6:30 PM18:30

Halfway There: October 28

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We can’t wait to welcome you to the first reading of our FIFTH season! And what a reading it will be, featuring Chaya Bhuvaneswar, Marcy Dermansky, Shelly Oria, and Tamara Zbrizher. Doors to the Red Eye Cafe will open at 6:30pm, with readings at 7pm, followed by a Q&A. Baked goods and coffee will be available from the Red Eye Cafe and books will be for sale from Watchung Booksellers.

Chaya Bhuvaneswar is a practicing physician and writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative Magazine, The Awl, Tin House, Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, story South, aaduna, r.k.v.r.y. and elsewhere. She has received a Henfield writing award, a Rhodes scholarship, and is a frequent public speaker on social justice as well as trauma and recovery. Her debut short story collection, White Dancing Elephants, was selected as the winner of Dzanc Books' 2017 Short Story Collection Prize, a finalist for the PEN American Robert Bingham Prize for Debut Story Collection and has received rave reviews in the LA Times, SF Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue India and elsewhere.

Marcy Dermansky is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Very Nice, The Red Car, Bad Marie and TwinsVery Nice, released on July 2, 2019 received rave reviews in The Washington Post, NY Newsday, NPR, People Magazine and elsewhere. Roxane Gay gave Very Nice 5 stars on Instagram and Sarah Jessica Parker just picked the novel as one of her favorite summer books. The Red Car was named a Best Book of the Year by Buzzfeed, San Francisco Chronicle, Flavorwire, and Huffington Post. Bad Marie was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer's Pick, a finalist in the Morning News Tournament of Books, and named one of the best novels of the year in Esquire. Her first novel Twins was a New York Times Editor's Choice Pick. Marcy's short fiction has been widely published and anthologized, appearing in McSweeney's, Guernica, The Indiana Review, Lenny Letter and elsewhere. Her essay "Maybe I Loved You" appeared in the best-selling anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York. Marcy has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and The Edward Albee Foundation.  She is the winner of the Smallmouth Press Andre Dubus Novella Award and Story Magazine Carson McCullers short story prize.  Powell's Bookstore named Marcy a Writer to Watch Out For. Marcy received her Bachelor of Arts at Haverford College and her Master of Arts at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern, Mississippi. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her daughter Nina.

Shelly Oria is the author of New York 1, Tel Aviv 0 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), which earned nominations for a Lambda Literary Award and the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, among other honors. Recently she coauthored a digital novella, CLEAN, commissioned by WeTransfer and McSweeney’s, which received two Lovie Awards from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. In September of 2019, Indelible in the Hippocampus, an anthology of writings from the #metoo movement, compiled and edited by Oria, was published by McSweeney’s. Oria's fiction has appeared in The Paris Review and elsewherehas been translated to other languages; and has won a number of awards, including the Indiana Review Fiction Prize, a Sozopol Fiction Seminars Fellowship in Bulgaria, and the LMCC Workspace Grant. For several years, Oria curated and hosted the series Sweet! Actors Reading Writers in the East Village, along with theatre director Annie Levy. Oria lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she codirected the Writer’s Forum at the Pratt Institute for seven years, and where she has a private practice as a creativity coach.

Tamara Zbrizher is a Ukrainian American poet. She received her MFA at Drew University. Her work has been published in Event, Grist, Tinderbox Journal, Lunch Ticket, Naugatuck River Review, Mom Egg Review and others. Tamara’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net. Her first full-length collection Tell Me Something Good was released from Get Fresh Books in April 2019. She lives in New Jersey with her son and two overfed cats.

photo credits: Marcy Dermansky by Michael Lionstar, Shelly Oria by T Kira Madden

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6:30 PM18:30

Halfway there: June 17th

We look forward to seeing you at our powerhouse last reading of the season! Doors to the Red Eye Cafe will open at 6:30pm, with readings at 7pm, followed by a Q&A. Baked goods and coffee will be available from the Red Eye Cafe and books will be for sale from Watchung Booksellers. We can’t wait!

Jen DeGregorio's poetry and prose has appeared in Apogee online, The Baltimore Review, The Collagist, PANK, The Rumpus, The Smart Set, Third Coast, Spoon River Poetry Review, WSQ (Women's Studies Quarterly), Yes Poetry, and elsewhere. She has taught writing, literature, and arts courses at colleges in New Jersey and New York. She is currently a PhD student in English at Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY), where she is a graduate fellow with the Human Rights Institute.

Michele Filgate is a contributing editor at Literary Hub and the editor of an anthology based on her Longreads essayWhat My Mother and I Don’t Talk Aboutforthcoming from Simon & Schuster on April 30, 2019. Currently, she is an M.F.A. student at NYU, where she is the recipient of the Stein Fellowship. Her work has appeared in LongreadsThe Washington PostThe Los Angeles TimesThe Boston GlobeRefinery29SliceThe Paris Review DailyTin HouseGulf CoastThe RumpusSalonInterview MagazineBuzzfeedThe Barnes & Noble ReviewPoets & WritersCNN.comFine Books & Collections MagazineDAME MagazineThe Brooklyn QuarterlyTime Out New YorkPeopleThe Daily BeastO, The Oprah MagazineMen's JournalVultureVol. 1 Brooklyn, The Star TribuneThe Quarterly ConversationThe Brooklyn Rail, and other publications. She teaches creative nonfiction for The Sackett Street Writers' WorkshopCatapult, and Stanford Continuing Studies and is the founder of the Red Ink series. In 2016, Brooklyn Magazine named her one of "The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture." She’s a former board member of the National Book Critics Circle.

Jaclyn Gilbert received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and BA from Yale University.  She is the recipient of a research fellowship from the New York Public Library, a contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and her work has appeared in Post Road Magazine, Tin House, Lit Hub, and elsewhere.  She has led writing workshops at the Valhalla Correctional Facility, the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and Curious-on-Hudson in Dobbs Ferry.  She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and Weimaraner, Phin.  Late Air (Little A, 2018) is her first novel. 

