Writerly Happenings: March Is Packed With Writerly Things To Do! New Writers Circle, Book Clubs and More


Nicole from the hit show “Nailed It” on Netflix.

By Phoebe Zinman

“Hellooo again!!”

Ideally, I’d like you to have heard that “Helloooo” in the voice of Nicole from “Nailed It,” but since that’s not likely we will move on immediately to…

“What Are You Reading?” The Co-Worker Edition

At my new full time job, I surveyed women I work with, who are surviving working with me, in order to bring you these highly skilled and marketable reading recommendations. To keep their persons anonymous, I have revealed them only by nicknames.

The HBIC sent an email marked with High Importance and instructions not to delete her cosigning of Karen Moning’s “Highlander” series (this co-worker is indeed a fan of all things magic and supernatural and Irish).

writerly happenings caleb carr.jpg

The Chorus Line duo is all about jazz hands. One is reading “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr, which combines suspense, historical fiction and justice (what more does one really need?) and while the other is feeling the women’s empowerment of “We” by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel.

The Little Bird is making sure her glam new highlights didn’t fry any brain cells by staying up all night reading “Neverwhere” by sometime Hudson Valley resident Neil Gaiman and feeling very dreamy about it.

And the Silver Fox is multitasking as per usual with “Purity” by Jonathan Franzen and “All About Love” by bell hooks (also on my list).

As for myself, I just started “The Ticking is the Bomb” by Nick Flynn and am withholding comment until later because I’m cold-hearted like that. 

“What’s Going On? I’m Losing My Mind In This Weather!”

So what’s going on in the writerly corners of the Hudson Valley that you can get out to since we are all about to lose our minds in the weather soup that is March?


A new game in town (at least to me) is the Writer’s Circle at the Garrison Institute on March 20th from 6:30-8:30pm, looking super lovely and free of charge. Bonus round: it includes time for meditation, reflection, writing, and sharing.


Binnacle Books in Beacon is doing its boozy book club at Denning’s Point Distillery on March 13th and you want to be there. “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah (of The Daily Show) is what’s on the menu. Get 10% off the book at the store, and $5 cocktails to sip whilst you tilt your head thoughtfully. 

PS EDITOR’S NOTE: Thank you Binnacle Books for becoming a regular sponsor of A Little Beacon Blog’s Shopping Guide! Quite an honor to have an independent book store show their appreciation and value with a sponsorship!

Hudson Valley Writer’s Workshop has their monthly meeting on March 6th and a Facebook page full of other things to investigate.

Split Rock Books in Cold Spring is on winter vacation til March 4th with limited hours, ‘til then. I’m personally pleased as punch for any small business owners who take a little time to recharge. And they are going to need it for March because whatever your book club preference may be (History, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Kids Club) they have you covered this month. Also on tap in March: a drawing night, fermentation workshop, and readings by locals and beyond.

John Blesso is hosting the second Adult Stories reading series at Oak Vino on March 8th with a great lineup of writers telling “true stories of an offbeat, edgy, or emotionally-challenging nature told without notes or pages.” $5 and please arrive on time at 7pm so as not to interrupt (I’m side-eyeing myself here, if that’s anatomically possible).


Get Lit on March 10th features two speakers about award winning children’s literature power couple James Ransome (illustrator) and Lesa Cline-Ransome (author). In addition to them collaborating on books about Serena and Venus, Harriet Tubman, Louis Armstrong and Alvin Ailey, James is also the artist behind the beautiful mural at the Adriance Library in Poughkeepsie.

Lucky us! Get Lit founder Julie Chibbaro is doing a an ongoing writing workshop for teens called “Write Your Own Adventure” for ages 12-15 during 4 Thursdays starting March 7th-28th, and an adult writing intensive on March 30th at the Howland Library in Beacon throughout March. Also free! See here for details.


Stop in to Quinn’s on March 12th and stay a while as readers from Ruth Danon’s Live Writing workshop take to the stage at 7pm. I am not reading this time, but I will be eating some pickled plum and clapping like mad for them.


