What People Are Saying

Accolades for Kelly Jean and No, YOU Tell It!

College Application Essay

I had the amazing opportunity to work with Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons my senior year of High School. Throughout the college application process, Kelly Jean pushed me to be a better writer. She provided me with new writing skills and strategies to produce different supplemental writing pieces. Kelly Jean played a big role in my application process and I find myself continuing to use a lot of the skills she taught me in college.

Carolina J. – Ithaca College, Business Administrative Major concentrating in Management. Double Minor in Sociology and Latinx Studies 

High School Application Essay

Kelly Jean coaxed out the best in my son’s writing. Through a very focused series of activities and clear questions, she taught him to tell his story in a vivid and engaging way. Although we hired Kelly Jean to help with one particular essay, the tools she gave my son will serve him forever.

K.C. Parent

Kelly Jean was a pleasure to work with, she is a great teacher. Kelly Jean taught me to be a better storyteller by showing me how to put the reader in the moment using sensory details. I was working on an application essay, so she taught me how to not say what the admissions office had heard a million times, and get them to imagine the situation from my point of view. Kelly Jean showed me how to do these things by having me read passages from other students finished essays, which I found very helpful. I learned how to show what I wanted to convey in a more interesting and immersive way. I also learned to edit my essays, cutting away unnecessary sentences rather than important details. All in all, I learned a lot from Kelly Jean.

O.S. Eighth-Grade Student

No, YOU Tell It!

I had a wonderful experience working with Kelly Jean, Erika, and Mike. Being exposed to the processes of the other writers in our group was valuable and enlightening, and I know my own work benefited greatly from our conversations around the table. I was particularly taken with the public reading event itself, attended by a supportive and enthusiastic audience, in an atmosphere of warmth and levity. I would gladly participate in No, YOU Tell It! again, and would recommend the experience to anyone who’s interested in writing or storytelling.

Noah Diamond, 400 Years in Manhattan, NYTI “Uproar”

I was delighted to participate in No, YOU Tell It! “aMuse” for the Brooklyn Book Festival’s Bookend Event. I loved the process: from the welcoming—and hilarious—round-table editing sessions, to rehearsing with Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons, to the standing-room-only performance itself.
The NYTI team—Kelly Jean, Mike Dressel and Erika Iverson—are fantastically organized and focused, and provide an encouraging and spirited space for the writer-performers to create and grow. I look forward to attending future events!

H.E. Fisher, Cross-Genre Writer, NYTI “aMuse”

When I walked into the first No, YOU Tell It! story meeting, I felt a lot of trepidation. Why had I agreed to do this? Who was I to even attempt a prose form? A performance piece? Why did I think I deserved to have any kind of attention? Nevertheless, I stepped through that door and was richly rewarded for that small act of courage. What a pleasure and nourishment it was to be an NYTI storyteller! My work was read with a gracious and astute lens, and the comments and suggestions I received were instrumental in shaping the final piece into something compelling and true to the emotions I sought to convey. I came to No, YOU Tell It! as a relative newcomer. I haven’t been writing seriously for very long. I don’t have an extensive network of writers and artists. Now, I feel so fortunate to have made these connections. Everyone at No, YOU Tell It! is so encouraging and supportive. I’ve found many muses, and I feel so bolstered and confident by my experience. As an emerging writer, I cannot express how vital this support has been to my ongoing work. Thank you, Kelly Jean, Erika, and Mike!

Pichchenda Bao, Poet, NYTI “aMuse”

I found the most frustrating part of writing stories, memoirs, anecdotes is repeating the same voice without a grasp of how I sound.  I came across No, YOU Tell It! by accident and it proved to be super valuable for hearing the voice and rhythm in my story. After the first session and hearing someone read my piece I was able to chop off some bad habits I had developed (mostly dealing with the flow of words and poorly placed humor). The breakdown of sessions helped develop the themes I was overlooking from the piece and find a strong balance between humor and grounded narrative. The most valuable piece of No, YOU Tell It! was literally hearing work read and interpreted by different participants each week, ultimately being performed and curated by a different performer – a very, very unique opportunity.  It’s had a very positive effect on the development of further work.

Mark Pagán, Performer, Multimedia Artist, and Writer, NYTI “Revival”