Blue Stoop
A hub for literary Philly

Events

Bryan Washington in conversation w/James Ijames
Mar
28
7:00 PM19:00

Bryan Washington in conversation w/James Ijames

BRYAN WASHINGTON is a writer from Houston. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the New York Timesthe New York Times MagazineThe New YorkerBuzzFeedVultureThe Paris ReviewBoston ReviewTin HouseOne StoryBon AppétitMUNCHIESAmerican Short FictionGQFADERThe AwlHazlitt, and Catapult, where he writes a column called “Bayou Diaries”. His first book, Lot, is forthcoming from Riverhead in March. 

“Bryan Washington’s writing is refreshing — a brilliant display of raw talent, with gut-punching stories that deliver with a lasting force. This is the literature that I’ve been waiting for.” —Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun

Lot is the confession of a neighborhood, channeled through a literary prodigy. Bryan Washington doesn’t render a world, he actually captures one, grabs it out of reality and holds it up for you to see it sparkle. Unflinching, romantic while refusing to romanticize, this is the debut of a prodigious talent.” —Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day and Pym

JAMES IJAMES is a Philadelphia based performer and playwright. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Ally Theatre (Washington DC) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, The Gulfshore Playhouse, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden. James is a 2011 Independence Foundation Fellow, a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ....Miz Martha and a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award. James is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and resides in South Philadelphia.

We have partnered with Paul Robeson House to offer a FREE craft talk with Bryan Washington before the reading (4-6PM). Click here to reserve your spot. Limited to 25 spots.

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Briallen Hopper in conversation w/ Karen Rile
Apr
5
6:30 PM18:30

Briallen Hopper in conversation w/ Karen Rile

BRIALLEN HOPPER is the editor of the religion and culture magazine Killing the Buddha, and she teaches writing at Queens College, City University of New York, and holds a PhD in English from Princeton.

She is widely published—one of her most well-known essays is “On Spinsters” at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her essays, reviews, op-eds, profiles, listicles, and sermons have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher EducationHuffPost,  Longreads, The New Inquiry, The New Republic, Newsweek, New York Magazine/The CutThe Paris Review, The Stranger, Talking Points Memo, and more.

Her first book, Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions (Bloomsbury, 2019), is a collection of essays on love and friendship.

“Hopper’s essays seem like love songs . . . delicate, thoughtful elegies to friendship, compassion, and grace. A fresh, well-crafted collection.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Briallen Hopper’s essay collection, Hard to Love, is an exceptional work: an expert tangle of memoir, literary criticism, pop cultural analysis and political meditation that will make you think differently and more deeply about family, friendship, faith and Cheers. It is at once inviting and spiky, hard and funny; it is smart as hell. Hopper is capacious in her curiosities, pointed in her arguments and extremely generous to her readers: she invites us in, takes us where she’s been, and shows us what she's made of it all.  Hard to Love is warm, buoyant, connective; I felt less alone having read it.”—Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies and Good and Mad

“Briallen Hopper’s extraordinary essay collection, Hard to Love, is full of heart and wisdom and humor and surprise. It has sharpened and electrified my senses of intimacy and family—how both are more multiple, more complicated, and ultimately more capacious than I’d understood them to be. It moves effortlessly between the personal and political, exposing all the ways in which they have never been separable at all. I know I’ll return to this book over and over during the years to come: for its gifts of insight and delight, for the primal and powerful gift of its company—and I know I’ll be giving it to others, to the people I love most, so they can experience its gifts as well.” —Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams and The Recovering 

“I adored Briallen Hopper’s Hard to Love and its miraculous intermingling of revelatory criticism and soulful memoir. Hopper’s essays tell the story of a life in reading, baking, hoarding, praying, and watching Cheers; in friends, roommates, siblings, and, last and least, lovers. In its excesses of tenderness, intelligence, and pleasure, this book brilliantly puts the lie to the idea that a single life is less full—or less complicated—than a coupled one.” —Alice Bolin, author of Dead Girls

KAREN RILE is the author of Winter Music, a novel set in Philadelphia, and numerous works of fiction and creative nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in literary magazines such as The Southern Review, American Writing, Creative Nonfiction, The Land Grant College Review, Other Voices, Superstition ReviewBosque, and Apiary, and has been shortlisted among The Best American Short Stories. Karen has published articles and essays in many newspapers including The San Francisco ChronicleThe New York Times, and the The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She is a frequent contributor to the Pennsylvania Gazette, JSTOR Daily, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and writes a weekly parents’ column on Violinist.com. She is also the founding editor of Cleaver, an online magazine featuring poetry, literary fiction and nonfiction, flash, art, radio plays, book reviews, craft essays, and more. Karen lives in Philadelphia and teaches fiction and creative nonfiction at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Jennifer duBois in conversation w/ Michael Deagler
Apr
12
6:00 PM18:00

