WWS is expanding!

Click the More tab to read about the transformation of Working with Stories into a four-volume set, including a "picture book" simplified version, a sourcebook with questions and case studies, and the long-awaited book-o-many-details. You can read draft versions of (some of) the new books now.

Reader quotes

"I wanted to say thanks for making Working with Stories available. It's an amazing piece of work, so simple (not the ideas, but the presentation) and unintimidating."

"Your detailed description of [the sensemaking] process is so useful and helpful. It makes seasoned facilitators like me yearn to try out the ideas."

"Over the past few months I have been reading, reflecting, and feasting on your experiences working with stories. I am really excited to have found Working With Stories because it seems like a rich set of options for our needs."

"Your terminology and explanation of participatory narrative inquiry have helped me greatly in understanding what I want from my practice and what I might be capable of achieving in social change."

"I have been returning to Working With Stories time and again over the past six months to help support a community project, and my printed copy is underlined, noted and dog-eared."

Bibliographic citation

Kurtz, C. 2014. Working with Stories in Your Community or Organization: Participatory Narrative Inquiry. Third Edition. New York: Kurtz-Fernhout Publishing.

Like the book? Take the course!

The PNI Practicum is a series of online, project-based courses that help you carry out your first PNI project with expert guidance and peer support.

Like the book? Try the software!

NarraFirma is companion software to Working with Stories. The book describes the use of NarraCat, but I've since moved on to develop something even better. Many of the questions and recommendations you can find in NarraFirma come straight out of Working with Stories. So if you're looking for practical help carrying out Participatory Narrative Inquiry projects, look no further.

My second book is about working with complexity in your community or organization.

Confluence is about working with complexity as it truly exists in human lives and societies: intermingled with intentional actions. The book lays out seven thinking tools designed to help individuals and groups make sense of situations, think about how things got to be the way they are, weigh options, consider risks and opportunities, and understand differing points of view.

The group exercise described in Confluence can be used - with the stories you collect - in the sensemaking phase of a participatory narrative project. It can help you think together about organized plans and self-organized patterns as they flow together through your community or organization.

About me

Hi. I'm Cynthia Kurtz. I wrote the first edition of Working with Stories in 2008 and the second edition in 2009. I finished the greatly expanded third edition in 2014. I estimate that I have put about 2.5 person-years into all three editions of the book. Crazy? Maybe.

I am a researcher, consultant, writer, and software developer. I have been helping communities and organizations work with their stories since 1999. I have consulted on more than 100 narrative projects for a variety of government agencies and for-profit and non-profit corporations. Working with a series of collaborators, I developed participatory narrative inquiry, an approach to story work that helps communities and organizations make better, more grounded decisions by making sense of their own stories.

You can read more about my professional history on my web site at cfkurtz.com. (Click on "Bio" in the menu for the full story.)