Writers’ Showcase THIS Saturday

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If you’re around the Scranton area this Saturday, I encourage you to attend the Writers’ Showcase. We have a fantastic line-up of authors who will be sharing their work. Here are their bios:

Amanda J. Bradley is the author of three books of poems: Queen Kong (2017), Oz at Night (2011), and Hints and Allegations (2009). She has published poetry and essays in many journals including Paterson Literary Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Kin Poetry Journal, Rattle, The New York Quarterly, and Poetry Bay. Amanda is a graduate of the MFA program at The New School, and she holds a PhD in English and American Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an Assistant Professor at Keystone College outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Barbara J. Taylor has an MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University. Her latest novel, All Waiting Is Long, is the sequel to her debut novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, named a “Best Book of Summer 2014” by Publishers Weekly. In addition to writing, Barbara has been teaching high school English for 30 years.

Al Manorek is an aspiring writer and poet originally from Shavertown. He is an active member of NEPA Creative Writers and the Game Chateau Writers. He enjoys performing at various local
open mics throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. He was drawn to writing at the tender age of twelve when he began writing short stories and poetry. He loves working as a Regional Substitute Teacher for Bright Horizons Family Solutions. He is an avid home brewer and professionally guest bartenders for friends in need.

Heather Harlen is the author of the Marina Konyeshna thriller series (Northampton House Press). SHAME, SHAME, I KNOW YOUR NAME is the second book in the thrillogy. Heather was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania and has coal dust in her blood, so this series takes place in the Wilkes-Barre area. She earned an M.A. in creative writing from Wilkes University and currently teachies high school English in Allentown. Her writing has been featured in publications such as Hippocampus and Yoganonymous. Find out more at www.heatherharlen.com.

Robert Fillman won the poetry contest at the 2016 Pennsylvania Writers Conference at Wilkes University and has been featured as a “Showcase Poet” in the Aurorean. Recently, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Blueline, Chiron Review, Off the Coast, Pembroke Magazine, Spillway, and others. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate and Teaching Fellow at Lehigh University, where he also edits the university literary magazine, Amaranth, and runs the Drown Writers Series. He lives in eastern Pennsylvania with his wife, Melissa, and their two children, Emma and Robbie.

Authors will have books for sale, too!

In Defense Of…

Confession: for a few months, I pondered ending the reading series that I’ve been running for over five years, The Writers’ Showcase. The series has undergone a lot since its inception, including three venue changes and a co-host who moved to Philadelphia. However, after talking to writer friends from across the county, I’ve decided to keep it going. I’m grateful to them for sparking my motivation to keep doing this thing. We’ve had a lot of conversations about the Trump age and what this means for the arts, namely if the NEA and NHE are totally defunded, which has been proposed in the Trump budget. No matter the fate of those organizations, it is imperative that we keep these local reading series going as a means to give a voice to writers. Writers have always been a form of resistance, and we need to ensure that we have spaces and series to make their work available to the public. With that in mind, I am going to host another edition of the Writers’ Showcase in April, and we’re thrilled about the line-up, which is included on the flyer below. I am also committing myself to continue writing book reviews for other writers. My goal is to write 4-6 reviews a year, a schedule I’ve been able to keep up with over the last few years and one I think I can maintain. Here is a new review I wrote of Patrick T. Reardon’s book Requiem for David, which I highly recommend. I was not familiar with his work until the editor of At the Inkwell asked me if I wanted to review it. Another goal for me is to review books of authors I’m not familiar with, as a way to expose myself to work outside of my usual circle and do the same for others.

Let’s think about ways that we can continue supporting our local art scenes because we really need that right now.

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When it gets closer to the date, I will post the bios of our featured writers for April.

Buy the man a beer, or something

Three years ago,  Jason Lucarelli and I met to discuss creating a new reading series in northeast, Pennsylvania, one that would include featured readers only, no open mic, and combine poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Out of those initial meetings came the Writers Showcase Reading Series, which was held at the now defunct New Visions Studio and Gallery in Scranton and then the Vintage Theater this past year. We wanted to showcase the work of our friends, and since then, we’ve hosted over 100 writers, some local and some from far away as Chicago.

Jason has been an instrumental part of this reading series. He has invited several poets and prose writers to our area, connections he’s made through his  low-res M.F.A. program in Vermont.  Furthermore, once I started the Ph.D. program, took on a full-time teaching job, and released a new book, he took on the press duties  and has succeeded in ensuring our readings got publicity in the weekly arts papers.  So far (fingers crossed) we’ve never had a low turnout for any of the readings, and that is because of Jason’s hard work getting the word out.

All of this said, Jason will be moving away to Philly for a new job. I wish him the best of luck. We ran this series for three years, and it’s been a great run. It will continue, at least for July and November, dates we confirmed a long time ago with the Vintage. Our next reading will be Saturday, July 12 at 7 p.m., and it will feature Bryne and Charlotte Lewis, Paul Capoccia, Eric Wilson, and Bernadette McBride. Here is the Facebook event page.

When it’s a little closer to the date, I’ll post more info about July’s featured writers, including their bios, and post some articles from the local arts papers. It’s unclear now whether or not Jason will still be in town to co-host the reading, but if he is there, give him a thank you for co-organizing this series over the last three years. Buy the man a beer when we all go out to a bar afterwards.

Here’s a picture from the first reading at New Visions. The featured readers were Norma Bernstock, Amye Archer, Steve Keating, Alexis Belluzzi, Tom Borthwick, Jason, and I. In the meantime, keep supporting the other readings in the area, both the open mics and featured readers series. Other people like Jason put a lot of time and energy into sustaining this local literary community, and they deserve support.

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