Edmonton’s Story Slam gives local writers a voice

Each month, Edmonton plays host to the Edmonton Story Slam, a competitive story-telling event that boasts absolutely no censorship. Local writers, bloggers, and storytellers are invited to read their work in front of the crowd, after which five random audience members will make the final call on the winner.

Story Slammers have five minutes to tell their story, with an absolute maximum of seven minutes. The winner receives all of the money donated by the audience during the hat-passing intermission.

Notable past winners include Omar Mouallem, Wade Kelly, Alyssa Hudson, Jason Lee Norman, and many more.

“As humorous as her emails were, without intending to be so, my mom’s genuine concern and sincere interest in the going-ons of our busy lives always rang through in her writing.” (Excerpt from “Inbox”)

Hosted by the Edmonton Story Slam Society, which has been around since 2006, the April iteration of the event took place on Wednesday, April 16, at Daravara on 124 street. This event marked the beginning of the new Story Slam season, which runs for 11 months before the final Slam Off in March.

photo 4The winner of the April Story Slam was pulp contributor and local writer/kindergarten teacher Kelsey Beier, who read a touching story about her recently deceased mother and the internet-based connection they stolidly maintained while Kelsey was traveling.

We caught up with Kelsey to ask her about her Story Slam experience.

Was this your first time reading at the Edmonton Story Slam? How did it feel? Were you nervous?

This was my first time reading at the Edmonton Story Slam, although I had attended previously as a spectator and always thought that it was something I would like to take part in some time. It felt great to be a participant this time around. It was definitely a little bit nerve-racking but I am used to presenting and performing in front of a variety of audiences so I was ready for the challenge.

“And so, feeling more liberated and weightless than ever before, I travel now as an emptied vessel with an open heart and an open mind.” (Excerpt from “Inbox”)

What was the inspiration for your story and why?

The inspiration for my story, and much of my writing currently, was my mother. She passed away fairly suddenly last summer so I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything, and writing about her is one of the many ways that I am learning to remember her and keep her story alive.

Why do you think these kinds of events are important for local writers?

Photo Credit: Edmonton Story Slam

Events like Edmonton Story Slam are important for local writers as it gives them an outlet to showcase their personal work in a public setting. I was interested to see how other writers and listeners would respond to my work, as well as have the opportunity to share a story that is very close to my heart. Having been to the event a few times now, I can easily see how a sense of community develops amongst the writers and the volunteers of Edmonton Story Slam who run the event. Everyone was super nice and welcoming, and most of the other writers came up to me after the event to congratulate me. There was even a spectator who came up and said that she loved my story and that she is thinking about participating in the future. To me, this is the whole reason I love sharing my work. The idea of inspiring others in some way to do what they like to do.

Will you be entering the Story Slam again?

I will most definitely be participating in the Edmonton Story Slam again. In fact, having won the April Story Slam means that I will have the chance to participate in the Edmonton Story Slam Off which will include the winners from each month and will take place in March 2015.

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