About No, YOU Tell It!

Write your story. Perform someone else’s.

No, YOU Tell It! is a nonfiction reading series that advocates for authentic personal stories by having storytellers speak each other’s words aloud, empowering their voices on the page and stage. Our collaborative workshop process equips writers of all levels with literary tools to elevate the impact of their words.

Switching stories to embody each other’s experience in a live performance creates stronger empathetic connections for both the storytellers and audience members.

For each show, the NYTI team — Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons, Mike Dressel, and Erika Iverson — lead four storytellers through two writing workshop sessions to tell their true-life tale on the page. Then about a week before the show, we pair up our storytellers and ask them to trade scripts. When one of our storytellers speaks their partner’s piece aloud, it does two important things: One, it gives that storyteller a chance to step into another person’s shoes. Two, the writer hears their own story in a different voice. Everyone gains new insight into their writing and storytelling as they share these true-life tales with our live audience and podcast listeners.

The No, YOU Tell It! Team

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons
Creator and Producer
Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a writer, teacher, and storyteller. Her recent nonfiction work has appeared in Hippocampus Magazine, Marie Claire, Black Fox Literary Magazine, The Literary Review (TLR), Newtown Literary, and she is a 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her superhero comedy, All I Want Is One More Meanwhile... recently made its Midwest premiere at Otherworld Theatre in Chicago. After earning her MFA in creative nonfiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Kelly Jean combined her love for theater and literature to create No, YOU Tell It! Follow Kelly Jean on Twitter @KJ_Fitzsimmons
Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons WebsiteKelly Jean Fitzsimmons Twitter
Mike Dressel
Producer and Director
Mike Dressel is a writer whose work has appeared in Burning House Press, Jellyfish Review, Litbreak, Chelsea Station, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn, among others, as well as in the anthologies Best Gay Stories 2016 and Best Gay Stories 2017. He was a frequent guest judge for the flash fiction reading series The Prose Bowl, and a panelist on the live comedy news show Fight the Feed. He teaches at The City College of New York.
Mike Dressel WebsiteMike Dressel Twitter
Erika Iverson
Director and Dramaturg
Erika Iverson is a New York based theatre artist and storyteller. She is proud to be part of the creative team at No, YOU Tell It! where she serves as director, dramaturg, and cheerleader for non-linear storytelling. In recent years Erika has performed at La MaMa ETC, The Cornelia Street Café, Fez, the Abington Theatre Company, The Knitting Factory, and Judson Street Church, created original roles with the Magis Theatre Company and This Is Not A Theatre Company, and directed for One Woman Standing and the United Solo Festival.
Email Erika IversonErika Iverson Twitter


NYTI: "Wild Card"
September 19, 2014

No, YOU Tell It! was my first storytelling experience--my first time standing up in front of a crowd delivering a story. And because of NYTI, I feel as though I've found my passion. I have gone on to perform in storytelling events after NYTI, including several Moth StorySlams. With each performance I become more and more comfortable with my storytelling skills, and I give credit every time to NYTI--they lit the spark!

NYTI: "Uproar"
November 21, 2014

I had a wonderful experience working with Kelly Jean, Erika, and Mike. Being exposed to the processes of the other writers in our group was valuable and enlightening, and I know my own work benefited greatly from our conversations around the table. I was particularly taken with the public reading event itself, attended by a supportive and enthusiastic audience, in an atmosphere of warmth and levity. I would gladly participate in No, YOU Tell It! again, and would recommend the experience to anyone who's interested in writing or storytelling.

NYTI: "Revival"
April 15, 2015

I found the most frustrating part of writing stories, memoirs, anecdotes is repeating the same voice without a grasp of how I sound.  I came across No, YOU Tell It! by accident and it proved to be super valuable for hearing the voice and rhythm in my story. After the first session and hearing someone read my piece I was able to chop off some bad habits I had developed (mostly dealing with the flow of words and poorly placed humor). The breakdown of sessions helped develop the themes I was overlooking from the piece and find a strong balance between humor and grounded narrative.

The most valuable piece of No, YOU Tell It! was literally hearing work read and interpreted by different participants each week, ultimately being performed and curated by a different performer - a very, very unique opportunity.  It's had a very positive effect on the development of further work.

NYTI "Blanked"
September 27, 2016

I found the entire process of the No, YOU Tell It! series to be incredibly valuable. The workshopping aspect of it allowed me to view my essay from a number of different angles, and having readers with a variety of backgrounds helped to make the piece stronger. And there's something about hearing a piece you wrote read by someone else that allows you to see it in a new light, exposing new facets of it that I might not have been aware of otherwise. 

NYTI: "Blanked"
September 27, 2016

As a playwright and lyricist, I hadn't penned a short story since grade school. I also hadn't performed since my first year out of college, but No, You Tell It! was the perfect place to get back to both! The feedback from the NYTI team and my fellow writers helped me to craft a story I was thrilled to share, and reading the other artists' work was an absolute privilege. NYTI is a wonderful meeting of talent and a celebration of the purity of writing.