Langley writer Byrant Ross, and his partner Susan Cormier, co-host and produce the Vancouver Story Slam, which is holding its annual championships Tuesday. (KAMEKO WALKER PHOTOGRAPHY)

Langley writers heading up story slam championships

A monthly storytelling competition comes to a climax with finals in Vancouver on Tuesday.

Many have heard of poetry slams, but how many have heard of story slams, or know that two Langley writers are heading up a story slam championship in Vancouver next week?

At 13 years and counting, Vancouver Story Slam is Canada’s longest-running live and competitive storytelling event – apparently the second largest in the world, according to producers and hosts Susan Cormier and two-time slam champ Bryant Ross.

This event has become the most popular event of its kind in the province, as Cormier tells it, attracting competitors from as far away as Seattle and Salmon Arm.

Invented in 2004 by writers Johnny Frem and Sean McGarragle, story slam is a literary competition similar to poetry slam: every month, 10 storytellers share their writing in front of a live audience.

Audience members vote for their favourites, prizes are awarded, and top storytellers advance to the annual finals in pursuit of the championship trophy and title.

During the year-long competition, nearly 100 storytellers ranging from casual journal writers to published authors sign up to compete for more than $2,000 in cash prizes that are awarded throughout the year.

Other prizes include books, DVDs, and gift certificates, and every year the profits from the show are returned to the community in the form of a $1,000 scholarship to someone pursuing post-secondary education in the field of writing.

Unlike many other storytelling events, Vancouver Story Slam participants do not need to fill any qualifications, their writing does not have to be memorized or of a certain style or subject matter, and the stories are not coached or edited by the event organizer, said Ross.

Anyone who has a story to tell, be it fiction or true, is welcome to participate.

Vancouver Story Slam started as an intimate gathering of a few dozen writers in the Our Town Café on Broadway.

At the time, Frem and McGarragle were unaware that a group in New York had had the same idea.

In the years since, both VSS and the New York story slam – now known as The Moth – have inspired countless other groups of writers and performers to found similar events, and there are now story slams worldwide from Montreal to Singapore.

Well, this year’s local finals are being held at the Rio Theatre in East Vancouver next Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 at the door and available through the Rio Theatre website at riotheatre.ca

Just Posted

VIDEO: Giants fall to Royals 4-2 in Victoria Saturday night

Second loss in as many days for G-Men, who are back home in Langley today to take on the Cougars.

Langley Gators take Tsumura provincial basketball championships

Walnut Grove outscored their foes by 30 points per game

Spreading Christmas cheer around Aldergrove

Easing the pains and difficulties of hard times is ‘reason for the season’

VIDEO: why the founder of Kimz Angels feels it’s “sad” the charitable group has grown

Will be accepting donations all day Sunday at the IGA in Murrayville

120 turn up for Aldergrove blood clinic

More volunteer help welcomed by Canadian Blood Services

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Most Read