T Kira Madden is a lesbian 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. 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. She facilitates writing workshops for homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. Her debut memoir, LONG LIVE THE TRIBE OF FATHERLESS GIRLS, is available now. There is no period in her name.

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6:30 PM18:30

Halfway There: April 15th

We are very excited to welcome ROSEBUD BEN-ONI, JENNIFER FRANKLIN, ROBERTO CARLOS GARCIA, JILL ROSENBERG, and RAKESH SATYAL to the Red Eye Cafe on April 15. Doors open at 6:30, readings begin at 7 P.M. followed by an audience Q&A.

Come early for Red Eye coffee, tea, and treats. Stick around after for mingling and book buying, courtesy of Watchung Booksellers. As always, this is a FREE event! Bring a friend!
Rosebud Ben-Oni is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a 2013 CantoMundo Fellow; her most recent collection of poems, turn around, BRXGHT XYXS, was selected as Agape Editions' EDITORS' CHOICE, and will be published in 2019. She writes weekly for The Kenyon Reviewblog. Her work appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, The Poetry Review (UK), Tin House, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, among others; her poem "Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark" was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, and published by The Kenyon Review Online. Find her at 7TrainLove.org

Jennifer Franklin is the author No Small Gift (Four Way Books, 2018) and Looming (Elixir Press, 2015). Her poetry has appeared in Blackbird, Boston Review, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, The Nation, Paris Review, “Poem-A-Day” on poets.org, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She holds an AB from Brown University and an MFA from Columbia University where she was the Harvey Baker Fellow. She teaches poetry workshops and seminars at Hudson Valley Writers Center, where she serves as Program Director and co-editor of Slapering Hol Press. She lives in New York City.

Poet, storyteller, and essayist Roberto Carlos Garcia is a self-described “sancocho […] of provisions from the Harlem Renaissance, the Spanish Poets of 1929, the Black Arts Movement, the Nuyorican School, and the Modernists.” Garcia is rigorously interrogative of himself and the world around him, conveying “nakedness of emotion, intent, and experience,” and he writes extensively about the Afro-Latinx and Afro-diasporic experience. His second poetry collection, black / Maybe, is available from Willow Books. Roberto’s first collection, Melancolía, is available from Červená Barva Press. His poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Bettering American Poetry, The Root, Those People, Rigorous, Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Gawker, Barrelhouse, The Acentos Review, Lunch Ticket, and many others. He is founder of the cooperative press Get Fresh Books, LLC. A native New Yorker, Roberto holds an MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Jill Rosenberg’s short stories have been published in Crazyhorse, The Kenyon Review Online, The Black Warrior Review, and other journals. She is a graduate of Vassar College and received her MFA from the University of Montana. She lives in Montclair, where she is writing a novel.

Rakesh Satyal is a Senior Editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. He held previous positions at Doubleday and HarperCollins and spent three years working as a naming specialist in the world of branding. He has sat on the advisory board for the annual PEN World Voices Festival and has taught in the publishing program at New York University. He is the author of the novels Blue Boy and No One Can Pronounce My Name.

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10:15 AM10:15

Reading at the Montclair Literary Festival

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Join us for our FREE Lit Fest event showcasing New Jersey local and emerging voices: Marina Antropow Cramer, Richard Klin, Johnny Lorenz, Dawn Raffel, and Frank Rubino. Start your morning at the festival with these inspiring writers!

10:15 in the YA room at the Montclair Public Library
Marina Antrapow Cramer - Born in postwar Germany into a family of refugees from the Soviet Union, Marina Antropow Cramer has enjoyed the benefit of lifelong ties to the Russian expatriate community on both sides of the Atlantic. She holds a BA degree in English from Upsala College in East Orange, NJ. Her work has been performed by Roselee Blooston's Short Story Theater, as part of the non-profit Tunnel Vision Writers' Project, which showcased spoken word, music, and visual art projects. Her short stories have appeared online in Blackbird Literary Journal, Istanbul Literary Review, and Wilderness House Literary Review. Between 1985 and 2002, she owned and operated The Cup and Chaucer Bookstore in Montclair, NJ. When its doors closed, she worked for Watchung booksellers, a fellow Montclair bookseller, until 2014, when she left bookselling to focus on writing full-time. She now lives in New York's Hudson Valley. Roads is her first novel.

Richard Klin's novel, Petroleum Transfer Engineer (Underground Voices), is set at the Jersey shore, circa 1983. The author of two nonfiction books, his work has been featured on Public Radio International's Studio 360 and has appeared in the Atlantic, the Brooklyn Rail, the Forward,Akashic Books' "Thursdaze' series, Flyover Country Review, and many others.

Johnny Lorenz is the son of Brazilian immigrants to the U.S., and he received his doctorate in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000. He is an associate professor at Montclair State University. His poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Quiddity, Rattapallax and the anthology Luso-American Literature. In 2013, he was a finalist for Best Translated Book for his translation of A Breath of Life by Clarice Lispector (New Directions), and his translation of Lispector's The Besieged City will appear in April 2019. His book of poems, Education by Windows, was published by Poets & Traitors Press in the summer of 2018. Photo Credit: Bernie Dechant

Dawn Raffel's new book is The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies. It’s the true story of the “incubator doctor” of Coney Island and Atlantic City who saved premature infants by placing them in sideshows on the boardwalk. NPR chose it as one of the great reads of 2018, describing it as “a mosaic mystery told in vignettes, cliffhangers, curious asides, and some surreal plot twists as Raffel investigates the secrets of the man who changed infant care in America.” Previous books include an illustrated memoir, The Secret Life of Objects, a novel, and two story collections. Photo Credit: Claire Holt

Frank Rubino’s poetry has been published in Vending Machine, DMQ Review, The Cape Rock, Caliban Online, Caveat Lector, Inscape, The Oleander Review, The World, and Little Light, among others. His poem, I'm Alive was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Carbon Culture Review. He’s performed his poetry since 1982, reading at St. Mark’s Poetry Project, The Ear Inn, The Cornelia Street Cafe, and numerous other locations in and around NYC. Like most other poets he knows, Rubino has a job— in a tech startup. He Instagrams as @xmlnovelist and lives in New Jersey.