Jennifer duBois in conversation w/ Michael Deagler

JENNIFER duBOIS is the author of A Partial History of Lost Causes, which won a California Book Award for Fiction, a Northern California Book Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Prize for Debut Fiction. The National Book Foundation named her one of its 5 Under 35 authors. Her second novel, Cartwheel, was the winner of the Housatonic Book Award for fiction and was a finalist for a New York Public Library Young Lions Award. An alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Stanford University’s Stegner Fellowship, duBois is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalPlayboyLapham’s Quarterly, American Short Fiction, The Missouri ReviewThe Kenyon ReviewSalonCosmopolitanZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. A native of western Massachusetts, duBois teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University.

“Jennifer duBois is a brilliant writer.”—Karen Russell, author of Vampires in the Lemon Grove

“Jennifer duBois is one of a handful of living American novelists who can comprehend both the long arc of history and the minute details that animate it. The Spectators is yet another triumph in an impressive oeuvre: a brave and painfully vivid excavation of the AIDS crisis in New York that, with its fine prose, breathes life back into an era of death.”—Karan Mahajan, author of the National Book Award finalist The Association of Small Bombs

With wit, heart, and crackling intelligence, The Spectators examines the human capacity for reinvention—and forces us to ask ourselves what we choose to look at, and why.

Talk show host Matthew Miller has made his fame by shining a spotlight on the most unlikely and bizarre secrets of society, exposing them on live television in front of millions of gawking viewers. However, the man behind The Mattie M Show remains a mystery—both to his enormous audience and to those who work alongside him every day. But when the high school students responsible for a mass shooting are found to be devoted fans, Mattie is thrust into the glare of public scrutiny, seen as the wry, detached herald of a culture going downhill and going way too far. Soon, the secrets of Mattie’s past as a brilliant young politician in a crime-ridden New York City begin to push their way to the surface.

In her most daring and multidimensional novel yet, Jennifer duBois vividly portrays the heyday of gay liberation in the seventies and the grip of the AIDS crisis in the eighties, alongside a backstage view of nineties television in an age of moral panic. DuBois explores an enigmatic man’s downfall through the perspectives of two spectators—Cel, Mattie’s skeptical publicist, and Semi, the disillusioned lover from his past.

MICHAEL DEAGLER’s fiction has appeared in Glimmer TrainNew England ReviewKenyon Review Online, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City.

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Mark Doten in conversation w/ Keith Kopka
Apr
24
6:30 PM18:30

Mark Doten in conversation w/ Keith Kopka

MARK DOTEN is the author of The Infernal and was named to Granta’s once-a-decade “Best of Young American Novelists” list in 2017.  He wrote the libretto for the oratorio The Source, which had its world premiere at BAM’s Next Wave Festival in October 2014 and was called a “21st-century masterpiece” by the New York Times. It was later staged by the Los Angeles Opera and the San Francisco Opera.  He is the executive literary fiction editor at Soho Press and teaches at Columbia University' and Princeton University. He lives in Princeton, NJ with his partner, Paul Nadal

Trump Sky Alpha is a novel about  Donald Trump, the secret history of the Internet, and the end of the world. Twice a week, the President pilots his ultra-luxury airship Trump Sky Alpha (seats start at $50,000) between DC, NYC, and Mar-a-Lago, delivering, as he travels, a streaming YouTube address to the nation, trumpeting his successes and blasting his enemies—until the day his words plunge the world into nuclear war. One year later, with ninety percent of the world’s population decimated, a journalist named Rachel, grieving for her lost wife and daughter, and living an emotionally numb existence in the Twin Cities Metro Containment Zone, is offered an assignment by her old editor: to document the jokes that made their way around the internet in the final moments before the end.

What she uncovers, hidden amid spiraling memes and twitter jokes in a working archive of the internet’s remnants, are references to a little-known novel, The Subversive, that seemed to have predicted the world’s end, and the traces of a shadowy hacktivist group known as the Aviary. The actions of the Aviary, and the enigmatic presence a figure known only as Birdcrash, take on immense and terrifying dimensions as Rachel ventures further into the ruins of the internet.

Mark Doten, a satirist of unparalleled vision, brilliantly details how the internet has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, laying the groundwork for the tumult of our current political moment, and, in the kaleidoscopic, queer, all-consuming, parallactic swirl of Trump Sky Alpha, for the future headed our way.