Meanwhile, The Artichoke Storytelling Series at the Howland Cultural Center, hosted by Drew Prochaska, is SOLD OUT! It features storytellers from The Moth, Risk! and Story Collider, as well as Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening. If you were considering moving to Beacon, Fishkill, or Wappingers (anywhere close by to the Howland Cultural Center), this new series is a pretty compelling reason!

On March 26th you can start your National Poetry Month festivities early (move over, St. Patty’s Day) up in Tivoli with this brilliant mashup of about poetry and philosophy at Murray’s Coffeeshop (the coffee is super good there) from Bard College and the Poetry Foundation. “The Words We Live By: Poetry and Philosophy in Conversation” features poet Fred Moten and author Robert Gooding-Williams looks to be a deep well and is introduced by this quote by Hannah Arendt, “the storehouse of memory is kept and watched over by the poets, whose business it is to find and make the words we live by.”

Phew! That was a lot of must-dos for this month. If you hear of any throughout the year, email me at phoebe@alittlebeaconblog.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Surprise! An Editor’s Note, because we couldn’t just stop writing in the Writerly Happenings section! If you love this Writerly Happening series as much as we do, and if you love helping promote writers and illustrators and books, then consider becoming a regular Supporting Sponsor! You can get your logo published bright and shiny at the top of this article, and each article we publish a month. Or, if you are a regular person with no business but really want to be a Sponsoring Individual, you can! Please see our Media Kit page for details, and other opportunities for sponsorship. All of our sponsoring advertisers help us get the word out, pay our writers, and grow this publication as a self-sustaining family-friendly business. Thank you!and i

Art & Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon At The Howland Public LIbrary

“How To Edit Wikepedia,” an event at the Howland Public Library to encourage women to make edits in Wikipedia, the content producers of which are traditionally men.

“How To Edit Wikepedia,” an event at the Howland Public Library to encourage women to make edits in Wikipedia, the content producers of which are traditionally men.

WHAT: Art & Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
WHERE: Howland Public Library
DAY: Saturday, March 2,
TIME: 11am - 3pm

Happening today is the (so far) annual Wikipedia Editing event at the Howland Public Library during Women’s History Month. The class is provided as a means to encourage women especially to come out and edit Wikipedia, the group-sourced encyclopedia of the Internet. This local event is organized by local library advocate, Ms. Rajene Hardeman, as part of the international annual Art+Feminism campaign. As of last year, only 9% of the edits or contributions made to Wikipedia were made by women.

This can change! Half of the battle is probably not knowing where to start with how to edit. This class aims to change that. A tutorial of how to enter Wikipedia to make an edit kicks off the day, and from 12-3pm, an open edit session happens, where people can sit and edit.

All people are encouraged to attend, regardless of gender, and bringing your own laptop is encouraged.

Last year, our writer Catherine Sweet wrote about the event for A Little Beacon Blog, and explored the gender gap in who is making the edits in this globally used information center.

Writerly Happenings: Live Storytelling, Book Releases & New Writing Opportunities!

Hi Hi Hi! It’s Phoebe here. It’s been so long, I know, did you miss me? We wanted to wait til after the holidays to round up the best of the local literary scene and now we have eaten all the brie and there are so many good writerly happenings afoot to attend! We will do them all! We are leaning in to 2019! Actually, we are so tired, we are mostly falling over, but the love of the written word sustains us, does it not? (Love of the written word, and brie - life sustainers.)

But first we need to discuss what to read right now. This is the transitional part, like when Mr. Rogers changes his shoes and cardigan. (Why, oh why, won’t he ever pick the red one?) 

So… I’m currently reading “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz, which is threatening to turn me into the woman with too many rings on who can’t shut up about the amazingly transformational book she is reading. Also I just ate up the delicious entirety of the new memoir “She Wants It” by Jill Soloway, the creator of “Transparent,” and I highly recommend. Still working on “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje.