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6:30 PM18:30

Halfway There: January 14

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Please join us on January 14th for the next Halfway There. We are very excited to have Steph Auteri, Jennifer Baker, Kathy Curto, Crystal Hana Kim joining us!

Doors open at 6:30, readings begin at 7P.M. followed by an audience Q&A. Come early for Red Eye coffee, tea, and treats. Stick around after for and mingling and book buying, courtesy of Watchung Booksellers. As always, this is a FREE event! 

Bring a friend!
Steph Auteri is a journalist and editor who has written about women’s health and sexuality for the Atlantic, VICE, Pacific Standard, the Washington Post, and other publications. Her more personal work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Rumpus, Brain, Child, and elsewhere, and she regularly nerds out about books over at Book Riot. Steph is the author of A Dirty Word, which recently made the annual 35 Over 35 list. You can learn more at stephauteri.com. 

Jennifer Baker is long-time a publishing professional, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and contributing editor to Electric Literature. In 2017, she was awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship & a Queens Council on the Arts New Work Grant for Nonfiction Literature. Her essay, "What We Aren't (or the Ongoing Divide)" is listed as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2018. Jennifer is editor of the short story anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life (Atria Books, 2018). Her writing has appeared in Forbes.com, LitHub, Poets & Writers, and Bustle among other print & online publications. Her website is jennifernbaker.com.

Kathy Curto teaches at The Writing Institute/Sarah Lawrence College and Montclair State University. She is the author of Not for Nothing-Glimpses into a Jersey Girlhood published by Bordighera Press. Her work has been featured in the essay collection, Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now, and in The New York Times, Barrelhouse, La Voce di New York, Drift, Talking Writing, Junk, The Inquisitive Eater, The Asbury Park Press, VIA-Voices in Italian Americana, Ovunque Siamo and Lumina. She has been the recipient of the Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship, the Montclair State University Engaged Teaching Fellowship and also serves on the faculty of the Joe Papaleo Writers’ Workshop in Cetara, Italy. Kathy lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and their four children.

Crystal Hana Kim’s debut novel If You Leave Me was named a best book of 2018 by The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Literary Hub, and ALA Booklist. It was longlisted for the Center for Fiction Novel Prize. Crystal was a 2017 PEN America Dau Short Story Prize winner and has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook, Jentel, among others. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, Elle Magazine, The Paris Review, Electric Literature,and elsewhere. She is a contributing editor at Apogee Journal. (Photo credit: Nina Subin)

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6:30 PM18:30

Halfway There: October 15th

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Join us on Monday, October 15th as we kick off season 4 of Halfway There! We are thrilled to have Jimin Han, Jared Harél, Jillian Medoff, and Dimitri Reyes joining us for the first reading of our new season. Read more about these fabulous authors down below.

As always, doors open at 6:30, readings begin at 7P.M. Come early for Red Eye coffee, tea, and treats. And stick around after the Q&A for and mingling and book buying, courtesy of Watchung Booksellers!

Jimin Han was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island; Dayton, Ohio; and Jamestown, New York. Her writing can be found or is forthcoming online at NPR’s “Weekend America,” Platypus Press, Poets & Writers, Entropy, The Rumpus, Hyphen Magazine, Pleiades Blog, and elsewhere. A podcast discussing Love and Democracy is on Asian American Writers Workshop’s website. A Small Revolution, her first novel, was among Entropy’s Best Fiction of 2017, Pleiades Editors’ Choice 2017, Redbook Magazine’s 20 Books By Women You Must Read This Spring, Buzzfeed’s 6 Binge-worthy Literary Books of May, CNN’s Summer Beach Reads, and Electric Literature’s list of 34 Books By Women of Color To Read This Year and its list of Ten Galvanizing Books About Political Protest. She teaches at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College

Jared Harél is the author of Go Because I Love You (Diode Editions, 2018) and The Body Double (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012). He’s been awarded the ‘Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize’ from American Poetry Review, as well as the ‘William Matthews Poetry Prize’ from Asheville Poetry Review. His poems have also appeared in such journals as Tin House, The Threepenny Review, The Southern Review, Poetry Daily, Massachusetts Review and 32 Poems. Harél plays drums for the rock band Flyin’ J & The Ghostrobber, teaches writing at Nassau Community College and lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two kids. For more info, stop by: jaredharel.com 

Jillian Medoff is the acclaimed author of four novels. Her latest, THIS COULD HURT, an “absorbing workplace drama with heart,”* landed on many “Best of” and “Must Read” lists, including Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, NY Post, Real Simple, O Magazine, Poets & Writers, People, Fast Company, Chicago Review of Books, Parade, and the Millions, among others. She also wrote the much-lauded national bestseller I COULDN’T LOVE YOU MORE, GOOD GIRLS GONE BAD, and HUNGER POINT, which was made into an original cable movie starring Christina Hendricks and Barbara Hershey. A former fellow at MacDowell, Blue Mountain Center, VCCA and Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain, Jillian has an MFA from NYU.

Dimitri Reyes is a Puerto-Vegan writer, educator, and YouTuber from Newark, New Jersey. He is the recipient of the SLICE Magazine's 2017 Bridging the Gap Award for Emerging Poets and a finalist for the 2017 Arcturus Poetry Prize by the Chicago Review of Books. As a community organizer, Dimitri is involved in many organizations including the Newark Film Festival and Poets for Puerto Rico. He has his MFA in Poetry from Rutgers University- Newark and is published in Entropy, Obsidian, Acentos, Anomaly, Kweli, and others. Lastly, you can find him expanding the poetry community at,http://youtube.com/c/dimitrireyespoet

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6:30 PM18:30

Halfway There: June 18th

We'll see you at the Red Eye Cafe at 6:30pm for coffee, drinks, and mingling, then at 7pm for readings from four wonderful authors, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Ananda Lima, Lisa Romeo, and Leah Umansky. Stay after the Q&A to buy books supplied by Watchung Booksellers and to meet the writers!

Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the debut novel, HERE COMES THE SUN (Norton/Liveright, July 2016). Dennis-Benn is a Lambda Literary Award winner, named by Time Out Magazine as an immigrant making a stamp on New York City. Her debut novel has received much acclaim including: a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a NPR Best Books of 2016, an Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016, a BuzzFeed Best Literary Debuts of 2016, among others. Dennis-Benn's debut novel has received a starred Kirkus Review and is deemed one of the best books to read this summer and beyond by New York Times, NPR, BBC, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, Bookish, Miami Herald, Elle, O Magazine, Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, Flavorwire, After Ellen, BookPage, Cosmopolitan, Brooklyn Magazine, among others. New York Times Book reviewer, Jennifer Senior describes HERE COMES THE SUN as a “lithe, artfully-plotted debut”; Pulitzer Prize finalist, Laila Lalami, as well as Booklist have deemed it a "fantastic debut"; and Man Booker Prize winner, Marlon James says “[Here Comes the Sun] is a story waiting to be told”. Dennis-Benn was shortlisted for the Texas Library Association 2017 Lariat. She has been a named a finalist for Princeton Arts Fellowship, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award , and The New York Public Library Young Lions Award
     Her work has appeared in The New York TimesELLE MagazineElectric LiteratureLenny LetterCatapult, Red Rock Review, Kweli Literary JournalMosaicEbony, and the Feminist Wire. Her writing has been awarded a Richard and Julie Logsdon Fiction Prize; and two of her stories have been nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize in Fiction. Vicelisted Dennis-Benn among immigrant authors "who are making American Literature great again." 
     Dennis-Benn is a Kowald Visiting Faculty in City College's MFA Program and Faculty in the Creative Writing Program at NYU; and has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell ColonyHedgebrook, Lambda, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Hurston/Wright, and Sewanee Writers' Conference. 
     Dennis-Benn was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She is a graduate of St. Andrew High School for Girls and Cornell University; and holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York. 

Ananda Lima’s work has appeared or is upcoming in The American Poetry Review, Colorado Review, Rattle, The Offing, Jubilat, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Collagist, New South, PANK and elsewhere. She has an MA in Linguistics from UCLA and is pursuing an MFA in fiction from Rutgers University, Newark.  She was selected for the AWP Writer to Writer program and has attended workshops at Bread Loaf, Tin House, the Community of Writers and Sewanee, where she currently serves as staff. Ananda has taught at Montclair State University and UCLA and currently teaches undergraduate creative writing at Rutgers-Newark. Ananda lives in New Jersey with her husband and their son.

Lisa Romeo is the author of Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss, (University of Nevada Press). Her nonfiction is listed in Best American Essays 2016, and has appeared in the New York Times, O The Oprah Magazine, Longreads, Brain Child, Inside Jersey, Tishman Review, Sport Literate, Sweet, Barnstorm, Brevity, and Hippocampus. Lisa is thesis advisor to Bay Path University’s MFA program. She holds an MFA from Stonecoast/University of Southern Maine, teaches in New Jersey with The Writers Circle, and works as a freelance editor and writing coach. Lisa lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and sons.

Leah Umansky is the author of The Barbarous Century (Eyewear 2018), among others. She earned her MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and is the curator and host of The COUPLET Reading Series in NYC. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as POETRY, Guernica, The New York Times, Pleiades, Salamander, and the anthologies, The Eloquent Poem (Persea Books) and Misrepresented Peoples (NYQ Books). She is #teamkhaleesi & #teammaeve.

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6:30 PM18:30

Halfway There: April 23rd

We'll see you at the Red Eye Cafe at 6:30pm for coffee, drinks, and mingling, then at 7pm for readings from three wonderful authors (N. West Moss, previously scheduled for this date, had to reschedule!). Stay after the Q&A to buy books supplied by Watchung Booksellers and to meet the writers!

Traci Brimhall is the author of Saudade (Copper Canyon, 2017), Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Believer, The New Republic, and Best American Poetry. She’s received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the National Endowment for the Arts. She’s an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Kansas State University.

Joan Silber was raised in New Jersey and received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied writing with Grace Paley. She moved to New York after college and has made it her home ever since. She holds an M.A. from New York University.
     She’s written eight books of fiction. Her first book, the novel Household Words won the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her other works of fiction are In the City, In My Other Life, Lucky Us, Ideas of Heaven, finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize, The Size of the World, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Prize in Fiction, and Fools, longlisted for the National Book Award and finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Her novel, Improvement, published in 2018, is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. 
     She’s also the author of The Art of Time in Fiction.
     She’s been the recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her short fiction has been chosen for the O. Henry Prize, Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories. Stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Epoch, Agni, Tin House, The Southern Review, The Colorado Review, and other magazines.
     Joan teaches fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. She’s also taught at New York University, the University of Utah, Boston University, and the 92nd Street Y. Her summer teaching has included conferences at Napa Valley, Bread Loaf, Indiana University, Manhattanville College, Stonecoast, Aspen, and Sarah Lawrence College.
     Joan lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, with her dog, Lucille, and she travels as often as she can, with a particular interest in Asia.  

Kem Joy Ukwu's fiction has appeared in PANK, BLACKBERRY: a magazine, Carve, TINGE, Blue Lake Review, Jabberwock Review, Auburn Avenue, The Brooklyn Quarterly and Day One. Her short story collection manuscript, Locked Gray / Linked Blue, was selected as a finalist for the 2016 New American Fiction Prize and was published by Brain Mill Press in 2018. Born and raised in the Bronx, she currently lives in New Jersey with her husband. More of her work can be found at kemjoyukwu.com.


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2:45 PM14:45

Halfway There at the Montclair Literary Festival

We are thrilled to be a part of the Montclair Literary Festival for the second year. We will be welcoming a line-up of five established and emerging New Jersey authors to the YA Room at the Montclair Public Library. See you there!