"[Mark Doten] launches Trump Sky Alpha at the bull's eye of reality with such velocity that it bursts through the other side. This is speculative fiction as burning ring of fire. . . . Perversely satisfying, this tour de force of vicious satire is cathartic. . . . Dizzy with metaphor, Trump Sky Alpha is a cautionary tale for a time when we have become inured to flashing yellow all around." —The Washington Post

“Doten's cracked archaeology of the nearly-now is so brilliant it will make you joyful despite yourself, despite the world's self.” —Rivka Galchen

“To enshrine in such beauty and intelligence a country that so despises beauty and intelligence is an act of rogue hope and antic compassion. In Trump Sky Alpha, Mark Doten emerges as the shadow president of our benighted generation of American literature.” —Joshua Cohen

KEITH KOPKA is an associate professor at Holy Family University. His poetry and criticism have recently appeared in The International Journal of The BookMid-American Review,New Ohio ReviewNinth Letter, and many others. Kopka was a finalist for the 2017 National Poetry Series and won the 2017 International Award for Excellencefrom the Books, Publishing & Libraries Research Network. He is also a co-founder and the Director of Operations for Writers Resist, a Senior Editor at Narrative Magazine, a recipient of a Chautauqua Arts Fellowship, and a Vermont Studio Center poetry fellow.

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Alyson Hagy in conversation w/ Joshua Demaree
May
9
6:30 PM18:30

Alyson Hagy in conversation w/ Joshua Demaree

ALYSON HAGY grew up with on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  She is a graduate of Williams College (’82) where she twice won the Benjamin Wainwright Prize for her fiction and completed an Honors thesis under the direction of Richard Ford.  She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan (’85) working with George Garrett, Alan Cheuse, and Janet Kauffman.  While at Michigan, she was awarded a Hopwood Prize in Short Fiction and a Roy Cowden Fellowship.  Early stories were published in Sewanee ReviewCrescent Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review.  In 1986, Stuart Wright published her first collection of fiction, Madonna On Her Back.

Hagy taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, and the Stonecoast Writers Conference before moving to the Rocky Mountains and joining the faculty at the University of Wyoming in 1996.  She is the author of eight works of fiction, including Hardware River (Poseidon Press, 1991), Keeneland (Simon & Schuster, 2000), Graveyard of the Atlantic (Graywolf Press, 2000), Snow, Ashes (Graywolf Press, 2007), Ghosts of Wyoming (Graywolf Press, 2010), Boleto (Graywolf Press, 2012), and Scribe (Graywolf Press, 2018).  She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.  Her work has won a Pushcart Prize, the Nelson Algren Prize, the High Plains Book Award, the Devil’s Kitchen Award, the Syndicated Fiction Award, and been included in Best American Short Stories.  Recent fiction has appeared in Drunken BoatThe Idaho ReviewKenyon Review, INCH, and Michigan Quarterly Review.

A brutal civil war has ravaged the country, and contagious fevers have decimated the population. Abandoned farmhouses litter the isolated mountain valleys and shady hollows. The economy has been reduced to barter and trade.  In this craggy, unwelcoming world, the central character of Scribe ekes out a lonely living on the family farmstead where she was raised and where her sister met an untimely end. She lets a migrant group known as the Uninvited set up temporary camps on her land, and maintains an uneasy peace with her cagey neighbors and local enforcer Billy Kingery. She has learned how to make papers and inks, and she has become known for her letter-writing skills, which she exchanges for tobacco, firewood, and other scarce resources. An unusual request for a letter from a man with hidden motivations unleashes the ghosts of her troubled past and sets off a series of increasingly calamitous events that culminate in a harrowing journey to a crossroads.

Drawing on traditional folktales and the history and culture of Appalachia, Alyson Hagy has crafted a gripping, swiftly plotted novel that touches on pressing issues of our time—migration, pandemic disease, the rise of authoritarianism—and makes a compelling case for the power of stories to both show us the world and transform it.

Scribe, which begins with the baying of hounds and ends with silence, reminds us on every page that humans remain the storytelling animal, and that therein might lie our salvation. . . . In this brave new world, a woman with a pen may prove mightier than a man with a sword.” —The New York Times Book Review

Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, JOSHUA DEMAREE received his MFA in creative nonfiction from Rutgers University-Camden and is co-director of Blue Stoop, a 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.

