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Everyone has a story to tell.
Does yours have what it takes to win our first ever Story Slam?

2023 Finalists!


Asiya Hasan is originally from India/Delhi, where she earned her Bachelors in Arts. She then moved to the USA in 1993 and is now a proud single mother of two beautiful daughters and a nurse by profession. Asaiya is the winner of two Moth slam awards and is enjoying the journey of writing, as a way of freeing herself and others through words.

First Place Winner 2023

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Michael-David Ker has been an award-winning storyteller and story-teacher and filmmaker for over a decade. He is a multiple Moth Storyslam winner and solo storytelling artist who performed his 75-minute solo show BIRTHDAY for the Hollywood Fringe Festival where it won an Encore Award. Michael-David has his own Storytelling show Shame-On-Sunday that he produces and hosts along with other storytellers who share their best “shame” stories.

Second Place Winner 2023

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Frank Traynor is from Argentina. He is a four-time Moth Champion, the winner of the Bellflower Searches for the Greatest Storyteller, and the producer of “It’s Funny Now Storytelling.” He is happily married to Martina with whom he has two children they treat like cats and three cats they treat like children.


Third Place Winner 2023

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Cara Lopez Lee is the author of the memoir, They Only Eat Their Husbands and the novel, Candlelight Bridge,coming soon from FlowerSong Press. She is a winner of The Moth StorySLAM, and appears in many storytelling shows, including RISK! and Stories From the Stage. Cara lives in Ventura, California.

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Lauren Seder is an Ojai newbie. First time storyteller. Proudest Mama. Adoring Grandma. She hails from Connecticut and was a practicing lawyer in a past life and an attorney recruiter in this one. Lauren is a Yoga teacher… sometimes. Ask her about her grandson and her dog and their passion for walking each other home.

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Elizabeth Olson, a project manager, lives in Thousand Oaks, CA. She has told stories on the USA Today’s Storytellers Project and has performed stand up comedy throughout Southern California. She looks forward to sharing her stories with the Ojai Community! 

Story Slam Rules
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Jonathan Tipton Meyers is an actor, writer, filmmaker, native New Yorker and self-proclaimed "Pizza Rat." A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he’s performed in various Off-Broadway theaters in NYC. His solo show "We Are Traffic: an UBER Adventure" was featured on KPCC, The Moth,  and hailed by "The Scotsman," "The Guardian" and "The Times of London" at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

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Enter Ojai Story Festival’s first ever Story Slam!

What you need to know:


Deadline 11:59pm August 15th!

Anyone age 16 and over can enter – all you need is a little bit of courage and a TRUE, five-minute story that suits this year’s theme, THE FIRST TIME.

Applications are in the form of a recorded (mp3 or mp4) 2-minute excerpt of your story. All entries will be judged by a panel and six will be selected to tell at the Ojai Storytelling Festival on Thursday, October 26. Those selected to tell will receive a weekend ticket to the Festival!


  • Your story must connect to the theme, THE FIRST TIME, in some way. You do not need to say the words ‘THE FIRST TIME’ in your story, but you do need to connect your story to the idea. Use your imagination in how to interpret the theme.

  • True, original stories only. Names can be changed but the story must have happened.

  • Contestants must be at least 16 years old.

  • Stories must be told, not read. No notes, props, or music.

  • Content must be suitable for a general audience, aged 13 and up.

  • Former featured Ojai Storytelling Festival tellers are not eligible to enter.

  • Be sure it’s a story with a beginning, middle and end, and not a joke or anecdote.

  • No “isms” will be tolerated-The Ojai Storytelling Festival strives to create a safe, inclusive and affirming community space to share our life experiences with one another. If a storyteller expresses oppressive views or derogatory language (racist, sexist, cis-sexist, heterosexist, classist, ableist, etc.) on the OSF mic, they will be cut off mid‐story and not permitted to tell again in the future. Story is one of the most powerful tools available for building empathy and understanding across differences, so we hope that OSF is able to do just that.

  • You’ll be notified if you’ve been chosen for the Slam by October 1.


First place: $200

Second place: $100

Third place: $50


You can enter by recording a 2 minute audio excerpt of your story in mp3 or mp4 format and emailing it to Make sure the excerpt conveys how your story will relate to the theme “THE FIRST TIME.”

Email your recording to:

Subject Line: Story Slam 2023

Please include your full name, email address, and phone number.

Deadline to enter is 11:59pm August 15th. You’ll be notified by phone if you’re in the top six by September 30. 

REMEMBER! It's a competition – and if you are selected to tell at the Festival, you’ll only have five minutes at the mic to wow the judges. You will be judged on your performance, how well the story is crafted, its connection to the theme, and adherence to the 5-minute time limit. Please remember you do not have to say the theme ‘THE FIRST TIME’ in your story; it only needs to be implied. Be creative!

We can't wait to hear your stories!

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