Nancy Burke is the author of From the Abuelas’ Window, a story of the disappeared in Chile under Pinochet’s regime and If I Could Paint the Moon Black, a true story of a young girl who fled into Nazi Germany as the German occupiers lost to the Russians. Nancy’s short stories have appeared in Meat for Tea: The Valley Review and Pilgrim Journal. Nancy teaches writing at Montclair State and Kean University. She holds a communications position at Union County College and is active in two local writing workshops, Working Title Six and Finding Our Way Back, a group dedicated to healing from loss though writing. Nancy is at work revising her novel based in a fictitious Essex County town and her short story collection, Units of Measure. She holds a Creative Writing MFA from Rutgers University, Newark. She resides in Montclair and is the mother of three twenty-something daughters.
Dani Fleischer is a memoirist who’s been published in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Essig Magazine, The Classical, Role Reboot, and Scary Mommy. She is a freelance writer for NJ Advance Media, a blogger at sumofmypiecesblog.wordpress.com, and an ACT/SAT tutor. A beginner at this writing game, she is 200 pages into a memoir that she’d hoped to have done by now, and believes very much in Ray Carver’s edict about showing up at your station every day. Currently, her station is located in Summit, New Jersey.

Carole Stone, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Montclair State University has published four poetry books, among them, LATE, HURT, THE SHADOW and AMERICAN RHAPSODY. Her most recent poems appear in Blue Fifth Review, Poetry Breakfast, US1 Worksheets, Slab, and in the Donut Anthology, Terrapin Press. She has received three fellowships from the NJ State Council on the arts.

John J. Trause, the Director of Oradell Public Library, is the author of Why Sing? (Sensitive Skin Press, 2017);Picture This: For Your Eyes and Ears (Dos Madres Press, 2016); Exercises in High Treason (great weather for MEDIA, 2016; Eye Candy for Andy (13 Most Beautiful… Poems for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, Finishing Line Press, 2013); Inside Out, Upside Down, and Round and Round (Nirala Publications, 2012); Seriously Serial (Poets Wear Prada, 2007; rev. ed. 2014); and Latter-Day Litany (Éditions élastiques, 1996), the latter staged Off Broadway.  His translations, poetry, and visual work appear internationally in many journals and anthologies, including Rabbit Ears: TV Poems (NYQ Books, 2015).  Marymark Press has published his visual poetry and art as broadsides and sheets.  He is a founder of the William Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative in Rutherford, N. J., and the former host and curator of its monthly reading series.

Kristen Witucki is the author of The Transcriber and her newest novel, Outside Myself, an extraordinary insight into living without sight. Kristen has been totally blind since birth. She earned a BA in English from Vassar College and three Masters degrees: an MA in teaching gifted students from Teachers College, Columbia University, an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and an Ed.M in teaching students who are blind or visually impaired from Dominican College. While in school, she earned her living at Learning Ally, where she helped people with visual impairments, dyslexia and other disabilities to access technology related to reading audio books. Kristen is now the curriculum and content editor for Learning Ally’s College Success Program. Her nonfiction work has appeared at the Huffington Post, the Momoir Project, Literary Mama and Brain, Child. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and sons.

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6:30 PM18:30

Halfway There: January 22nd

Join us at 6:30pm on January 22nd for our first event of 2018! Readings will start at 7pm, followed by a Q&A, books by Watchung Booksellers, and as always, delicious coffee and treats from the Red Eye Cafe. We can't wait to hear Kim Coleman Foote, Evie Shockley, Bud Smith, and Nancy Star share their words! 

Kim Coleman Foote is a writer of fiction, essays, and experimental prose. In addition to a 2015 NYFA Fellowship in fiction and a 2014 NEA Literature Fellowship, she has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Hedgebrook, Illinois Arts Council, and elsewhere. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Another Chicago Magazine, Obsidian, Black Renaissance Noire, Crab Orchard Review, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a novel about the trans-Atlantic slave trade and a story collection fictionalizing her family's experience of the Great Migration from Alabama to New Jersey. She lives in Brooklyn.

Evie Shockley is the author of the new black, for which she won the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, and the recently released semiautomatic (Wesleyan, 2017), among other collections of poetry.  She has also published a critical study, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry.  Her poetry and essays appear widely in journals and anthologies. Her honors include the 2015 Stephen Henderson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry and the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize.  Currently serving as creative editor for Feminist Studies, Shockley is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

Bud Smith is a graduate of Central Regional High School. 

Nancy Star is the author of five novels, including her most recent, Sisters One, Two, Three, an emotionally gripping portrait of a family fractured by secrets. Published by Lake Union, the novel made Publishers Weekly’s “Top Ten Print Book and Amazon Kindle Bestsellers of 2016”. Nancy’s previous books include a scathing comic novel, Carpool Diem, two mysteries, Up Next and Now This, and a psychological suspense novel, Buried Lives. Nancy is also an essayist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Money and Family Circle.

Before turning to writing fiction full time, Nancy was a movie executive for the Samuel Goldwyn Company. Working in New York and London, she collaborated with writers and directors on original material, scouted for books and plays for adaptation, and acquired independent films for release.

Nancy lives with her husband, Larry, in Montclair, the town in which they raised their two wonderful daughters and where Nancy has had the good fortune to find a community of talented, hard-working and supportive writers. You can follow her on Twitter @NancyStarAuthor and Instagram, @nancystarauthor or visit her at nancystarauthor.com and on Facebook Nancy.Star.Author

Photo credits

Evie Shockley: Nancy Crampton

Nancy Star: Nina Subin 



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Season 3 Kick Off: October 23

Join us as we kick off Season 3 of Halfway There with four fantastic authors. Julie Buntin, Laurie Lico Albanese, Victoria Redel, and Laura Spence-Ash.

Doors open at 6:30 for coffee, treats, and book buying. Readings begin at 7:00 followed by a Q&A. See you there!
Julie Buntin is from northern Michigan. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, Cosmopolitan, O, The Oprah Magazine, Slate, Electric Literature, and One Teen Story, among other publications. She teaches fiction writing at Marymount Manhattan College, and is the director of writing programs at Catapult. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Laurie Lico Albanese has published fiction, poetry, journalism, travel writing, creative nonfiction, and memoir. Her books include Blue Suburbia: Almost a Memoir, Lynelle by the Sea, and The Miracles of Prato, co-written with art historian Laura Morowitz. Laurie is married to a publishing executive and is the mother of two children. To learn more visit her at LaurieLicoAlbanese.com.