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Malaka Gharib in conversation w/ Alli Katz
May
17
5:00 PM17:00

Malaka Gharib in conversation w/ Alli Katz

MALAKA GHARIB is an artist, journalist, and writer based in Washington, D.C. She is the founder of The Runcible Spoon, a food zine, and the co-founder of the D.C. Art Book Fair. She lives in a row house with her husband Darren and her 9-year-old rice cooker.

“This charming graphic memoir riffs on the joys and challenges of developing a unique ethnic identity.” – Publishers Weekly

I Was Their American Dream is a pure and utter delight. With both a deft lightness and a deep poignancy, Malaka Gharib perfectly captures the feeling of growing up—of being a child of immigrants, of being a woman of color, of being thrown in the mix between cultures, of love, of family—with nostalgia, humor, and heart…I adored this book.” —Jonny Sun, New York Times best-selling illustrator of Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda

A triumphant tale of self-discovery, a celebration of a family’s rich heritage, and a love letter to American immigrant freedom.

I Was Their American Dream is at once a journal of growing up and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents’ ideals, learning to code-switch between her family’s Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.

ALLI KATZ is a writer and cartoonist. Her work has appeared in the NewYorker.com, Electric Literature, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Weekly, and elsewhere. Alli is also known for her etch-a-sketch portraits of album covers. She is from Chicago and lives in Philadelphia, where she is the program coordinator at Kelly Writers House.

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Megan Volpert
Jun
12
6:30 PM18:30

Megan Volpert

MEGAN VOLPERT writes for PopMatters & is the author of a bunch of books on communication & popular culture, including two Lambda Literary Award finalists. She has been teaching high school English in Atlanta for over a decade & was 2014 Teacher of the Year. She edited the American Library Association-honored anthology This assignment is so gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching and co-edited Tom Petty & Philosophy.

Boss Broad contains forty poems and dozens of essays that explore what it takes to be a middle-aged hero. The poems are English-to-English translations of Bruce Springsteen songs--popular ones where he directly addresses a female listener, which Volpert audaciously rewrites to answer the Boss back using his own rhyme and meter. In these pages Volpert wears Springsteen's own lyrical swagger so that Rosalita becomes a drag queen, Wendy captains her own ship, and Bobby Jean finally comes out of the closet. The essays examine injections of spirituality in progressive politics, with topics including Stephen Colbert, Patti Smith, the author’s career as a punk high school English teacher, what she learned surviving hurricanes in Louisiana, and meditations on what it means to be a cool liberal. As usual, Volpert trespasses on hallowed ground, doing battle with her white lady demons in the name of rock ‘n’ roll.

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Catherine Chung in conversation w/ Jessamine Chan
Jul
11
7:30 PM19:30

Catherine Chung in conversation w/ Jessamine Chan

CATHERINE CHUNG was a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a Granta New Voice, and a Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has an undergraduate degree in mathematics from The University of Chicago and worked at a think tank in Santa Monica before receiving her MFA from Cornell University. She has published work in The New York Times and Granta and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She lives in New York City.

“Catherine Chung has written a deft, spellbinding emotional puzzle-box of a book, rich and intricately layered. The Tenth Muse slowly, carefully builds to turn your every expectation on its head, and reading it feels like a glimpse of what mathematics might be in the eyes of its ablest practitioners—both secret and sublime.” —Téa Obreht

“Reading The Tenth Muse is like setting out on a boat for a short trip and finding the way back barred by waves that grow taller and taller. And then the boat itself turns out to be a riddle; a paper boat, each leaf bound to the other with equations of fearsome beauty. Arresting in scope and its treatment of time, its prose at turns crystalline and richly balletic, this story pulls puzzle from puzzle—human, historical, and all too contemporary.” —Helen Oyeyemi

From childhood, Katherine knows she is different, and that her parents are not who they seem to be. But in becoming a mathematician, she must face the most human of problems—who is she? What is the cost of love, and what is the cost of ambition?

On her quest to conquer the Riemann hypothesis, the greatest unsolved mathematical problem of her time, she turns to a theorem with a mysterious history that holds both the lock and key to her identity, and to secrets long buried during World War II in Germany. Forced to confront some of the most consequential events of the twentieth century and rethink everything she knows of herself, she strives to take her place in the world of higher mathematics and finds kinship in the stories of the women who came before her—their love of the language of numbers connecting them across generations.

In The Tenth Muse, Catherine Chung offers a gorgeous, sweeping tale about legacy, identity, and the beautiful ways the mind can make us free.

JESSAMINE CHAN’s short fiction has appeared in Tin House and Epoch. A former reviews editor for Publishers Weekly, she holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University. Her work has received support from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Wurlitzer Foundation, Jentel, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Anderson Center, VCCA, and Ragdale. Currently living in Philadelphia, she is finishing her first novel, The School for Good Mothers.

