Tell us your STORY

Everyone has a story, and we want to hear yours! Pitch us your story and, if we like what we see, we will call you to develop it further for one of our shows. 

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Hear at Duke is looking for storytellers for our annual spring event, a live podcast production in the Doris Duke Center at the Duke Gardens! The theme of the night is "Unfinished Business" and those who submit a story will be considered to be a storyteller for the event. 

If selected, we will work with you over the next six weeks to tell your story in an audio documentary format, which could include interviews, music, soundscape, and of course, your live narration! 

The event will be on April 11th at 7PM


A great story

What we want: 

  • A true story that happened to YOU. We don’t want you to tell someone else’s experience, we want you to share your own narrative.
  • An opening line that hooks us. Instead of saying, “I was bored one day, so I decided to go on a road trip,” say something like, “All I had was a duffle bag, a map, and my 1966 Mustang Convertible and I found myself completely alone on I-75 trying to get to California yet not knowing which direction I was going.”
  • Up the ante. Your story should have high stakes. Make sure we know why this is significant and why people would want to hear about it.  Don’t just tell us about the time you had a really hard problem set— that might have been high stakes for you, but it isn’t for an audience. Sorry!
  • Have a clear ending for your story. Hint at the resolution in your pitch, but have the ending clear in your mind so once we workshop the story with you you’ll know exactly how the story ends.

What we don't want: 

  • Business pitches, stand-up routines, stereotypes, rants, essays, how-to's, confessions, lectures, fictions. 
  • Avoid clichés or PSAs. This isn’t about educating people or rehashing trite themes. Though your story may have some informing aspect to it, we want you to stick to your own narrative rather than extract a simplified lesson for the audience. Let the audience make their own conclusions.


Here's the audio for "The State of Our Union", a live storytelling event held in April 2017. Listen to get an idea of what we are looking for.


A great pitch

A great pitch hits the main points of the story: rising action, climax and hints to the resolution. It keeps it short while also providing a twist that the audience wasn't expecting and wants to hear more about.


Here are some great pitches we have received in the past. 

After a semester abroad, I realized I really love paella and also him.
Unlike the paella, however, I'd already tried him.
– Submitted for Sunset Stories: Love or Something Like it. 


I bought an 85 year old home in Durham shortly after I began work at Duke University. I never thought twice about living in an older home....until I began to be awakened in the middle of the night. Ever nestled in your bed to sleep late and night and feel the presence of something larger than yourself in the room? Been awakened by noises or objects falling in the middle of the night? Well, I have...
– Submitted for Sunset Stories: Spooky Stories