Join 2018 Festival authors Stefan Merrill Block, Noy Holland and GennaRose Nethercott, along with special guests Michael Preston and Matthew Dicks for improvisational storytelling based on Synapsis, a new storytelling prompt and game from Storymatic Studios (Brian Mooney and Vaune Trachtman)
Here’s how it works: The storytellers will draw cards from the Synapsis box. The cards prompt them to write one sentence. Then they answer questions about the story that sentence comes from— and as they improvise their answers, they begin to discover the story, setting, and characters. Audience participation welcome!
A Little Box of Yes is kind of like if you crossed “Selected Shorts” with “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me” and The Moth.
Michael Preston lived for many years in New York and was a member of the Shaliko Company, founded by Leonardo Shapiro. He also worked with such artists as John Sayles, Richard Elovich, David Cale, Wynn Handman and Theodora Skipitares. From 1991 until 2000 he toured the world as one of the Flying Karamazov Brothers, which included three different runs on Broadway. With them he collaborated on and performed 9 different shows, ranging from the post-modern tragedy Le Petomane, to an update of Room Service (winner of an L.A. critic’s award in 1998). They were nominated for an Olivier award in London for best Comedy in 1994. He directed their latest show, Life: A Guide for the Perplexed. Preston is currently an Associate Professor of Theater and Dance at Trinity College.
Matthew Dicks is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something Missing, Unexpectedly, Milo, The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, and his new, non-fiction book Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Power of Storytelling. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide. Matthew is a 35-time Moth StorySLAM champion and 5-time GrandSLAM champion whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast. He has also told stories for The American Life, TED, The Colin McEnroe Show, The Story Collider, The Liar Show, Literary Death Match, The Mouth, and many others. He is a regular guest on several Slate podcasts, including The Gist, where he is teaching storytelling.
Stefan Merrill Block grew up in Plano, Texas. His first book, The Story of Forgetting, was an international bestseller and the winner of Best First Fiction at the Rome International Festival of Literature, The Ovid Prize from the Romanian Writer’s Union, the 2008 Merck Serono Literature Prize and the 2009 Fiction Award from The Writers’ League of Texas. Following the publication of his second novel, The Storm at the Door, Stefan was awarded The University of Texas Dobie-Paisano Fellowship. Stefan’s novels have been translated into ten languages, and his stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker Page-Turner, The Guardian, NPR’s Radiolab, GRANTA, The Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Texas Monthly described his third novel, Oliver Loving, as “A charged and hopeful story of a West Texas family seeking a way forward in the aftermath of a school shooting.” He lives in Brooklyn.
GennaRose Nethercott is the author of The Lumberjack’s Dove, selected by Louise Glück as a winner of the National Poetry Series. Her other projects include A Ghost of Water (an ekphrastic collaboration with printmaker Susan Osgood) and the narrative song collection Modern Ballads. Her work has appeared in The Offing, Rust & Moth, PANK, and elsewhere, and she has been a writer-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center, Art Farm Nebraska, and the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris. She tours nationally and internationally composing poems-to-order for strangers on a 1952 Hermes Rocket typewriter– and is the founder of the Traveling Poetry Emporium, a team of poets-for-hire. Nethercott holds a degree in poetry, theatre, and folklore from Hampshire College. A Vermont native, she has lived in many cities across the US and Europe, but is always drawn back to the forest.
’s latest work is I Was Trying to Describe What It Feels Like: New and Selected Stories
, out now from Counterpoint Press. Noy’s debut novel, Bird
, came out in 2015 to much critical acclaim
. Other collections of short fiction and novellas include Swim for the Little One First
(FC2), What Begins with Bird
(FC2), and The Spectacle of the Body
(Knopf). She has published work in The Kenyon Review, Antioch, Conjunctions, The Quarterly, Glimmer Train, Western Humanities Review, The Believer, NOON,
and New York Tyrant,
among others. She was a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council award for artistic merit and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She has taught for many years in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts, as well as at Phillips Andover and the University of Florida. She serves on the board of directors at Fiction Collective Two.
Brian David Mooney is a recipient of a 2019 creation grant from the Vermont Arts Council and the NEA to support his novel, The Secret List of Frank Dodge. He has published essays, fiction, and poetry in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellevue Literary, Cincinnati Review, Crazyhorse, and other journals from further into the alphabet. His essays about the creative process were presented by Leonard Nimoy for United States Artists at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Paramount Studios, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Although he’s never won a Moth Slam like Kate and Matthew have, he has presented at The Moth and was once part of a Moth Mainstage show about baseball. He is the creator of The Storymatic family of creative prompts, which includes Rememory and Synapsis.
Vaune Trachtman is a photographer and printmaker. Her work will be on display at the Editions/Artists’ Book Fair in NYC, October 25-28 at The Tunnel in Chelsea. When she’s not working on making beautiful photopolymer gravures and Chine-collé, she helps make things happen at Storymatic Studios.