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T Kira Madden in conversation w/ Emma Copley Eisenberg
Mar
20
6:30 PM18:30

T Kira Madden in conversation w/ Emma Copley Eisenberg

T KIRA MADDEN is an APIA writer, photographer, and amateur magician living in New York City. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an BA in design and literature from Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College. Her work has appeared in PEN America, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, and The Kenyon Review. She is the founding Editor-in-chief of No Tokens, a magazine of literature and art, and is a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in nonfiction literature from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Tin House, DISQUIET, Summer Literary Seminars, and Yaddo, where she was selected for the 2017 Linda Collins Endowed Residency Award. Her debut memoir, LONG LIVE THE TRIBE OF FATHERLESS GIRLS, is forthcoming from Bloomsbury on March 5th, 2019. She facilitates writing workshops for homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

About Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden's raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight.

As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls.

With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawai'i to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It's a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.


EMMA COPLEY EISENBERG is writer of fiction and nonfiction interested in queerness, gender, Appalachia, violence, crime, having a body, and being alive. Her fiction, essays, and reportage have appeared or are forthcoming in McSweeney’s, The Paris Review online, Granta, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, Guernica, AGNI, The Los Angeles Review of Books, American Short Fiction, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, The New Republic, Salon, Slate, and others. Emma's work has been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award, named to Longreads' list of Best Crime Reporting 2017, and chosen as a notable story for the Best American Short Stories 2018. She is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Tin House Summer Workshop, the Elizabeth George Foundation, Lambda Literary, the Carey Institute for the Global Good, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Her first book, THE THIRD RAINBOW GIRL, is forthcoming from Hachette Books in 2020. Raised in New York City, Emma makes her home now in Philadelphia, where she co-directs Blue Stoop, a community hub for the literary arts.

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Halle Butler in conversation w/Mike Ingram
Mar
13
7:00 PM19:00

Halle Butler in conversation w/Mike Ingram

Halle Butler is a writer from the Midwest. Her first novel, Jillian, is a brief account of a medical secretary's drunken social blunders and callous treatment of her co-worker. Her second novel, The New Me will be published in March 2019 from Penguin Randomhouse. She is a 5 under 35 honoree and was named to Granta's list of best young novelists.

Mike Ingram holds an MFA in creative writing from the Iowa Writers Workshop and teaches in the English department at Temple University. His stories and essays have appeared in a number of journals and magazines, including PhoebeThe North American ReviewDecemberEPOCHThe Southeast Review, and The Baltimore Review. He is one of the founding editors of Barrelhouse Magazine and co-hosts the weekly Book Fight! podcast, which you can read more about here.

“A bleak and brutal book that exposes a nearly unbearable futility to life in the workforce, not to mention life outside it. Butler’s vision is funny and raw and dark— a cautionary tale, hilarious and intimate, against growing up and making do.” —Ben Marcus

“The New Me renders contemporary American life in such vivid, stinging color, that certain sentences are liable to give the reader a paper cut. But you’ll want to keep on reading anyway. Halle Butler is terrific, and I loved this book.” —Kelly Link

“A dark comedy of female rage. Halle Butler is a first-rate satirist of the horror show being sold to us as Modern Femininity. She is Thomas Bernhard in a bad mood, showing us the futility of betterment in an increasingly paranoid era of self-improvement. Hilarious.” —Catherine Lacey

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Blue Stoop presents: Nicole Chung in conversation w/Beth Kephart
Mar
7
6:30 PM18:30

Blue Stoop presents: Nicole Chung in conversation w/Beth Kephart

Nicole Chung is the author of the memoir All You Can Ever Know, published in October 2018 and named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, The Boston GlobeTIMENewsdayLibrary JournalBuzzFeedReal SimplePaste Magazine, Chicago Public Library, and Seattle Public Library, among many others. All You Can Ever Know has also been longlisted for the 2019 PEN Open Book Award, shortlisted for the 2018 Reading Women Nonfiction Award, and nominated for the 2018 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Memoir/Autobiography. 

Nicole’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, GQ, The AtlanticSlate, LongreadsVultureShondaland, and Hazlitt. She is the editor-in-chief of Catapult magazine and the former managing editor of The Toast

What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

“[A] stunning memoir…. Chung’s writing is vibrant and provocative as she explores her complicated feelings about her transracial adoption…and the importance of knowing where one comes from.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Chung’s memoir is more than a thoughtful consideration of race and heritage in America. It is the story of sisters finding each other, overcoming bureaucracy, abuse, separation, and time.” —The New Yorker

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. 

