Blue Stoop
A hub for literary Philly

Events

Blue Stoop presents: Alexander Chee in conversation w/Robin Black
Nov
30
7:00 PM19:00

Blue Stoop presents: Alexander Chee in conversation w/Robin Black

Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh, The Queen of the Night, and the essay collection How To Write An Autobiographical Novelwhich the New York Times Book Review called "a rough coming-of-age chronology, from the author’s sexual awakening as an exchange student in Mexico (“a summer of wanting impossible things”) to the death of his father at 43, following a car accident, when Chee was 15; his beginnings as a writer at Wesleyan University, where he studied under Annie Dillard; his tenure in San Francisco at the height of the AIDS crisis; the publication of his (explicitly autobiographical) first novel, “Edinburgh,” in 2001; and his maturity as a reader, writer and instructor who longs, in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, to lead his students “to another world, one where people value writing and art more than war.”

Chee is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, T Magazine, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, and Out, among others and he is winner of a 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in prose and a 2010 MCCA Fellowship, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Civitella Ranieri and Amtrak. He is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College.

Robin Black’s story collection, If I loved you, I would tell you this, was a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize, and named a Best Book of 2010 by numerous publications, including the Irish Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her novel, Life Drawing, one of NPR's Best Books of 2014, was longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the Impac Dublin Literature Prize, and the Folio Prize. A recipient of fellowships from MacDowell Colony and The Leeway Foundation, Robin is a Contributing Editor to Colorado Review. Her fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including One Story, The New York Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, Southern Review, The Rumpus, O. MagazineConde Nast Traveler UK, and many anthologies, including The Best Creative Nonfiction. Her most recent book is Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide. She lives with her husband in Philadelphia and teaches in the Rutgers-Camden MFA Program.

This program is made possible through the generous support of the 215 Festival and will take place at & is co-sponsored by Asian Arts Initiative (1219 Vine Street). 

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Chaya Bhuvaneswar at Penn Book Center
Dec
7
6:00 PM18:00

Chaya Bhuvaneswar at Penn Book Center

Chaya Bhuvaneswar is a practicing physician and writer whose work has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Tin House, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Awl, jellyfish review, aaduna and elsewhere, with poetry forthcoming in Natural Bridge, Quiddity, apt magazine, Hobart and more. Her poetry and prose juxtapose Hindu epics, other myths and histories, and the survival of sexual harassment and racialized sexual violence by diverse women of color. She received the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Prize, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and a Henfield award for her writing. Her work received four Pushcart Prize anthology nominations in 2017.

This event will take place at Penn Book Center 130 south 34th St, Philadelphia, PA.

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The Hatchery: Blue Stoop Student Takeover
Dec
12
7:00 PM19:00

The Hatchery: Blue Stoop Student Takeover

The Hatchery is one of Philadelphia’s long-running reading series. This year, they are trying something a little different: each month they will feature one local writing organization.

In December, Blue Stoop will have the honor of talking a little about our project & presenting the work of a few students from our fall cohort: Kelly Braun, Christine Olivas, Ellen Rhudy, Allegra Armstrong, Lauren Holguin, and Corey Qureshi.

So come on out! And, as usual, we will play Philadelphia's best writing prompt game, The Fishbowl, and free bar tabs for the funniest, wittiest, and strangest answers.

This event will be held at The Monkey Club at 2101 E York Street, Philadelphia, PA 19125.

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Rachel Heng in conversation w/Liz Moore
Dec
13
6:00 PM18:00

Rachel Heng in conversation w/Liz Moore

Rachel Heng is a Singaporean novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, Suicide Club, was published by Sceptre, Hachette (UK) and Henry Holt, Macmillan (US) in July 2018. Suicide Club was named a most anticipated book of the summer by the Huffington Post, The Millions, Gizmodo, Bustle, New Scientist, ELLE, Bitch Media, The Independent, Stylist, The Irish Times, NYLON, Tor.com and The Rumpus, and will be translated into 8 languages worldwide.

Liz Moore is the author of three novels, most recently The Unseen World, published by W.W. Norton in July 2016. Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in venues such as Tin House, The New York Times, and Narrative Magazine. She is the winner of the Medici Book Club Prize and Philadelphia's Athenaeum Literary Award. After winning a 2014 Rome Prize in Literature, she spent 2014-15 at the American Academy in Rome, completing her third novel. She is currently Writer-in-Residence at Temple University's MFA Program in Creative Writing.