I also asked around for recs. Kristen Holt-Browning, writer and editor and co-producer of Get Lit, just finished reading “Northwood” by Maryse Meijer, a sort of novella-in-poems. She says it's a dark, twisty, fairytale-ish story of desire and obsession and also a physically gorgeous object, with white text printed on black pages. Sounds fierce.

Extremely well-published and well-coifed writer Lily Burana is reading “Thick” by Kiese Laymon, and “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel” by Alexander Chee. She’s happily frolicking in the bumper crop of essay collections that have been published in the past few years.

Ok. I’m ready now. Let’s lean/fall/dive/plunge/bellyflop on in.

January 2019 Writerly Happenings 

This Weekend!

The Artichoke at the Howland. Saturday, January 12, 7:30 pm, is sold out online, but not sure if there will be additional tickets at the door. Mentioning here anyway because it is just so cool that this is coming to Beacon. It’s an evening of live storytelling by The Artichoke, hosted by Drew Prochaska and featuring Sandi Marx (seven-time Grand Slam Winner, The Moth), Jeff Simmermon (Grand Slam Winner, The Moth; This American Life), Drew Prochaska (Risk!; Story Collider), Richard Cardillo (Risk!; Stories from the Stage, Susan Kent (The Moth), Micaela Blei (Grand Slam Winner, The Moth), Vanessa Golenia (Risk!) and John Blesso. Can’t get in? Well there’s another chance to do something similar on Sunday the 20th, but you must read on.

Also on Second Saturday is a book release event for Traffic Street Press’ "Trafficking in Poetry" series. The book "Manos Sucias/Dirty Hands" is a collaboration between Paulette Myers-Rich, the visual artist Greg Slick and poet Seán Monagle. A limited number of copies are available for purchase at the book signing at No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works on Main Street from 3 to 8 pm. 

Get Lit is happening this Sunday, January 13, from 5 to 8 pm at Oak Vino. The featured speakers will be authors Jessie Chaffee and Brendan Kiely, and as always, anyone who wants to read is invited to sign up to do so at the beginning of the event - bring two or three pages of original writing to share. But also if you are new to writing, or sharing your writing, you answer the monthly prompt about what your New Year’s resolutions are, and then sign up for a one-minute slot. Literally, it’s just a hot minute.

Also In January!

On Sunday, January 20 at Dogwood at 5 pm, John Blesso will be hosting the first installment of “Adult Stories,” a new and developing monthly storytelling series that intends to be like The Moth, but edgier. He’s looking for people willing to share “funny stories, harrowing stories, sex stories, emotionally charged stories, and inebriation/bad-choice stories.” If you’re interested please send him pitches for stories between six and ten minutes long! He’s working with Donna Minkowitz and Drew Prochaska on this, if you miss The Artichoke, or just want more storytelling. All the stories!

What’s that about local memoir writer Donna Minkowitz? Funky Spunky Literature Night (Redux) is a game-show-like Community Memoir Write-a-Thon with prizes for the best sentences and scenes that audience members write about their own lives. She will be joined by professional storyteller Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi at Quinn’s on Wednesday, January 30, from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. She’s also got an 8-Week Memoir-Writing Workshop coming up, focused on craft, particularly on using the five senses, lyricism, emotion, storytelling, and critical insight to create profound and relatable works of memoir. Wednesday nights from February 6 through March 27, 7 to 9 pm. To apply, please email minkowitz46@gmail.com with a one-page writing sample.

Poet and teacher extraordinaire Ruth Danon (to whom I’m a bit partial, not going to even pretend otherwise) is going to start writing improvisation classes the week of January 29. Currently she’s planning on Tuesdays, from 9:30 am to 12 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, but the time can be flexible based on everyone’s schedules… The fee is $275 for eight weeks and includes a private conference (at least one) and a public reading. Contact ruthdanonpoetry@gmail.com for more information.