Co-sponsored by Blue Stoop, Drexel University's MFA in Creative Writing Program, & the Writers Room at Drexel

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 Sophia Shalmiyev in conversation w/Alina Pleskova
Feb
26
6:30 PM18:30

Sophia Shalmiyev in conversation w/Alina Pleskova

Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev grew up under the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad. An imbalance of power and widespread anti-Semitism in her homeland led her father to steal Shalmiyev away, emigrating to America and abandoning her estranged and alcoholic mother, Elena. At age eleven, Shalmiyev found herself on a plane headed west, motherless and terrified of the new world unfolding before her.

MOTHER WINTER, Shalmiyev’s debut memoir, is the story of Shalmiyev’s years of travel, searching, and forging meaningful connection with the worlds she occupies. The result is a searing meditation on motherhood, displacement, gender politics, and the pursuit of wholeness after shattering loss. And ultimately, it is an aching observation of the human heart across time and culture. 

ALINA PLESKOVA is an immigrant from Moscow turned proud Philadelphian. She co-edits bedfellows, a literary magazine that catalogs discussion of sex, desire, and intimacy. Poems appear in American Poetry Review,Cosmonauts Avenue, Entropy, Peach Mag, and more. Her first chapbook,What Urge Will Save Us, was published by Spooky Girlfriend Press in 2017. Find her at: alinapleskova.com and @nahhhlina.

"MOTHER WINTER, Sophia Shalmiyev’s catastrophically bright, wavering motion of a memoir, forged through sticky clouds of pain, is vividly awesome and truly great."—EILEEN MYLES, author of Evolution

“MOTHER WINTER is the wrenching story of her exile and grief, but it’s also a chronicle of awakening—to art, sex, feminism, and the rich complexities of becoming a mother herself. Like a punk rock Marguerite Duras, Shalmiyev has reinvented the language of longing. I love this gorgeous, gutting, unforgettable book."—LENI ZUMAS, author of Red Clocks

“Shalmiyev stubbornly, brilliantly pursues loss in this psycho-geography of immigration, grief displacement, and damage… Like the great modernist writers, Shalmiyev writes from, not about, trauma but at a pitch that’s witty, dry, sad, and laconic.” —CHRIS KRAUS, author of I Love Dick

“With sparse, poetic language Shalmiyev builds a personal history that is fractured and raw; a brilliant, lovely ache.”—MICHELLE TEA, author of Against Memoir

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Blue Stoop Presents: Esmé Weijun Wang in conversation w/Carmen Maria Machado
Feb
21
6:30 PM18:30

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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Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman in conversation w/Paul Lisicky
Feb
19
7:30 PM19:30

Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman in conversation w/Paul Lisicky

JESSICA CHICCEHITTO HINDMAN has “performed” on PBS, QVC, and at concert halls worldwide. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, Brevity, and Hippocampus. She holds a BA in Middle Eastern studies and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and a PhD in English from the University of North Texas. She teaches creative writing at Northern Kentucky University and lives in Newport, Kentucky.

About Sounds Like Titanic:

A young woman leaves Appalachia for life as a classical musician—or so she thinks.

When aspiring violinist Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City, she imagines she has achieved her lifelong dream. But the ensemble proves to be a sham. When the group “performs,” the microphones are never on. Instead, the music blares from a CD. The mastermind behind this scheme is a peculiar and mysterious figure known as The Composer, who is gaslighting his audiences with music that sounds suspiciously like the Titanic movie soundtrack. On tour with his chaotic ensemble, Hindman spirals into crises of identity and disillusionment as she “plays” for audiences genuinely moved by the performance, unable to differentiate real from fake.

Sounds Like Titanic is a surreal, often hilarious coming-of-age story. Hindman writes with precise, candid prose and sharp insight into ambition and gender, especially when it comes to the difficulties young women face in a world that views them as silly, shallow, and stupid. As the story swells to a crescendo, it gives voice to the anxieties and illusions of a generation of women, and reveals the failed promises of a nation that takes comfort in false realities.


PAUL LISICKY is the author of The Narrow Door (a New York Times Editors' Choice), Unbuilt Projects, The Burning House, Famous Builder, and Lawnboy. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Conjunctions, Fence, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Tin House, and in many other magazines and anthologies. A 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, he has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he has served on the Writing Committee since 2000. He has taught in the creative writing programs at Cornell University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere. He is currently an Associate Professor in the MFA Program at Rutgers University-Camden and lives in Brooklyn, New York. His sixth book, Later, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2020.

