Public Speaker & Storyteller
With three decades' experience as a performer, I bring a playful, genuine presence to any stage. I view the invitation to address people as an opportunity to listen first, and then put words to what's needed. In stories and talks, I address topics of creativity, collaboration, trust and play. I use comedy and personal narrative to highlight the beautiful, absurd, and hope-giving aspects of experience that often go unspoken. I enjoy making people laugh, sense possibility, and remember things they already know but may have forgotten.
I've been a guest speaker for The Disruptor League, Kohj Lab, Columbia College, WBEZ, Young Chicago Authors, The Young Non Profit Professionals Network, and The I&M Canal National Heritage Area, where I gave the Keynote address. I was once invited to give the Sunday sermon at Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple!
As a solo performer and storyteller, I've staged two solo shows with Chicago Solo Theater, and won the world-renowned Uptown Poetry Slam's first and only Story Slam. I've been honored as a Year's Best Storyteller by The Encyclopedia Show and Real Talk Live, am a 3-time story slam winner with Write Club, and have been repeat-performer for Essay Fiesta, Story Club, This Much is True, Young Chicago Authors, Chicago Slam Works, and many other live-lit and storytelling events.
"Janna Sobel's stories are remarkable for what they unearth about the reader/listener's own hidden agendas toward love, sorrow and triumph. It is not often that a writer - and here i speak of the whole writer; read or listened to - can create such 'seeing eye' works. Janna's stories undress and affirm at once. You will be transformed."
Roger Bonair-Agard, Cave Canem Poet & two time National Poetry Slam Champion