Victoria Redel is the author of three books of poetry and five books of fiction. Her latest novel Before Everything was published in June 2017. She is a Professor at Sarah Lawrence College.

Laura Spence-Ash serves as Editor-in-Chief of CRAFT and Editor-at-Large for The Masters Review. Her blog series for Ploughshares on fiction responding to fiction appears monthly. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in One Story, New England Review, The Scofield, Literary Hub and elsewhere. Her book reviews have been published in Ploughshares and The Masters Review. Currently working on a collection of linked stories and a novel, Laura received her MFA in Fiction from Rutgers-Newark where she was a Presidential Fellow.

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6:30 PM18:30

June Reading: Cooley, Galef, Manick, Teicher

Please join us as we close out our '16-'17 season with Nicole Cooley, David Galef, Cynthia Manick, and Craig Morgan Teicher! Doors open at 6:30pm for coffee, mingling, and bookbuying. Readings begin at 7pm followed by a Q&A! Hope to see you there!

Nicole Cooley grew up in New Orleans. Her most recent books are two forthcoming collections of poetry: Girl after Girl after Girl (LSU Press, 2017) and Of Marriage (Alice James Books, 2018). She has published four other collections of poems, a novel and a chapbook. Her poetry and non-fiction has appeared in The Rumpus, The Atlantic, and The Feminist Wire among other venues. She is currently finishing a non-fiction book, My Dollhouse, Myself: Miniature Histories. She is the director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College-City University of New York.

David Galef is a shameless eclectic, with over a dozen books in two dozen directions, including the novels Flesh, Turning Japanese, and How to Cope with Suburban Stress (a Book Sense choice, listed by Kirkus as one of the Best 30 Books of 2006); the short-story collections Laugh Track and My Date with Neanderthal Woman (winner of Dzanc Books’ Short Story Collection Award); and the co-edited anthology of fiction 20 over 40. His latest volume is Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook, from Columbia University Press. A co-founder of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at the University of Mississippi, he is now a professor of English and creative writing program director at Montclair State University.

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). A Pushcart nominee, she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Hedgebrook, and Poets House. Serves as East Coast Editor of Jamii Publishing and is Founder of the reading series Soul Sister Revue. Her poem "Things I Carry Into the World" was recently made into a short film by Motionpoems, an organization dedicated to video poetry. Manick's work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets' Poem-A-Day Series, African American Review, Kweli, Muzzle Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Craig Morgan Teicher is the author of three books of poems, The Trembling Answers (BOA, 2017), To Keep Love Blurry (BOA, 2012), and Brenda Is in the Room and Other Poems, (CLP, 2007), winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry. He also wrote Cradle Book: Stories and Fables (BOA, 2010) and the chapbook Ambivalence and Other Conundrums (Omnidawn, 2014). His first collection of essays We Begin in Gladness, will be published by Graywolf. Teicher edited Once and For All: The Best of Delmore Schwartz (New Directions, 2016) and serves as a poetry editor for The Literary Review. He writes about books for many publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The LA Times, and NPR. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and children.

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6:30 PM18:30

Halfway There: April 3rd

Join us at the Red Eye Cafe for an incredible spring line-up! We are so pleased to welcome Claudia Cortese, Marcy Dermansky, Melissa Febos, and Lauren Grodstein to Halfway There.

Each of them will be celebrating the release of a new book, which you can pick up from Watchung Booksellers, who will be on hand. Doors open at 6:30pm for coffee and mingling, the readings start at 7pm and will be followed by an audience Q&A, with time after for book-buying and signing. See you there!

Claudia Cortese is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer. Her first book, WASP QUEEN, was published by Black Lawrence Press in early 2017. She has had work featured in Blackbird, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast Online, and The Offing, among others, and is a book reviewer for Muzzle Magazine. The daughter of Neapolitan immigrants, Cortese grew up in Ohio and lives in New Jersey. She also lives at claudia-cortese.com

Marcy Dermansky is the author of the novels Bad Marie, Twins, and most recently The Red Car. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney's, Salon, and the Paris Review. Marcy recently moved to Montclair and she is glad that she did. 

Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010), and the essay collection, Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017). Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Tin House, Granta, Prairie Schooner,Glamour, Salon, New York Times, Guernica, Dissent, Poets & Writers, Lenny Letter, Vogue.com, Elle UK, and elsewhere. Her essays have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, and The Center for Women Writers and she has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, CNN, Anderson Cooper, and elsewhere. She is a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow, and has also received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Ragdale, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University and MFA faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). She serves on the Board of Directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and co-curated the Manhattan reading and music series, Mixer, for ten years. She grew up on Cape Cod and has lived in Brooklyn for seventeen years.

Lauren Grodstein is the author of four novels, including the New York Times bestseller A Friend of the Family and the Washington Post Book of the Year The Explanation for Everything. Her latest novel, Our Short History, will be published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in March, 2017. Lauren’s work has been translated into French, Turkish, German, Hebrew, and other languages, and her essays and reviews have been widely published.  She directs the MFA Program at Rutgers University-Camden and lives in New Jersey with her husband, son, and dog.

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6:30 PM18:30

Halfway There September

Photo credits: Whitney Lawson / Ben Greenman / Rachel Eliza Griffiths / Kylei Kenny

Photo credits: Whitney Lawson / Ben Greenman / Rachel Eliza Griffiths / Kylei Kenny

Join us on Monday September 26th at the Red Eye Cafe for our first reading of our second season! Doors will open at 6:30pm and the reading will go from 7-8:30pm. We can't wait to welcome Mark de Silva, Ben Greenman, Rachel Eliza Griffiths and Sara Weiss! 

Mark de Silva is the author of the debut novel Square Wave, which was released by Two Dollar Radio in February of 2016. He holds degrees in philosophy from Brown (AB) and Cambridge (PhD). After several years on the editorial staff of the New York Times’s opinion pages, he now freelances for the paper’s Sunday magazine, while also serving as a contributing editor for 3:AM Magazine.