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Debut Drinks: Czapnik, Hurley, Lim, & Roberson
Feb
16
6:00 PM18:00

Debut Drinks: Czapnik, Hurley, Lim, & Roberson

For our second Debut Drinks we welcome four amazing debut authors to Philadelphia to share their work at the historic Pen & Pencil Club, America's oldest press club and Philly's coolest members-only bar. This event, though, is FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Doors 6pm, readings starting 7pm.

RSVP here.

DANA CZAPNIK is a 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Fiction from The New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2017, she was awarded an Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Center for Fiction. Czapnik earned her MFA at Hunter College where she was recognized with a Hertog Fellowship. She’s spent most of her career on the editorial side of professional sports including stints at ESPN the Magazine, the United States Tennis Association and the Arena Football League. Her debut novel, THE FALCONER, will be published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in January of 2019. A native New Yorker, she lives in Manhattan with her husband and son.

BLAIR HURLEY received her A.B. from Princeton University and her M.F.A. from NYU. Her stories are published or forthcoming in Ninth Letter, The Georgia Review, West Branch, Mid-American Review, Washington Square, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Descant, Fugue, and elsewhere. She has received a 2018 Pushcart Prize and scholarships from Bread Loaf and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Her debut novel, THE DEVOTED, was published in August 2018 from WW Norton & Company.

THEA LIM is the author of AN OCEAN OF MINUTES, which was a finalist for Canada's Giller Prize, and has been optioned for a TV series and translated into multiple languages. Her work has been published by Granta, the Paris Review, the Guardian, Salon, LitHub, the Southampton Review and others. She grew up in Singapore and she lives in Toronto, where she is a professor of creative writing.

BLYTHE ROBERSON is a writer and comedian whose work has been published by the New Yorker, The Onion, ClickHole, VICE Magazine, and others, and has been mentioned by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and New York Mag. She works as a researcher at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Phoebe Robinson has said that Roberson's debut essay collection, HOW TO DATE MEN WHEN YOU HATE MEN, is "funny, sharp, and feminist fun in a way we’re led to believe isn’t possible."

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Katrina Carrasco in conversation w/ Rose Skelton
Jan
28
6:30 PM18:30

Katrina Carrasco in conversation w/ Rose Skelton

Katrina Carrasco holds an MFA in fiction from Portland State University, where she received the Tom and Phyllis Burnam Graduate Fiction Scholarship and the Tom Doulis Graduate Fiction Writing Award. Her work has appeared in Witness magazine, Post Road MagazineQuaint Magazine, and other journals. The Best Bad Things, published by Farrar, Strausss & Giroux (MCD), in 2018 is her first novel.

“The Best Bad Things follows Alma/Jack’s excesses — sex, violence, booze, opium, greed — in the Washington Territory in the 1880s, where honor among thieves is scarce, but the action scenes (not to mention the sex scenes) are plentiful and crackling with tension.”

Vulture's 10 Best Crime Books of 2018

“Carrasco succeeds in coupling a feminist historical that maintains period plausibility with an exploratory queer narrative rarely seen in the crime genre … Breath-catching pacing, tantalizingly rough-and-tumble characters who are somehow both distasteful and deeply relatable, palpable erotic energy, and powerful storytelling make this a standout.”

—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Rose Skelton is currently working on Homescar, a collection of linked short stories set on an island in Scotland, which won the Larry Levis Fellowship for Fiction in 2018. Two of those stories have been published in Four Way Review and Waxwing Magazine, where she is now also the Fiction Editor. She has been a fellow at the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and has an MFA from Warren Wilson College.

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Gina Apostol in conversation w/Elise Juska
Jan
18
6:30 PM18:30

Gina Apostol in conversation w/Elise Juska

Before GINA APOSTOL's fourth novel, Insurrecto, hit the shelves, Publishers' Weekly named it one of the Ten Best Books of 2018, making her the cover author of its Best Books Issue. Insurrecto was named among the most anticipated fall books by The Millions and Buzzfeed; Amazon's Best Books for November; Strand Books December Fiction for its BookHookUp series; Entertainment Weekly's best in November; and many others. Her third book, Gun Dealers' Daughter, won the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize. Her first two novels, Bibliolepsy and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, both won the Juan Laya Prize for the Novel (Philippine National Book Award). A work-in-progress, William McKinley's World, like Insurrecto, uses her research on the Balangiga massacre and the Philippine-American War to cast a lens on our contemporary times. She was writer-in-residence at Phillips Exeter Academy and a fellow at Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, Italy, among other fellowships. Her essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Foreign Policy, Gettysburg Review, Massachusetts Review, and others. She lives in New York City and western Massachusetts and grew up in Tacloban, Philippines. She teaches at the Fieldston School in New York City.

