She embraces the new short-format tale-telling that is all the rage at bar and bookstore events — she herself won at The Moth a few years ago — though isn't sure the new guard is as embracing of the old ways.

"We're very excited about this other format, and we wonder if those kids who attend the Moths and Second Story wouldn't enjoy coming to our conferences and see how the five minutes can expand to 20 minutes," Heineman said.

As the scene swells, there are plentiful opportunities for people to hone their craft.

"A show is born every 30 seconds in Chicago now," Whitehair said. " I'm waiting for the time when a show comes in the intermission of another show."

Live storytelling will be featured at Printers Row Lit Fest Saturday. Visit for details. Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz is a Tribune lifestyles reporter and editor.

Live literature: Book a date

That's All She Wrote: every second Sunday at Swim Cafe, 1357 W. Chicago Ave. Featured tellers, no theme, non-competitive. Free, BYOB.

The Moth: every second Monday at Haymarket Brewery, 737 W. Randolph St.; last Tuesday at Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave. Names are drawn at random to read five-minute stories around a set theme. Judges give Olympic-style scores. $8. (quarterly Grand Slam at Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., June 27, $17).

Write Club: first Mondays of the month at Space, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston; third Tuesdays of the month at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave. Featured readers go head-to-head arguing in defense of set themes, audience votes for winner of each bout. $10 cover goes mostly to charities chosen by winners.

Second Story: Second Sunday and following Monday at Webster Wine Bar, 1480 W. Webster Ave.; last Saturday at the Underground Wonder Bar, 710 N. Clark St. Featured tellers, selected by audition. $15 online, $20 at door.

Story Club: First Thursdays at Holiday Club, 4000 N. Sheridan. Featured tellers around a set theme, non-competitive, plus open mic. Free ($5 suggested donation).

Guts and Glory: Third Wednesdays at Powell's Bookstore, 2850 N. Lincoln Ave. Featured tellers, challenged to delve deep and take personal risks. Non-competitive, no theme. Donations collected for charity. BYOB.

Grown Folks Stories: Third Thursdays, Silver Room, 1442 N. Milwaukee Ave. Names drawn from a jar to read five-minute stories, no theme, no competition. Free, BYOB.

Stoop-Style Stories: Last Thursdays, Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage Ave. Featured tellers and open mic. No theme, no competition. Free.

Encyclopedia Show: First Thursdays, Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St. Variety show of art, music, comedy and spoken word themed around an encyclopedia entry. $6-$9, BYOB.

Essay Fiesta: Third Mondays at the Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave. Featured artists read personal essays, no theme, no competition. Donations benefit 826CHI. BYOB.

This Much is True: Second Tuesdays, Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln Ave. Curated show of three regular tellers plus three guests. Free.

Shame That Tune: Second Fridays at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave. Featured tellers tell embarrassing personal stories which are then turned into a song. $7 at door.

Paper Machete: Every Saturday at The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway. Comedians, journalists and storytellers comment on current events and pop culture. Free.

Story Lab: Third Wednesdays at the Black Rock Pub & Kitchen, 3614 N. Damen Ave. Showcase for new tellers. No theme, not competitive. Free.

I S— You Not: Last Thursdays at the Township, 2200 N. California Ave. Featured performers tell stories of bodily functions. $5.

Reading Under the Influence: First Wednesdays, Sheffield's, 3258 N. Sheffield Ave. Featured readers read excerpts from original short stories, plus trivia contest. $3.

Here's the Story: First Sundays, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Five featured tellers plus open mic contest. $9 for potluck (free if you bring food).

Sunday Night Sex Show Reading Series: Every last Sunday at The Burlington, 3425 W. Fullerton Ave. True confessions about sex and sexuality, plus trivia. Free.

The Blackout Diaries: Every Saturday at the Lincoln Lodge, 4008 N. Lincoln Ave. Featured tellers tell true tales of drunkenness, the answer questions from the audience. $10.

Story Sessions: June 30 at the Dog's Bollox, 3210 N. Lincoln Ave. (monthly, check for dates) Featured tellers around a set theme, non-competitive. $7.

Chicago Storytelling Guild: Third Tuesdays at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1155 E. 58th St. Hone your craft with established storytellers. Free.

Do Not Submit: Last Mondays at Powell's Bookstore, 2850 N. Lincoln Ave. Open mic to practice or test out new ideas. Free, BYOB.