This event will take place at Penn Book Center, 130 south 34th st. 

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Blue Stoop Happy Hour: Spring Course Pitches
Dec
16
4:00 PM16:00

Blue Stoop Happy Hour: Spring Course Pitches

Come out for our monthly happy hour (third Sunday of every month) to see writer friends & plug into the ongoing project to open a center for literary culture in Philadelphia!

Come hear our spring instructors pitch their courses! On deck we have Joy Manning, editor of Edible Philly; Levi Bentley, Philly poetry expert; and Elysha Chang, an amazing fiction writer.

Happy hours takes place at W/N W/N Coffee Bar (931 Spring Garden Street). Enjoy a coffee, beer, wine, or cocktail and sample a snack from their rotating menu.

Want to make sure you don't miss an event? Sign up to get more info & keep up with us here: https://tinyletter.com/bluestoop.

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Blue Stoop Presents: Esmé Weijun Wang in conversation w/Carmen Maria Machado
Feb
21
6:00 PM18:00

Blue Stoop Presents: Esmé Weijun Wang in conversation w/Carmen Maria Machado

ESMÉ WEIJUN WANG is the author of The Border of Paradise. She received the Whiting Award in 2018 and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2017. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco.

The Collected Schizophrenias are powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award

An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.

“This mesmerizing collection of essays has achieved the rarest of rarities—a meaningful and expansive language for a subject that has been long bound by both deep revulsion and intense fascination.”—Jenny Zhang

“A brilliant guide to the complexities of thinking about illness, and mental illness, in particular. It will bring hope to others searching to understand their own diagnoses.”—Meghan O’Rourke

“A masterful braiding of the achingly personal and the incisively researched. . . . This book is a vital, illuminating window onto the world we all already live in, but find all too easy to ignore.”—Alexandra Kleeman

CARMEN MARIA MACHADO’s work has appeared in Granta, The New Yorker, NPR, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award, and was a finalist for the Calvino Prize. She lives in Philadelphia.

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naïvely assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

“[These stories] vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange.”—Roxane Gay

“In these formally brilliant and emotionally charged tales, Machado gives literal shape to women’s memories and hunger and desire. I couldn’t put it down.”—Karen Russell

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's Programs in Creative Writing, Asian American Studies, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies.

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Kiese Laymon at the Kingsessing Free Library
Nov
1
5:45 PM17:45

Kiese Laymon at the Kingsessing Free Library

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division  and a collection of essays,  How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, the UK edition released in 2016. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony, Travel and Leisure, Paris Review and Guernica. Of his newest book, Heavy: An American Memoir, Buzzfeed writes: “Laymon's memoir is a reckoning, pulling from his own experience growing up poor and black in Jackson, Mississippi, and tracking the most influential relationships, for better or worse, of his life: with his brilliant but struggling single mother, his loving grandma, his body and the ways he nurtures and punishes it, his education and creativity, and the white privilege that drives the world around him...with shrewd analysis, sharp wit, and great vulnerability Laymon forces the reader to fully consider the effects of the nation's inability to reconcile its pride and ambition with its shameful history."

This event is co-sponsored with the Free Library Center for Public Life and is free & open to the public. The reading will be held at The Free Library Kingsessing, (1200 south 51st St) with light refreshments to be served afterwards at the Kingsessing Recreation Center.

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LIVE at the Kelly Writers House
Oct
29
7:00 PM19:00

LIVE at the Kelly Writers House

LIVE at the Writers House is a long-standing collaboration of the people of the Kelly Writers House and of WXPN (88.5 FM). Six times annually between September and April, the Writers House airs a one-hour broadcast of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art, along with one musical guest -- from our Arts Cafe onto the airwaves at WXPN and is made possible through the generous support of BigRoc.

Featured readers will include Joshua DemareeBerry GrassBoston GordonRaena Shirali, & Thomas Devaney.

The musical guest will be Joey Sweeney & The Neon Grease.