About INSURRECTO:

Two women, a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, go on a road trip in Duterte’s Philippines, collaborating and clashing in the writing of a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War. Chiara is working on a film about an incident in Balangiga, Samar, in 1901, when Filipino revolutionaries attacked an American garrison, and in retaliation American soldiers created “a howling wilderness” of the surrounding countryside. Magsalin reads Chiara’s film script and writes her own version. Insurrecto contains within its dramatic action two rival scripts from the filmmaker and the translator—one about a white photographer, the other about a Filipino schoolteacher.

Within the spiraling voices and narrative layers of Insurrecto are stories of women—artists, lovers, revolutionaries, daughters—finding their way to their own truths and histories. Using interlocking voices and a kaleidoscopic structure, the novel is startlingly innovative, meditative, and playful. Insurrecto masterfully questions and twists narrative in the manner of Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch, and Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Apostol pushes up against the limits of fiction in order to recover the atrocity in Balangiga, and in so doing, she shows us the dark heart of an untold and forgotten war that would shape the next century of Philippine and American history.

NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon: “Gina Apostol uses an array of literary and cinematic techniques: memoirs, jump cuts, close-ups, and reveries to set a story in Duterte’s Philippines that shows us that though victors often write histories, survivors and artists can revise them.”

Elise Juska is the author of five novels, including The Blessings, which was selected for Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers series, Entertainment Weekly's "Must List," and the Philadelphia Inquirer's Best Books of 2014. Her newest novel, If We Had Known, was published last spring. Juska's short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, The Hudson ReviewHarvard Review, Electric Literature, The Millions, and numerous other places. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize from Ploughshares, and her short stories have been cited by The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. She teaches fiction writing at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. 

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Laura Adamczyk in conversation w/Sam Allingham
Jan
15
7:30 PM19:30

Laura Adamczyk in conversation w/Sam Allingham

Laura Adamczyk has won awards from the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation of Chicago and the Dzanc/DISQUIET International Literary Program. Her work has appeared in such publications as the Chicago Reader, Guernica, McSweeney’s, Ninth Letter, and Salt Hill. Her short story collection, Hardly Children, was published by FSG in November 2018. She lives in Chicago.

Sam Allingham's first book of stories, The Great American Songbook, was published by A Strange Object in Fall 2016. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, One Story, Epoch, and American Short Fiction, and online at Web Conjunctions and n+1. 


"The stories are achingly open to the vulnerability that comes with forming attachments and the surprising difficulty of breaking them." --Danielle Lazarin, The New York Times Book Review

"A striking blend of graceful sentences and eerie premises." ―Laura Pearson, Chicago Tribune

"Bold and observant . . . [Hardly Children] teems with wry writ as it explores memory and family and uncovers the unexpected in the everyday . . . Adamczyk considers the architecture of her stories, which often shift in striking ways." --Anne K. Yoder, The Millions

"Super weird, super unsettling, and super great." --The Boston Globe

“[A] knockout . . . Adamczyk’s Hardly Children focuses on young people waking up to the dangers of the adult world.” --ELLE

"Adamczyk’s accomplished debut collection pulses with an underlying sense of menace. The short opener, “Wanted,” has a quiet depth that moves it away from what is traditionally thought of as flash fiction . . . Adamczyk never writes the same story twice, giving this collection a sleek and unnerving feel as readers know something bad is going to happen, but are uncertain of what it’ll be." --Publishers Weekly

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Blue Stoop Happy Hour: Spring Course Launch
Dec
16
5:00 PM17:00

Blue Stoop Happy Hour: Spring Course Launch

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.

Enjoy a coffee, beer, wine, or cocktail and sample a snack from W/N W/N’s 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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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.

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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.

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Chaya Bhuvaneswar at Penn Book Center
Dec
8
3:00 PM15:00

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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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

Come out to celebrate Blue Stoop's first season of programming, as well as enjoy readings, drinks, and friends.

7:00: Doors, drinks, chat
7:30: Alexander Chee will read, then be in conversation with 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 Novel, which 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. Magazine, Conde 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 free and open to the public and will take place at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street. It is made possible through the generous support of the Asian Arts Initiative and the 215 Festival. There will be beer, wine, and cocktails for sale, as well as Blue Stoop tote bags, featuring donated books, journals, and wares from many of Philadelphia's most esteemed small presses, literary journals, and indie bookstores.

If you'd like to pre-pay for your tote in advance, you can donate at the $20 level or above here.

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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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