the living art of storytelling in Massachusetts

The major contributions to storytelling by a culture will be featured as unifying themes and we are starting with Mother Africa.  It felt more poetic that "Pan African storytelling" and for us this title signifies how deeply African culture is embedded in art and how all of us humans owe a huge debt to the many cultures of Africa,  the  "Cradle of mankind, baobab of the soul..."  Storytelling especially is connected; from Aesop to Brother Blue, people from African cultures have a rich and deep traditions in the art of storytelling that have directly  informed many other culture's folk lore.  


We will pick 5 tellers for each night and leave two slots for sign-up and random choice from “the hat”.  

Pre-selected tellers get in free and must arrive by 6:30pm to claim slot

This program challenges tellers of traditional stories with the following guidelines:

- tell a story no longer than a 7:59 minutes

- the story must be fiction and

- from any folk or world tradition

- the story may NOT be a literary work,

must be the teller’s own version, in their own words, of a folk tale [random examples: Rumplestiltskin, Cinderella, Foolish Hans, Anansi tales, Giufa, etc.] and

- all  story genres are permitted:   (parable, myth, legend, fable, tall tale etc.)

tellers may use poetry, props, costumes, music BUT no notes

We have secured the prizes and the audience will choose winners

The theme is "Mother Africa" - "Cradle of mankind, baobab of the soul..." so bring your fantastic, realistic, metaphorical legend, myth, folk or fairy tale from the rich tapestries of culture from the continent of Africa


Want to make sure you have a spot at the slam?  Start by recording your story here

and if selected you also will have

free admission


1st and 2nd place winners will advance to the finals date and venue TBA • Grand Prize TBA

winners may perform again if there is room but cannot win twice.

Click on links in red below to listen at a new page.

Example one: Stone Soup ( note, this story would NOT be eligible because it is read  & I am not the author of this version ) it is on theme and a folk tale.

Example two: Old Horse and the Bell of Justice ( this is my version of this very old Italian folktale so this would be eligible because it is on theme and a folk tale.)


Mother Africa

by Ribka Sibhatu

Cradle of mankind
baobab of the soul,
in your savannahs
and sacred forests
death dances.

You hear the echo, the scream
of the mother
who delivers diamonds
and receives armoured tanks.

O dying land,
that for decades
has met the elders,
the elders who keep
the ancestral treasures.

When will dawn break
for generous
Mother Africa?

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Grand Prize for South Shore Grand Slam Story Slam generously donated by Nicolette Heavey and Stories In The Streets (A Maine Get Away)

Stories in the Streets in an outreach literacy program that focuses on families in at-risk areas and fosters community engagement in storytelling by: 1) Creating opportunities for public storytelling wherever families gather — a farmer’s market, laundromat, or food line; and, 2) Offering storytelling workshops that raise family engagement in literacy, cultural awareness and community understanding.  The program is currently active in Lawrence, Brockton and Randolph.


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