Beacon’s magnificent Binnacle Books is featuring “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai for its next book club. I loved that book. So, so much sobbing. This month the book club will meet at the bookstore, but often is at Dennings Point Distillery.

And just downstream (or not, as our majestic and tidal Hudson River flows both ways) in Cold Spring, Split Rock books has a million events, or at least five, to get you through January and smarter on the other end.

The divine “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson was the January book club choice at the Beacon Library, and we were sad to miss it, but the pick for February is “The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper” by Phaedra Patrick and it sounds charming. The Butterfield Library in Cold Spring has a writing workshop with Susan Wallach in January and almost always a box of free books to rummage.

As always, we want to big up independent bookstores that may be a bit farther afield:

Rough Draft in Kingston has happy hours, sip and writes and plenty of other happenings; the Golden Notebook in Woodstock has a terrific event lineup, as usual; and we are wanting to go check out Oblong Books which has somehow escaped our research until now. We’ll report back next month.

Now dear reader, go put on a cardigan and some fresh slippers and get to it. Write! Read! Make it happen!

Writerly Happenings: Growing Local Community of Writers and Readers - November 2018


Hi There, Reading Anything Good These Days? 

It’s Phoebe here - kicking off this column with what everybody is reading here at A Little Beacon Blog before we dive into the second installment in this new column, Writerly Happenings.

I just returned Peter Carey’s new “A Long Way From Home” to the library without getting too far, though he’s usually a favorite. Now I’m starting “The Glitch” by Elizabeth Cohen, which passed me by when it was published in 2012, but I’ve heard good things. 

Katie is reading edible Hudson Valley’s Fall issue about the secret hotel created by an app developer of luxury cars (what?!). He wouldn’t even let them take full photos - all secret photos.

Marilyn, our Managing Editor, is actually blogging about her yoga teacher training experience at her blog, Ink and Coffee.

Catherine, our Editor of the Art Gallery Guide, is reading science. Science! Actually it’s Anatomy this week. She is back in school to be a nurse.

Speaking of good things, here’s the second installment of this new A Little Beacon Blog Guide to Writerly Happenings. Every couple of weeks I round up the best events happening in our growing local community of writers and readers and the people who love them.


On Wednesday, November 7, Binnacle’s Book Club meets from 7 to 8 pm at Denning's Point Distillery to discuss “Lake Success,” by Gary Shteyngart. If you are going and want to buy the book at Binnacle, you get 10% off this title. I’m sorry to have missed the reading of “The Seas,” by Samantha Hunt, on Wednesday the 24th, but staying tuned for more events to come.

The littlest Halloweenies and literary types might love the storytime and costume contest at Split Rock Books in Cold Spring on Sunday the 28th with David Quinn, author of “Go To Sleep, Little Creep.” Grown-ups should check out local author and journalist Virginia Sole-Smith’s reading from her first book, “The Eating Instinct” - described as “a personal and deeply reported exploration of how we learn to eat in today's toxic food culture,” on Saturday, November 10, from 7 to 8 pm.

Get Lit Beacon has its monthly writer salon at Oak Vino on Sunday, November 11. Featured speaker will be notable author Leland Cheuk. Get Lit offers an option for any writer to read their own stuff, so you should also sign up to read some of your work. And - they made T-Shirts! So far you can only buy them at the event, so go. Last month featured a very engaging professional storyteller explain how to tell a story, as well as local journalists Brian Cronin of the Highlands Current, and Katie of A Little Beacon Blog.

On Tuesday, November 13, poets from Ruth Danon’s Live Writing workshops take over Quinn’s for a reading of their work. We’ll be back with an update once the Facebook event page is up. 

Beacon’s new Poet Laureate, who has not yet been announced, will be inducted on Tuesday, November 20, at the Beacon Library in the Community Room from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. 


For monthly musical open mic nights, check out The Falcon Underground in Marlboro, the Wherehouse in Newburgh, the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon and Fiesta Friday in Poughkeepsie.