Ben Greenman is a New York Times-bestselling author who has written both fiction and nonfiction. He is the author of several acclaimed works of fiction, including the short story collections What He’s Poised to DoSuperbadA Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both, and the novels SuperworsePlease Step Back, and The Slippage. He is the co-author of the bestselling Mo' Meta Blues with Questlove, the memoir, Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?, by George Clinton, and the forthcoming memoir I Am Brian Wilson with Brian Wilson. His fiction, essays, and journalism have appeared in the New YorkerNew York TimesWashington PostParis ReviewZoetrope: All StoryMcSweeney’s, and elsewhere, and have been widely anthologized. His new book is Emotional Rescue, a collection of music essays; his next will be  Dig If You Will The Picture, a meditation on the life and career of Prince.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and visual artist. Her most recent collection of poetry, Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books 2015), was a finalist for the Balcones Poetry Prize and the Phillis Wheatley Book Award in Poetry. Griffiths' literary and visual work has appeared widely including, The New York Times, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Poets & Writers, Lit Hub, Transition, Apogee, Guernica, and many others. Her fellowships include Kimbilio, Cave Canem Foundation, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and others. Currently, Griffiths teaches at the Institute of the American Indian Arts and Sarah Lawrence College. 

Sara Weiss’s writing has been published in Bustle, Brain, ChildLiterary Mama, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Underwater New York, OutbreatheThe Hook Magazine and on her blog www.shmooples.com.  She holds a BA and an MAT from Tufts University, and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She teaches yoga and creative writing and lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and two beautiful daughters.


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6:00 PM18:00

Halfway There June

Photo credits:     Quintan Ana Wikswo ,  Andy Vernon-Jones

Photo credits:  Quintan Ana WikswoAndy Vernon-Jones

The Red Eye Cafe will open its doors at 6pm for coffee, food and mingling. The reading will start at 7pm. Our final reading for the '15-'16 season will feature James Capozzi, Sarah Dohrmann, Apryl Lee and Helen Phillips. 

James Capozzi is the author of Country Album (Parlor Press, 2012), which won the New Measure Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, New Republic, and Poetry, and he has been the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, James A. Michener Foundation, and Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild. He lives in Montclair.


Sarah Dohrmann is a Brooklyn-based writer of literary nonfiction and fiction. She has been a Fulbright fellow to Morocco, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, a two-time Jerome Foundation Travel and Study grantee, a fellow with the Aspen Writers' Foundation, and a Workspace writer-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Sarah received the 2015 Sarah Verdone Writing Award and was co-recipient, with photographer Tiana Markova-Gold, of the 2010 Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Her work has appeared in Harper's MagazineTin House, and The Iowa Review, among others. She is currently at work on her first book, which is a memoir. To learn more about Sarah, please visit her website at www.sarahdohrmann.com.

Apryl Lee's short stories and essays have been published by Necessary FictionWord Riot, and The Feminist Breeder among others. She is an MFA graduate of the fiction writing program at Sarah Lawrence College. In addition to being the cofounder of Halfway There, the wildly successful Montclair reading series, she is currently working on her first novel and a collection of New Jersey stories. She teaches sceenwriting at Seton Hall University and lives with her husband and son in New Jersey.

Helen Phillips is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and the Italo Calvino Prize, among others. She is the author of the novel The Beautiful Bureaucrat (a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize) and the collection And Yet They Were Happy (named a notable book by The Story Prize). Her most recent book, the short story collection Some Possible Solutions, publishes in May 2016. She is an assistant professor in the English Department at Brooklyn College.

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7:00 PM19:00

Halfway There POP-UP!

Halfway There will pop-up at the Montclair Art Museum's Free First Thursday Night with a roster of wonderful emerging and established local writers of poetry and prose:

Melissa Adamo
Mark Ferguson
Ananda Lima
Joseph Palestina
Joseph Rathgeber
Kem Joy Ukwu

The reading will be part of an exciting evening of events, many of which will honor National Poetry Month! The full schedule of festivities starts at 5pm and goes until 9pm; we will gather in the Museum's Rotunda for our reading at 7pm. Readings will start at 7:30. 

Parking fills up, so come early to enjoy food trucks, a cash bar, art, literature and more!


Melissa Adamo, associate editor at English Kills Review, received her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Newark in 2012. Essays, poems, and reviews of hers have previously appeared in journals, such as Mezzo Cammin, Per Contra, and The Rumpus, among others. She currently teaches composition and literature courses at Montclair State University, Ramapo College, as well as Rutgers University-Newark, because well… why have one job when you can have three? Follow her word-thoughts about writing, snacks, and Broad City on Twitter @adamopoeting.

Mark Andrew Ferguson, a Bergen County native, is a writer, graphic designer, and sometimes publishing professional now living in Lincoln Park. His first book, The Lost Boys Symphony was published by Little, Brown & Co. in 2015. It was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program, and has been praised by Wally Lamb, Matthew Quick, NPR, and several others. The paperback is now available from Back Bay Books. 

Ananda Lima has an MA in Linguistics from UCLA and has taught language and linguistics at UCLA and Montclair State University. Her work has been published on The American Poetry Review and she is a Spring 2016 AWP Writer to Writer mentee.  She is currently working on a novel in stories set in Brasilia, the city where she grew up as the daughter of migrants from northeastern Brazil. She lives in Maplewood, NJ with her husband and son.

Joseph Palestina graduated with a BFA in Acting from Montclair State University. He won ‘Best Actor’ both in 2013 and 2015 at The New York City 48 Hour Film Festival in the films Spinach Quesadilla and Burn a Friend, two shorts he wrote and directed. He is the co-founder of touring indie rock band Thing-One and the creator of Joe Pal & Eggs, a web-series that mockuments his daily interactions. He has had several short plays produced by At Hand Theatre Company, Luna Stage and Strangedog Theatre Company. He has recently started a social called Art and Prozac in Montclair--an event that brings artists together to showcase their work. In 2012, he received an MA in Mental Health Counseling from Montclair State and is now a guidance counselor in Paterson, NJ.

