News from the world of No You Tell It

From Page to Stage: Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute Workshop


Excited to share that Mike Dressel and Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons are teaching a five-week workshop in collaborative creative nonfiction at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence this fall: ‘

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 until Tuesday, October 23, 2018 from 10-12 PM.

Click here for registration details.  & Help us spread the news!

From Page to Stage: Writing Creative Nonfiction for Performance with Mike Dressel and Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Nothing informs your story like hearing someone else perform your story!

Compose a creative nonfiction story using the collaborative process created by the producers of the nonfiction reading series, No, YOU Tell It!

Whether developing a true-life tale for a venue like The Moth or RISK! or working to sharpen it for publication, our “page to stage” process allows writers to gain a new perspective on the story they want to tell by hearing their words read out loud by someone else, while also improving their own stage presence.

This five-week session takes you from brainstorming, through drafting, to a finished piece of creative nonfiction.

  • Session one features generative exercises such as “I Remember” and “Sensory Blitz” to brainstorm memorable moments and sharpen sensory details.
  • Sessions two and three feature group exercises with targeted feedback for each writer. We’ll also explore revision strategies to find shape and structure, develop your “I-character,” and raise the stakes.
  • Sessions four and five address pacing in performance, strengthening story beats, and rehearsing basic stage techniques to help embody your partner’s story and give it a little oomph in the final reading.

By the end of this workshop, participants take an idea from a thematic suggestion all the way through to a polished draft, engage in useful feedback and revision techniques, and consider the importance of audience and delivery.

Click here for registration details! 

No, YOU Tell It! is a “switched-up” storytelling series dedicated to performing true-life tales with a twist: Each participant develops their own story on the page and then flip scripts with a partner to present each other’s story on stage. We’ve found that this shared storytelling format creates a sense of trust and ownership, and blends the collaborative process of creative writing workshops with the intimacy and immediacy of theatrical performance.

Mike Dressel is a writer and educator. His work has appeared in publications such as Litbreak, The James Franco ReviewChelsea Station, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn, among others, as well as in the anthologies Best Gay Stories 2016 and Best Gay Stories 2017. He has been a judge for The Prose Bowl, a flash fiction reading series, and a panelist on the comedy news show Fight the Feed.

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a writer, teacher, and storyteller. Her recent work has appeared in Hippocampus MagazineMarie ClaireBlack Fox Literary MagazineNewtown Literary, and she is a 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee. After earning her MFA in creative nonfiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University, she created No, YOU Tell It!, a switched-up storytelling series with a twist: Each NYTI participant develops their own story on the page and then flips scripts with a partner to present each other’s story on stage.

“Mayday” Glory

What a glorious night of story swapping at The Astoria Bookshop. Thank you to everyone who came out on May 10th for our “Mayday” show!

pictured left to right: M Skye Holly, Angela Cobb, Ryan Holmes, and Allison Escoto

Podcast episodes featuring the live show available soon here and on iTunes. SUBSCRIBE today!

Talking Literary Citizenship with Newtown Literary

Our “Mayday” show is tonight, 6:30 at The Astoria Bookshop! While you wait, give a LISTEN to our own Kelly Jean on Episode 2 of Newtown Literary’s Queens Writes Podcast.

Newtown Literary Alliance Executive Director, Tim Fredrick, and Newtown Literary Editor, Jackie Sherbow, speak with four local Queens writers, Nancy Agabian, Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons, Catherine LaSota, and Joseph Salvatore about literary citizenship—including how to get involved with your literary community and how to write book reviews and author interviews.

Come Sip-N-Scribe!

We’re super excited for our first “Mayday” story meeting tomorrow! Save the date for the show – May 10th – at The Astoria Bookshop. More info on the switched-up storytellers soon.

Want to get in on the writing? Come Sip-N-Scribe at QED in Astoria the THIRD TUESDAY every month at 8 pm with our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons and alum Jenn Wehrung.

Sip-N-Scribe is a fun evening of creative writing prompts, idea swapping, and drink-sipping. The goal is to experiment with something new on the page in an informal, relaxed way, all while enjoying an evening out with your friends while making new ones.

Hope to see you!!

April 10, 2018 Post Comment News

Alum Fun Update: Nelson Lugo’s “Cheating Death: Magic, Memoirs & Mortality”

Nelson Lugo’s one-man shows feature slight-of-hand and are full of heart as he interweaves magic with storytelling. We were honored to have him develop a deeply personal story with us for our “Wild Card” show. Click here to give a listen to his true-life tale “Crazy Sad” about magic, mental institutions, and the miracle of a well-made cookie in Episode 16.

