News from the world of No You Tell It

Happy Holidays!

Happy holiday season and huge thanks to our No, YOU Tell It! friends and family for an amazing year.

We were truly lucky to hold our first live show in two years at Culture Lab, LIC and we’re getting excited to get back out there in 2022 with more for our upcoming 10th anniversary!

CLICK HERE to help support No, YOU Tell It! 2022: Ten-Year Anniversary Season!
(Plus, your donation is tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, The Field.)

Spark a Stand-Out Story

News about our next No, YOU Tell It! show coming soon! Check back for updates. 

First, we’re pleased to announce that our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is partnering with Timothy Lindner of Revisionary Writing and Editing LLC to offer three FREE college essay writing workshops this summer.
Online College Essay Workshop

If your students or kids are looking to get a running start on their personal statements for college applications, these 1.5-hour sessions can help get them going.

Registration for all three sessions (6/26, 7/24, 8/21) is open at

Contact for more information.

Happy New Year!

Like so many, 2020 was not what we expected. We were rehearsing for our first show at Sunnyside Plays and looking forward to an in-person Lambda Literary story swap when COVID-19 cases exploded in NYC back in March. Our future quickly became uncertain and we weren’t sure if we’d be swapping stories ever again.

Despite technical difficulties, a different genre of performance, and a huge learning curve, we were pleased to deliver two virtual story swaps. We hope listening to the stories provided a needed respite.

Storytelling has both the power to elicit empathy and create connection, and though we couldn’t physically be together we hope both of these things came through the screen. We’re especially grateful to everyone who came out to support the storytellers. And if you missed the shows, check out our podcast!

From top left clockwise: Heather Quinlan, Sokunthary Svay, Gail Thomas, Charlotte Marchant, Nita Noveno, Calvin S. Cato, Nancy Agabian, Nicole Shawan Junior.

Our virtual shows raised nearly $1000 for the Woodside/Sunnyside Community COVID-19 Food Relief Group – You can still donate here: Use the dropdown to indicate Covid 19 Sunnyside/Woodside Food Distribution (or Venmo @KellyJean-Fitzsimmons who will collect and donate).

In the spirit of giving, we appreciate any end-of-year donations you are able to make in support of  No, YOU Tell It! Make your tax-deductible donation directly here or through the DONATE button below – any and all amounts help make shows like “Precious” and “Coming  & Going” possible.

And LASTLY, thanks to all of our partners and elves behind the scenes who helped along the way, including but not limited to: The Brooklyn Book FestivalLambda LiteraryRevisionary Writing and Editing LLCAstoria BookshopQueens Council on the Arts, Amanda Sisk, Noah Diamond, Erika Marit Iverson, Mike Dressel, & Tim Lindner.

Until next time, check in on our podcast where you can listen to any of our past shows on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @noyoutellit for the latest updates and information on upcoming events in 2021!

Wishing you all the best for a bright new year,
Kelly Jean

Snail Mail Story Swaps

Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company. – Lord Byron

What’s your story been in the last three months since we had to postpone our March 12th “Precious” show?

How would you like to trade tales with a member of the No, YOU Tell It! community snail mail style? Email us at to be paired with a pen-pal.

We will match you up. Then take it from there to trade tales, report on how you can keep the momentum going to create positive social change, and whatever else may evolve.

We’ve thought a lot about what No, YOU Tell It! should or could say in response to the recent horrific events and the long history of racial injustice that led to them.

Our own Kelly Jean recently taught an online workshop centered around Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, which explores racial aggressions in everyday encounters and the media. These words Rankine shared as part of 826NYC’s quarenTEEN voices resonated with us:

This is how you talk or write about difficult things: you do it assuming that you don’t know. Over and over you hear that you have to write about what you know. The way to approach difficult things is to approach them as difficult things. You approach them with questions rather than positions. The making of art is not about showing how smart you are or proving anything, but really just exploring the subject so you can understand it better.

No, YOU Tell It! is all about creating stronger empathetic connections by trading stories and sharing life experiences to better understand each other. Help keep the story swapping going by signing up to be paired with a pen-pal.

EMAIL to sign up and/or with any questions.

