The Telling Room next week will celebrate stories and the imagination of young writers at its annual “Show and Tell: A Literary Spectacular,” featuring its own talent along with other authors, a comedian, musicians, dancers and a DJ.

Proceeds from the show Tuesday, May 9, at the State Theatre in Portland will benefit the Portland-based organization’s creative writing and publishing programs for youth.

“Art at its best is one big messy conversation,” said novelist Lynn Steger Strong, one of the show’s featured authors. “The idea of ‘Show and Tell’ as a group coming together to celebrate stories is so much of what I love … It’s lively and active and imbued with the texture of different voices.”


One of the celebrants will be Hailey Talbert, an 18-year-old Falmouth High School student, whose poetry collection, “Precipice,” centers on coming of age during a time of climate crisis and also includes her original oil paintings.

It’s important for Talbert to use her work to advocate for young people as “the ones inheriting the earth,” she said. “As an aspiring oil painter, I like to paint outside often, and in my short life, a lot of places that I love to paint and visit have changed already.”

She wrote and published “Precipice” through The Telling Room’s Emerging Authors program last year. The organization provides a vital connection with other writers in a craft that can feel so personal and isolating, she said.


“They connect you to opportunities to share your work and work with mentors that you really respect” and provide resources that “build confidence that you can share your story,” she said. 

The “Show and Tell” event provides the opportunity to share her work to a larger community of creatively-minded people. “I love the experience of reading poetry live. There’s something really musical about it,” she said.


Strong, the author of “Hold Still,” “Want” and “Flight,” said other writers highly recommended The Telling Room for her children when they learned she was moving to the area to teach at Bates College. For her kids, ages 8 and 10, it was a perfect way to keep them connected to writing, which has always brought them joy, she said.

It was a combination of something they really love and an opportunity for it to feel communal,” Strong said.

The Telling Room has helped her children connect with others in their community that they otherwise wouldn’t have, she said, and it has eased their transition from New York City to Portland.

“I’m endlessly grateful that this resource is available to everyone’s kids in Portland,” she said.

In addition to Telling Room students and alumni, the show also will feature comedian Mo Awale, DJ Mo “Mosart212” Nuñez, award-winning author Weike Wang and Olas musicians and dancers.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30. General admission tickets are $35 and can be purchased at

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