Learn the art of Live Storytelling from a New York Times-Bestselling Humorist, Moth Performer, Actress and Activist

There are no available registration dates at this time.

NOTE: This class will be held in a live, online format using the Zoom Platform.
Class meets Mon/Wed/Fri 3:30-6pm ET

In life, business, and in advocacy, it’s important to know the art of storytelling. Learn how to carry an audience with you into the heart of a true story.

Telling stories allows us to process experiences, widen perspectives across different demographics, encourage empathy and create supportive spaces among students, communicate effectively in the business world and is a powerful tool for advocacy. Embrace the liberating power of writing and telling your story with skill, confidence, and authority.

Annabelle Gurwitch is a master storyteller, performer and activist. She’s a New York Times bestselling author and finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor Writing. Annabelle’s recent Los Angeles Times personal essay bringing attention to housing insecurity is a finalist for a Los Angeles Press Club Excellence in Journalism Award. She’s been featured in Time Magazine’s annual “Ten Ideas that are Changing the World” issue: and her work on stage has earned her inclusion in both New York and Los Angeles’, “Top Ten Performances of the Year” annual round-up. PBS’ ALL ARTS streaming is currently featuring Annabelle in the Uncommon Voices series spotlighting theater artists creating work with a social justice theme.

Through her appearances on The Moth, numerous NPR commentaries and interviews, Oprah, and Real Time With Bill Maher, years of hosting the popular Dinner & a Movie; and in her best-selling books and pieces for The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere, she has demonstrated her ability to command a wide audience through the storyteller’s art.

This week is for storytellers, writers, teachers, performers, students, executives, and anyone who wants to understand the dynamics of crafting a story that’s concise and compelling; one that allows you to make an authentic connection with your audience.

Students come with stories from memoirs in progress, journalistic pieces they’d like to turn into stories, Moth stories, and advocacy speeches they’re preparing for presentation. Students bring both well-developed narratives and the barest sliver of ideas, and sometimes even several ideas. Through instructor mentorship and group brainstorming, writers hone a single story over the duration of the workshop. Drawing upon her background as a writer and performer, this workshop works on two tracks: writing and performing.

The week culminates in a live storytelling event presented live, on-line, Moth style, without notes, to the Maine community and invited guests at the end of the workshop.

Course Content:

Brainstorming sessions:
Students share their works in progress and the group gives feedback on issues with their story.

Writing Craft:
Instructor led interactive discussion:
Elements of writing and telling a successful story
Building timelines, mapping, outlining, other ways to develop a story’s
Overarching theme and narrative
Opportunities for humor and deepening dramatic moments
Editing, how to break down editing, draft by draft
Essays v. memoir v. op-ed
Checklist for developing a writing practice

Daily performing track for storytelling workshop:
Vocal warm ups using technique developed by Kristin Linklater (founder of Shakespeare on the Mount and author of Freeing the Natural Voice)
Projection and diction exercises
Presentation coaching and rehearsal

Guest Speakers:
Annabelle assembles a group of storytellers and writers that share their expertise and invite Q&A.

During daily writing sessions,  writers meet in check in sessions with Annabelle individually.

Optional evening quiet on-line timed group writing meet ups.

What students say about Annabelle’s Class:

Take this class. Whether you are a professional writer, a beginner, or somewhere in between, take this class. Whether you love public speaking or it brings you to your knees, take this class. Annabelle Gurwitch will change the way you see your writing, and make you do things you never thought you could do. You will learn to loosen your mind and your body. You will grow to understand the difference between a narrative and a police report, and you will emerge as a teller of your story like you never thought you could be. You will laugh, because Annabelle Gurwitch is as funny in person as she is in her books. You will cry because of what you are capable of accomplishing. You won’t look back, only forward at what you will write next.”

-Judith Sandler, educator and writer, Maine Media Workshops Live Storytelling 2019

Annabelle’s class was so much more than the usual writer’s group. To get our words flowing, she pulled techniques from everywhere but the standard writers’ guides. We used acting, movement, and public speaking to tell our stories on the page and then finally, on the stage. It was a unique, diverse group and I still trade weekly writing with another  writer I met in the class, keeping us both accountable and achieving one of Annabelle’s stated goals, guiding her students to create a supportive writing community.

-Lynn Branecky, advertising copy writer and essayist, Live Storytelling workshop 2018

“I took this workshop with Annabelle in preparation for telling my personal story of having Lyme Disease to congressional members in an effort to increase funding for tick borne diseases.  With Annabelle’s, I told my story better than I ever have when it counted the most. It was compelling and I received feedback from my audience that it was effective. In the end, with help from many others, the bill was passed.

-Heather Hearst, Lyme Disease advocate , Live Storytelling 2019


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Instructor: Annabelle Gurwitch

Annabelle Gurwitch is a master storyteller, performer, and activist.

She’s a New York Times Bestselling author of five essay collections, whose most recent work You're Leaving When? Adventures in Downward Mobility is a 2021 New York Times Favorite Book for Healthy Living, a Good Morning America Must Read and a finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor Writing 2022. Her first personal journalist work is supported by The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, founded by her mentor and friend Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed.

Gurwitch uses her essays and live talks to support causes including housing insecurity, bridging economic insecurity, and is currently chronicling living with stage iv lung cancer and inequities in healthcare since her out-of-the-blue diagnosis during covid in the New York Times, Washington Post, and in keynotes at scientific conferences in Vienna, Rome, and Brisbane. She co-hosts Tiny Victories, a (tiny) podcast dedicated to cultivating an appreciation of minor triumphs and small mercies.