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Crystal Hana Kim in conversation w/Sara Novic
Oct
23
6:00 PM18:00

Crystal Hana Kim in conversation w/Sara Novic

Crystal Hana Kim’s debut novel, If You Leave Me, will be published by William Morrow of HarperCollins in August 2018, and has been named to the Center for Fiction's  2018 First Novel Prize Long List as well as included on The Million's Most Anticipated book list. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and an MS in Education from Hunter College. She has received numerous awards, including PEN America’s Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, along with fellowships and support from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, the Jentel Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from The Washington Post, Literary Hub, Nylon, and elsewhere. She is currently the Director of Writing Instruction for Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America and a contributing editor at Apogee Journal. Born and raised in New York, she currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

Sara Novic is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Stockton University, and the fiction editor for Blunderbuss Magazine. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, where she studied fiction and literary translation. Girl at War, her first novel, is out now from Random House and Little, Brown UK, and is available or forthcoming in thirteen more languages. America is Immigrants, short illustrated biographies of Americans hailing from all 195 countries, is coming from Random House in 2019. 

This event will take place at Penn Book Center, 130 South 34th St, Philadelphia, PA.

 

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May-Lan Tan & Bonnie Chau in conversation w/Anne Ishii
Oct
22
6:00 PM18:00

May-Lan Tan & Bonnie Chau in conversation w/Anne Ishii

May-Lan Tan is the author of Things to Make And Break, a collection of short stories. Her stories have appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, the Atlas Review, the Reader, and Areté. She lives in Berlin.

This debut collection of short fiction is the most recent collaboration between Coffee House Press and Emily Books. The 11 short stories argue that relationships between two people often contain a third presence, whether that means another person or a past or future self. Tan’s sensibility has been compared to that of Joy Williams, David Lynch, and Carmen Maria Machado.

Bonnie Chau is from Southern California, where she ran writing programs at the nonprofit 826LA. She received her MFA in fiction and translation from Columbia University. A Kundiman fellow, she works at an independent bookstore in Brooklyn and is assistant web editor at Poets & Writers.

She is the author of the short story collection All Roads Lead to Blood, published by SFWP/2040 Books, which Ben Marcus called “a remarkable debut” and Rivka Galchen said was “unforgettable.”

Anne Ishii is the Executive Director of Asian Arts Initiative. She is a writer, editor and translator, who for the past ten years has worked specifically to achieve visibility and recognition for art and artists that touches on issues of gender and sexuality in the Asian diaspora.

This event will take place at Penn Book Center, 130 south 34th st, Philadelphia, PA.

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Lisa Locascio in conversation w/Stephanie Feldman
Oct
15
6:00 PM18:00

Lisa Locascio in conversation w/Stephanie Feldman

Lisa Locascio is the author of the novel Open Me, published in August 2018 by Grove Atlantic. Her work has appeared in The Believer, Tin House, n+1, Bookforum, and many other magazines. She is the editor of the anthology Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California, co-publisher of Joyland and editor of its West section, as well as of the ekphrastic collaboration magazine 7x7LA. She is Executive Director of the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference

Stephanie Feldman is the author of the novel The Angel of Losses (Ecco), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and is the co-editor of the forthcoming multi-genre anthology Who Will Speak for America? (Temple University Press). Her stories and essays have appeared in Asimov’s, Electric Literature, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Maine Review, The Rumpus, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family. 

This event will take place at Penn Book Center, 130 south 34th st, Philadelphia PA

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Casey Gerald in conversation w/Beth Kephart
Oct
8
6:00 PM18:00

Casey Gerald in conversation w/Beth Kephart

Casey Gerald's memoir There Will Be No Miracles Here was listed on The Millions Most Anticipated Books List and called “urgent, mesmeric, soaring, desperately serious, wounded and, at times, slyly, brilliantly comic" by Colm Tóibín. Danzy Senna says of it, "This is the book for all of us who have juggled double (and triple, and quadruple) consciousnesses, and for those of us who have prayed to false gods and passed as false selves." Gerald grew up in Oak Cliff, Texas and went to Yale, where he majored in political science and played varsity football. After receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School, he cofounded MBAs Across America. He has been featured on MSNBC, at TED and SXSW, on the cover of Fast Company, and in The New York Times, Financial Times, and The Guardian, among others.

Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of 22 books of memoir, memoir handbooks, middle grade and young adult fiction, corporate fable, and the autobiography of a river, Flow. She is an award-winning lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, was the editorial director of the Emmy®-award winning PBS arts and culture show, Articulate, is a frequent reviewer for the Chicago Tribune, and the co-founder of Juncture Workshops, offering memoir workshops and resources. A new book, the middle grade novel Wild Blues, was published in June, and new essays appear at LitHub, LARB, Ploughsharesblog, Woven Tale Press, and elsewhere. 

This event will take place at Penn Book Center, 130 South 34th St, Philadelphia, PA.

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Tarfia Faizullah in conversation w/ Raena Shirali
Oct
4
6:00 PM18:00

Tarfia Faizullah in conversation w/ Raena Shirali

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf Press 2018), as well as a previous poetry collection, SEAM (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), winner of a VIDA Award, a GLCA New Writers’ Award, a Milton Kessler First Book Award, Drake University Emerging Writer Award, and other honors. Her poems are published widely in periodicals and anthologies both in the United States and abroad, including Poetry Magazine, Guernica, Tin House, and The Nation, are translated into Persian, Chinese, Bengali, Tamil, and Spanish, have been featured at the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art, and elsewhere. In 2016 she was recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change. In Fall 2018, she will join the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a Visiting Writer in Residence.

Raena Shirali is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017), winner of the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. Her honors include a Pushcart Prize, a VIDA Scholarship for Sundress Academy for the Arts’ residency program, the Philip Roth Residency at Bucknell University’s Stadler Center for Poetry, and poetry prizes from Boston Review, Gulf Coast, and Cosmonauts Avenue. Shirali earned her MFA from The Ohio State University in 2015, and has since taught creative writing at several high schools, MFA programs, and colleges, including Indiana University, College of Charleston, Wright State University, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin, Drake University, & elsewhere. Serving currently as an editor for Muzzle Magazine and Vinyl, she is also a co-organizer for We (Too) Are Philly, a summer poetry festival highlighting voices of color in Philadelphia.

This event will take place at Penn Book Center, 130 South 34th St, Philadelphia PA.

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Blue Stoop presents: Alice Bolin, Andrew Martin, & Lydia Kiesling
Sep
14
7:00 PM19:00

Blue Stoop presents: Alice Bolin, Andrew Martin, & Lydia Kiesling

Alice Bolin lives in Memphis, Tennessee and teaches creative nonfiction in the MFA program at the University of Memphis. She writes mostly long-form critical essays about literature, music, and pop culture. Her first collection of essays, Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession, was published by Morrow/HarperCollins in June 2018 to wide acclaim.

Andrew Martin's stories and criticism have appeared in The Paris Review, ZZVZZYA, and elsewhere. Early Work, called "seductive and masterful" by The New York Times Book Review is his first novel. 

Lydia Kiesling is the editor of The Millions, where she has been writing reviews, essays, and the semi-regular Modern Library Revue since 2009. Her writing has appeared at a variety of outlets including The New York Times MagazineThe New YorkerThe Guardian, and Slate, and was recognized in Best American Essays 2016. The Golden State is her first novel. 

This event is free and open to the public and will take place at the historic Pen and Pencil Club, at 1522 Latimer St. Drinks available for purchase. 

 

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John Lingan in conversation w/ Joshua Demaree
Aug
30
6:00 PM18:00

John Lingan in conversation w/ Joshua Demaree

"Homeplace tells the story of Jim McCoy and the revered honky-tonk bar that he built on the McCoy family land in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lingan teases apart the tangle of class, race, and family origin that still defines McCoy’s hometown, and illuminates questions that now dominate our national conversation—about how we move into the future without pretending our past doesn't exist, about what we salvage and what we leave behind."

John Lingan has written for The New York Times MagazineThe Oxford AmericanPacific StandardHazlitt, and many other placesHomeplace is his first book.

Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, Joshua Demaree is both a licensed driver and a dedicated taxpayer. He received his MFA in creative nonfiction from Rutgers University-Camden and is co-director of Blue Stoop, a community-run hub for literary life in greater Philadelphia. His criticism has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and EXPO Chicago's The Seen. He lives and works in West Philadelphia.

This event will take place at Penn Book Center, 130 South 34th St, Philadelphia, PA.

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