Photo credit:  Jen Olenik

Photo credit: Jen Olenik


Tell your story

Do you have a story to tell about death and dying?

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. The exact date and venue are still TBD, but our event will take place during the Reimagine week, which is 10/27-11/3.

If you're interested in taking part in our New York event as an audience member, volunteer, or storyteller, please fill out the form below and forward this website to friends, family, and colleagues. We accept submissions from all health care workers, including doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, chaplains, and hospital administrators. If your story is selected, you will be paired with a coach who will help you craft/polish your narrative so that you feel ready to bring it to a live audience.

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

FYI, 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: *
(a brief outline is good) *instead of writing a brief outline, you may also e-mail a 5-10 minute audio clip to

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.