Coming up on April 7th! Grab a ticket see Nelson’s newest show – Cheating Death: Magic, Memoirs & Mortality – a personal examination of one magician’s life – or more specifically – his many brushes with death.

The raw vulnerability in the stories is heightened by the wonder, intimacy, and sometimes danger of the classically performed parlour magic. The result is a joyful celebration of life and all of its varied deaths.

Click here for more info and to buy tickets.

Alum Fun Update: Jenn Wehrung’s “Takin U Back”

Along with being the co-host of Laugh It Up, Astoria, Jenn Wehrung from our “Three Strikes” show also has one of the funniest and most entertaining podcasts around.

Give a listen to Takin U Back, where Robb & Jenn dissect a given year in terms of pop culture, history, and more! Three episodes – 1977, 2003, 1968 – available on iTunes or Soundcloud with more soon.


See you on May 10th for our No, YOU Tell It! “Mayday” show at The Astoria Bookshop.  Check back for info on the storytellers!

Alum Fun Update: Alex Gray’s “Photo Play”

Alex Gray first switched-up her true-life tale in our Urban Dwellers show. Later, she took part in an impromptu on-the-spot story swap with our own Mike Dressel. Click here to give a listen.

Coming up on March 21st – ONE NIGHT ONLY performance at Dixon Place – is Alex’s original piece Photo Play about personal snapshots: how they connect us, shape our identities, and dictate the stories and memories that remain after we’re gone. Alex workshopped portions of the script our NYTI alumnae sessions, which she stated were –

“Invaluable in helping me clarify the characters and hone the overall intention of the piece. As rehearsals roll on, I’ve been thinking a lot about those early sessions, and how having the opportunity to hear the text read aloud and (gently) teased apart with helpful questions was a crucial part of the development process. I am so grateful to have had the attention and input of NYTI’s talented crew.”

Did we mention Photo Play is one night only? Click here for more info OR here to buy tickets.

With original music by Ben & Kris Stoker, and a cast that includes Coco Conroy, Ivanna Cullinan*, Jane Kahler*, Renita Lewis, and Margaret O’Sullivan. Original portraiture by Steve Baird.

We are so proud of Alex and excited to see how what we read in those early sessions comes to life on stage. Hope you can join us on March 21st!

Don’t forget to SAVE THE DATE for our next show! No, YOU Tell It! “Mayday” at The Astoria Bookshop on May 10th.

Back at it! News, Alum updates, and Upcoming Reading with our own KJ

Good news! The NYTI creative team has emerged from hibernation and is busy planning a NEW SHOW this spring at The Astoria Bookshop. Save the date, May 10th! Check back for more info and updates about all the wonders our NYTI alum storytellers have been up to since switching up their true-life tale.

First up, our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a featured reader this Sunday, March 4th, as part of the Literary Sundays reading series at Maple Grove Cemetery. She will be reading her personal essay, “Easter Eggs,” recently published in the anthology From Pantyhose to Spandex: Writers on Job Redux, which is available on Amazon.

Hope to see you there. The event is FREE, plus light refreshments!



February 27, 2018 Post Comment News

Newtown Literary’s Book Trivia Night!

We were excited to play – and WIN – this year’s Newtown Literary Book Trivia Quiz.

Eeeking out our victory by only ONE POINT over the fabulous team Poetry & Coffee, we took home a big bag of prizes including books, gift cards form Astoria coffee, tickets to the Museum of the Moving Image and, of course, BOOKS!

Click here to read some of the trivia questions we rocked. How many could you get right?

The money raised will help Newtown Literarying bring a kids writing contest, podcast, and professional development panels to Queens in 2018!

Submissions are now open (through 1/10/18) for Issue 12! Submit your work to Newtown Literary at:

It was great to get the crew together after being on hiatus. The wheels are turning as we make plans for No, YOU Tell It! 2018. Check back for more news soon!!

November 19, 2017 Post Comment News

Boundless Tales TONIGHT

Our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is excited to be one of six Queens-based emerging writers – along with Victoria Adler, Jamey Hansen, Jason Ferguson, Katie Flanagan, and Claire Zajdel – reading work at tonight’s Boundless Tales at The Local in LIC.

Click here for more info and to RSVP via Facebook.

Founded in 2011, Boundless Tales: A Series for Emerging Writers gives a platform to the best emerging writers in Queens, NY, the city’s largest and most diverse borough.

Writers! Boundless Tales is now accepting submissions from Queens-based emerging writers for their second reading of the season in February. Click here for  submission guidelines and pass the word along!


1 2 3 4 5 11