Joseph Rathgeber is an author, poet, high school English teacher, and adjunct professor from New Jersey.  His short stories and poems have appeared in The Literary ReviewJ Journal: New Writing on Justice, Mizna, Salamander, and elsewhere.  His story collection is The Abridged Autobiography of Yousef R. and Other Stories (ELJ Publications, 2014).  His work of hybrid poetry is MJ (Another New Calligraphy, 2015). He is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, recipient of a 2014 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship (Poetry), and a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship (Prose).  

Kem Joy Ukwu's fiction has appeared in BLACKBERRY: a magazine, Carve Magazine, TINGE, Blue Lake Review, PANK and Jabberwock Review. In April 2016, she will serve as an Institute Scholar in the Writing from the Margins Institute at Bloomfield College. She earned her bachelor's degree from Brandeis University and her master's degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband. More of her work can be found at kemjoyukwu.com.

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Halfway There March

Photo credits: Nina Subin, Denise Applewhite, Claudia Cortese

The Red Eye Cafe will open its doors at 6pm for coffee, food and mingling. The reading will start at 7pm. 

John Keene is the author of the award-winning novel Annotations (New Directions); the art-poetry collection Seismosis (1913 Press) with artist Christopher Stackhouse; and the short fiction collection Counternarratives (New Directions), which has been named to "Best Fiction of 2015" lists by New York Magazine and Flavorwire. His art-text collaboration with photographer Nicholas Muellner, GRIND, is forthcoming from ITI Press in 2016. He has also published a translation of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst's novel Letters from a Seducer (Nightboard Books / A Bolha Editora), and has exhibited his artwork in Brooklyn and Berlin. A longtime member of the Dark Room Writers Collective and a graduate fellow of Cave Canem, he currently serves on the board of the African Poetry Book Fund, and teaches in the department of English and African American and African Studies, which he chairs, and also is a core faculty member in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark. 

Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of three collections of poetry: Our Andromeda, Human Dark with Sugar, and Interior with Sudden Joy.  Her new book, So Much Synth, is forthcoming in May 2016 from Copper Canyon Press. Her poems have appeared most recently Poetry, Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Literary Review, and The Awl. She's the recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and is Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark. She lives in Verona, NJ with her family. 

Boris Tsessarsky's fiction has appeared in Bare Fiction, Lunch Ticket, Folio, and Temenos Journal. Currently he is working on a collection of speculative war stories, as well as a novel about a German jazz pianist. He teaches first-year writing at Montclair State University and holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. 

(Ed Park previously was scheduled but due to a conflict, will join us another time!) 

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6:00 PM18:00

Halfway There December

The Red Eye Cafe will open its doors at 6pm for coffee, snacks, book-buying and mingling. The reading, followed by a Q&A, will be from 7-8:30pm. Readers are Tobias Carroll, Claudia Cortese, Hillary Frank, and Naomi J. Williams--all either New Jersey natives or current New Jersey residents.

Tobias Carroll is the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn. His collection Transitory will be released in 2016 on Civil Coping Mechanisms. He grew up in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. 

Claudia Cortese is the author of two chapbooks—Blood Medals (Thrush Poetry Press, 2015), a collection of prose poems, and The Red Essay and Other Histories (Horse Less Press, 2015), a book of lyric essays. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2011, BlackbirdCrazyhorse, Kenyon Review Online, and Sixth Finch, and her essays and reviews have found homes at Black Warrior Review, Mid-American Review, and Iowa Review, among others. The daughter of Neapolitan immigrants, Cortese grew up in suburban Ohio and now lives in New Jersey, where she teaches at Montclair State University. Wasp Queen (Black Lawrence Press, 2017), which explores a girl named Lucy, is her first full-length collection.

Hillary Frank is host and creator of the award-winning podcast The Longest Shortest Time. She has also been a frequent contributor to This American Life, Studio 360, and Weekend America. Hillary is the author and illustrator of three YA novels. Her first book and first radio story were both unsolicited submissions, which she hopes is proof to aspiring writers that getting published really is possible.

Naomi J. Williams was born in Japan and spoke no English until she was nearly six years old. Her debut novel, Landfalls, a fictionalized account of the 18th-century Lapérouse expedition (FSG 2015), was long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee and one-time winner, Naomi has published her short fiction in numerous literary journals, including A Public Space, One Story,  and The Gettysburg Review. A proud graduate of Verona High School, Naomi now makes her home in northern California, where she’s hard at work on her second book, a novel about the early 20th-century Japanese poet Yosano Akiko.

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6:00 PM18:00

Halfway There September

The Red Eye Cafe will open its doors at 6pm for coffee, food and mingling. The reading will start at 7pm. Readers for the inaugural event will be series co-founder Nicole Haroutunian, and acclaimed area writers Matthew Thomas and Abby Sher. 

Nicole Haroutunian, named a "New Author You Need to Know" by Refinery29, is a New Jersey native currently living in Woodside, Queens. Her first short story collection, Speed Dreaming, was published earlier this year. Matthew Caprioli wrote in The Paris Review, "Haroutunian is smart about contemporary relationships, and her collection will certainly resonant with the Modern Love crowd. Her protagonists, all women, admit to melodrama, but they go one step further than the characters in Girls in that they question what’s behind their woe-is-me antics. Through their honesty, we get characters we actually like, who illuminate what it means to be a woman outside of Lena Dunham’s 'Brooklyn.'"

Abby Sher is a writer, performer, and mother of three cool beans. She wrote and performed for The Second City, ImprovOlympic, HBO and NPR. Her memoir, Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl who Couldn’t Stop Praying got lots of awards and a nod from Oprah. Abby writes regularly for The New York Times and has an advice column called Dear Gefilte. She means well, but is usually five minutes late.

Matthew Thomas was born and raised in New York City; he lives in Montclair, NJ. He has a BA from the University of Chicago, an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His New York Times-bestselling novel We Are Not Ourselves was shortlisted for both the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, nominated for the Folio Prize, and named a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. It was named a Notable Book of the year by the New York Times, one of the fifty best fiction books of the year by the Washington Post, one of the ten best fiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, one of the five most important books of the year by Esquire, one of the best fiction books of the year by Publishers Weekly, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Apple, and one of Janet Maslin’s ten favorite books of the year in the New York Times.

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