In support of Newtown Literary and Queens Voices

We’ve had the honor of working many members of the Newtown Literary community over the years and wanted to share their words today in support of their mission to emphasize the creative writing of those who are marginalized and silenced.

The stories of Queens are the stories of this country and our world.

We here at Newtown Literary stand against racism and injustice of any kind. We honor George Floyd and countless others who have paid the price of white supremacy with their lives, many in New York City. We acknowledge the life-and-death nature of this situation. #BlackLivesMatter is a universal truth. Black people have the same rights as everyone else, and we condemn the abhorrent act of disregarding anyone’s right to life and liberty based on the color of their skin. The rights to learn, create, and succeed in the literary community fall under this banner.

In this time when the feeling of powerlessness is pervasive, the staff of Newtown Literary has been spending the last several days reflecting on how we can affect actual change, not just make lukewarm statements of support on social media that disappear when the headlines change. We believe that stories and poetry can be a form of action.

Read the full statement here and reach out through the Contact page on their website.

June 3, 2020 Post Comment News Tags:

Eight-Year Anniversary Celebration on DP TV!

Today, May 8th marks eight years of No, YOU Tell It!  Celebrate with this special look at last year’s Lambda Literary team-up show by filmmaker and alum storyteller Ariel Mahler. Then join the party on our NYTI FB page.

Comment on and/or share this featurette by 11:59 pm (Cinderella time!) for a chance to win a $100 Bookseller’s Choice Book Bundle from The Astoria Bookshop.

Our virtual May 8th anniversary celebration is being featured on DP TV. Spread the word! Like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Instagram and invite friends to do the same. If we receive 80 new followers on May 8th, we’ll donate $100 to Dixon Place. 

DP TV programs are free to watch, and your kind donations offset the loss of ticket and beverage sales that keep the visionary fires burning! Support DP

Shout Out to Queens Storytellers

We are so appreciative of the support we’ve received from the Queens Council on the Arts over the years.

Here are some updates from No, YOU Tell It! alum storytellers living in the epicenter of Queens.

It’s hard to believe but our eight-year anniversary is coming up on May 8th.

Our planned “Coming & Going” show is on hold for now, but we do have some social-distanced surprises in store.

LIKE our Facebook page and FOLLOW us on Instagram for updates on how to celebrate and perhaps win a Bookseller’s Choice Bundle from The Astoria Bookshop.

Strength To Our Storytellers

Sending strength to our community of storytellers who are struggling with new and continued losses in this time of crisis. Here are just a few of the faces we’ve had the honor of working with over the years.

Listen to live story swaps from our shows on the No, YOU Tell It! podcast. (Also available on iTunes, AudioBoom, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.)

Big hugs (virtual for now) and love to you all – today, tomorrow, and always.

April 8, 2020 Post Comment News

Thank You! We Did It!

No, thank YOU to all who helped us reach and PASS our fundraising goal with $5230 raised in 2019 to compensate our artists, create more opportunities for people to experience each other’s stories, and develop the series.

More news about No, YOU Tell It! 2020 coming SOON. Meanwhile, give a listen to live story swaps on our podcast.

Considering “Why?” This Giving Tuesday

A note from creator/producer Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons this #GivingTuesday. Click here to donate.

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday and considering the question of “Why?” … Why donate to No, YOU Tell It! Why do I, personally, put so much work in? The answer resides in these words of trepidation that I often hear from participants about the value of their personal story:

“Why had I agreed to do this? Who was I to even attempt a prose form? A performance piece? Why did I think I deserved to have any kind of attention?” – poet Pichchenda Bao, NYTI “aMuse”

The NYTI creative team gives each show our all because we believe: YOUR SLICE OF LIFE IS AS VALUABLE AS ANYONE ELSE’S IN THE WORLD!

Everything we do is worth witnessing storytellers speak each other’s words aloud to empower their voices on the page and stage. In 2019, we:

  • Worked with 17 storytellers
  • Curated 3 live shows
  • Plus 1 special student story swap event!
  • Produced 6 new podcast episodes

All to give life and attention to the value of each other’s stories.

As of today, we need 23 people to donate $25 to REACH our 2019 goal of $5000 raised! Can you be one of them?

Click here to make your tax-deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor The Field. 

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