Photo credit:  Jen Olenik

Photo credit: Jen Olenik


Tell your story - New York City

The Nocturnists is a podcast and live storytelling event for health care workers. This fall, we are coming to New York City in partnership with Reimagine, a week-long, citywide event series whose goal is to explore the subject of death and dying through art, performance, and design. Our event will take place in the evening on Tuesday, October 30th at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe.

Submissions for this event are closed. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when tickets go on sale.

Join us for an evening of expression and community-building across New York City medical institutions!

Here are some tips on what we're looking for in a story:

1. Put yourself in the story. It's important that you're telling your own story, and not somebody else's.

2. Tell us how you changed. The best stories have an arc of change. How did this experience impact you? Consider dividing your story into a beginning (status quo or buildup), middle (conflict and climax), and end (resolution).

3. Show us your humanity. Don't be afraid to get intimate, tell us about your doubts and flaws, and don't pretend to be perfect or a superhero.

4. Be descriptive. Please share details and texture, as this helps draw the audience in!

5. If your story is serious, please try to include a few moments of humor/levity.

6. Target length is 5-10 minutes. Remember, our storytellers present without notes.

7. You can hear examples of successful stories on our podcast.

8. More tips on live storytelling form the New York Times here.

I'm interested in the New York City event!

Name *
(a sentence or two is fine)
I'm interested in: *
By midnight on Sunday, July 15th, please submit a 2-3 sentence summary of your story, followed by a 300-500 word bullet point outline of the plot. Alternatively, you could e-mail a 5-10 minute audio clip to If selected, you will be paired with a coach who will help you prepare your story for a live audience. This collaboration will involve several hours of dedicated time to story crafting (revising several written/audio drafts).

A note: if you decide to include patients and their friends/family as characters, a good rule of thumb for preserving confidentiality is that your characters should not be able to recognize themselves in your story. Some ways to achieve this: don't include names or dates, consider changing key characteristics (e.g. if a hat or backpack was a key feature of your patient, make it a scarf or a necklace), and don't make diseases too recognizable (e.g. lymphangioleiomyomatosis should be changed to "lung disease"). Alternatively, you can obtain a patient's written permission to use HIPAA-protected information in your story. For a quick review of this issue, check out this article and this article.