, 2011

“The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin” — now in print!

by rjs
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Published on: January 1, 2011

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin — now in print!

Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, with author R. Suresha

It’s a book!

This is Ron Suresha, the author of the new book, The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero. I just got my copies of the printed book (you can get yours here), and was reviewing it, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts about the book for folks online.

I remember one of the first Nasruddin jokes I learned, which my mother used to tell me because as a kid I was quite contrary and a real smartass.

Once, young Nasruddin’s mother asked him, “Why do you always answer a question with another question?”
Nasruddin replied, “Do I?”

While living in a number of yoga meditation communities around the USA, I learned many more Nasruddin jokes and stories, which were often used by my teachers as well as by other yoga students to inject humor and wisdom into a conversation or speech.

I remember reading the Idries Shah versions of the Nasruddin corpus in the ashram library after lunchtime, in one of the few spare moments of my day, feeling somewhat guilty that I was drawn more to reading jokes rather than some more lofty yoga scripture in Sanskrit, such as Pratybhijnahridayam or something (though I did study that treatise as well).

Years later, while working as a production editor for Shambhala Publications, I submitted a formal book proposal for a Pocket Classics version reprinted from the Shah volumes, but the publisher, Octagon Press, declined the proposal.

It was then, about 15 years ago, that I started compiling printed collections, indexing stories, and comparing text versions. Finally, about two years ago I started actually writing the stories, and now I offer them with great joy to you.

If you were to read one story or joke daily from the book, you would have more than a year’s worth of humor, wit, wisdom, folly, and fun.

I hope you find The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin enjoyable and enlightening, and invite you to look at samples from the book at the website,

Thanks for reading!

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