Calling All Poets is having an open mic night at the Towne Crier in Beacon on Thursday, October 15, and on Friday, November 2, at its First Friday reading series up in New Paltz at Roost (the open mic on Friday, December 7, will feature Beacon local Ruth Danon).


Rough Draft Bar & Books hosts a reading on Tuesday, October 30, with local author John Langan reading from his horror novel set near the Ashokan Reservoir. Sounds scary and also totally worth a trip to Kingston.

We are prepared to tailgate to hear Roxane Gay discuss her book “Bad Feminist” on Wednesday, November 7, at Vassar. And we might have to because it’s first-come, first-serve to get in. Get your elbows ready!

And we are super excited that former Beacon resident Jon Beacham is back in the Hudson Valley and has opened The Brother In Elysium Books. This Tivoli bookstore had its grand opening at the end of September, a poetry reading earlier this month and in addition to focusing on poetry, literature, art, design, photography and film, also carries used and out-of-print books, actively buys books and “is also home to The Brother In Elysium publishing imprint and letterpress studio.”

We’ll see you back here in a couple weeks with more upcoming events. Tell us where to go and what to read in the meantime, if you like. phoebe@alittlebeaconblog.com

Writerly Happenings: New Literary Guide for Book Lovers & Writers


Hey there, reading anything good these days? 

If you want to know where to find your next book, and where to go to mix it up with other literary types, this new ALBB Guide to Writerly Happenings has you laced up. Every couple of weeks we’ll round up the best events happening in our growing local community of writers and readers and the people who love them.

Writerly Happenings in Cold Spring

Sunset Reading Series presents another stupendously located and top notch reading at The Chapel of Our Lady Restoration in Cold Spring on Sunday, October 7, at 4 pm when Sam Anderson, local author and New York Times Magazine Critic at Large, will read from his widely and wildly acclaimed book BOOM TOWN The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-Class Metropolis.

This event is being co-hosted by Split Rock Books, who is also kicking off their inaugural book club event on Thursday, October 11, from 7 to 8 pm with If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. The film adaptation of this book, by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, is due out in November. They are also having a storytime for kiddos with Bear and Wolf author Daniel Salmieri on Sunday, October 14 from 10:15 to 10:45 am.

Writing Groups In Beacon

If you are looking to join a writing group, on Monday, October 8, or Monday, October 15, you might check out Words & Womyn. This fresh weekly workshop from the Wyld Womyn, a new space on Main Street, is described as “a safe space that welcomes anyone female-identifying to sit and soak in the power of thought and prose.” 

The night before, you could also get your book club on with Binnacle Books’ ongoing book discussion at Denning’s Point Distillery. On Wednesday, October 10 at 7 pm that group will be diving in to There There, by Tommy Orange. 

Get Lit Beacon continues to work the room at Oak Vino in Beacon on the second Sunday of each month! Have a glass of wine and enjoy the salon there on October 14 at 5 pm. Katie from A Little Beacon Blog will be on hand to answer questions about local news media, as well as Brian PJ Cronin (Update: Danielle Trussoni, a memoirist and novelist, was slated to speak, but won’t join in this month). You can sign up to read for 5 minutes yourself. Get the lineup here.

Book Talks in Beacon

Later in the month, the Beacon Library is hosting a discussion of the much-acclaimed book Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng, so start reading now if you want to get in on that on Tuesday, October 30, from 2 to 3 pm. The discussion will be led by Dr. James Cotter as part of the NEA Big Read program.

Open Mic Nights That Literary Types Might Like

For monthly open mic nights check out The Falcon Underground in Marlboro, the Wherehouse in Newburgh, The Howland Cultural Center in Beacon and Fiesta Friday in Poughkeepsie.

Farther afield, but well worth the drive, are two favorite bookstores that host loads of writerly happenings: Golden Notebook in Woodstock, and Rough Draft Bar & Books in Kingston.

We’ll see you back here in a couple weeks with more upcoming events. Tell us where to go and what to read in the meantime, if you like - email phoebe@alittlebeaconblog.com.