Writerly Happenings: Your Fall Reading And Writing Checklist


by Phoebe Zinman

To honor the passage of bright summer days into the crisp academia of autumn, I decided to talk to Beaconite and Exceptionally Smart Person Sarah Uzelac about her summer reading list that she always posts on Facebook. All these other exceptionally Smart Women respond to it, and then I crib the whole thing and work on it all year long. 

Sarah! I love your summer reading list posts! Do other people talk to you about it or is it one of those weird Facebook things that you don’t talk about in real life?

Other people totally talk to me about this in real life and it is one of my favorite uses of social media. It makes me feel super connected to people to know we share a love (or hate) for a text - even if we can’t ever meet up IRL to discuss it.

What were some of the highlights of this year’s summer reading? Did you try anything you expected to not like and love it?

I’ve been on a real nonfiction jag this year and I can’t seem to step away from it for long. Usually I’m all fiction all the time, but I think maybe, given the state of our country at the moment, I’m subconsciously hungry for truth and information and super smart people telling me stuff? This summer I really loved The Furious Hours, by Casey Cep and the grief memoir Tell Me More, by Kelly Corrigan, and my favorite fiction from this summer was Fleishman Is In Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I just realized those are all women authors - I think that might be another unconscious theme for me these days: Enough with the dudes, already.

(I’m so with you. Enough, already. Grab your pom poms and warm the bench.)

 What are you reading right now? 

Right now I’m reading Edith Wharton for the first time ever (even though my husband has been trying to get her on my radar for like 10+ years). We took a little visit to her estate (The Mount) in upstate NY this summer - seeing her space and learning more about her life is what tipped the scale for me. I started with a couple of short stories (Xingu and Roman Fever) and they blew my mind with the perfectness of her descriptions and how incredibly dead on and absolutely CUTTING the social interactions were.

So right now I’m about a third of the way into House of Mirth and am loving it. And if you’ve never made the trip up to The Mount - do it this fall! Have a glass of Prosecco on her amazing terrace overlooking her incredible gardens and wander through her beautiful home and see for yourself what a genius she was.

[Editor’s Note: Sarah is married to NY Times Magazine staff writer Sam Anderson, whose most recent book Boom Town is available at Binnacle Books in Beacon, where he read earlier this year.]

What’s next?

I’m not sure - what are YOU reading??

I just borrowed The Flick from my Mom and read it in one night. It’s by one of my favorite playwrights, Annie Baker. And I just discovered, amazingly, that it’s being put on at Vassar on Wednesday to Saturday, October 9-12. Thanks, Hudson Valley. Keep it local, babies.

Speaking of Vassar College, I’m ashamed to admit I have never investigated their Elizabeth Bishop collection and am adding that to my Fall Goals checklist along with this Edith Wharton jaunt. 

Ok, so, back to Sarah… Who has lived in Beacon for a hot minute (over 10 years) and so of course I want to know what is your favorite new spot in town? What old spot do you miss?

We moved to Beacon in 2005 back when there was only *one* coffee shop and the Mountain Tops shop and that was basically it! I love this town so much. I love the new connections through town to the Madam Brett walking path along Fishkill Creek, I love Big Mouth Coffee, and the Himalayan stall in the new food hall, and the Beacon Yoga Center (because they have hatha and hatha is the best yoga). I miss the unobstructed view of the mountain while walking down Main Street and the comedy shows David Rees and Sam used to host – those were the good old days.

[Author’s Note: An Aside: Those comedy shows were as spectacular as the view of the mountain! But things change like the leaves, which lets me transition gracefully into our official Writerly Happenings round up for September…]

Writerly Things To Do

Speaking of recommendations, I discovered that Binnacle Books has this super sweet matchmaking feature on their website and you can order up a custom Binnacle Book match! 

How was the Artichoke??? We are so sorry to have missed it on the 14th. I’m guessing the next one will be in November. There’s still so much glowing Fall weather in between [fingers crossed].

On Saturday, September 21, we’ll see you at the Spring Street Reading Series at Atlas in Newburgh, which is dreamily titled “The Exile’s Child is Also an Exile” in which Faisal Mohyuddin, Natania Rosenfeld, Ruth Danon and Edwin Torres “explore the ways in which the children of the displaced carry the experience of exile into the next generation.” I mean. That doesn’t resonate or anything. 

Then head down to the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Peekskill on Sunday, September 22, for the ferocious billing of Sean Thomas Dougherty, Jeffrey McDaniel (Cold Spring local and Sarah Lawrence prof) and Michelle Whittaker. Have lots of fun and then go back on Friday, October 4, for master class with Arthur Sze (um, wow).

Split Rock Books in Cold Spring is keeping it pretty chill as we all settle in to Back to School land, but their graphic novel book club on the 23rd looks pretty spectacular. Kingdom by Jon McNaught portrays the realness of a family’s summer vacation. On Sunday, October 6, from 10:15 to 10:45 am they are having a storytime for little ones and award-winning author and illustrator, Elisha Cooper, will be reading from River - as in, our very own Hudson.

Want to do some of your own writing? Writer (and Artichoke storyteller) Donna Minkowitz’s fall workshop will begin September 25 from 7 to 9 pm, and goes for eight Wednesdays. Participants in the small workshops will “work on writing about our lives using the senses, emotion, lyricism, critical insight, and storytelling come to create profound and relatable works of personal writing.” Email her for more info at minkowitz46@gmail.com.

And Ruth Danon is starting up live writing in October, so you should check her website for more details. But only if you like doing experiential, improvisational writing to generate unexpected results and language in the company of really interesting and talented people and getting lots of insightful feedback. You don’t want that.

Then get your head out of that notebook on Sunday, October 13, and head down to Oak Vino for monthly literary salon Get Lit, featuring Matt and Emily Clifton. Matt and Emily wrote the beautiful Cork and Knife (locally profiled to an extreme extent on Published Local on A Little Beacon Blog, written by yours truly). If you aren’t yet getting the email newsletter, previewing articles from A Little Beacon Blog, you must get on that. Fall goals! Check!

Go fight your way through an apple orchard on a Saturday if you must, but treat yourself to some writerly nourishment afterwards. Don’t anyone talk to me about pumpkin-flavored anything, though. We’ll see you back here to jump in some leaves before Halloween…

Writerly Happenings: Summertime Edition For July (and Maybe August)


Listen, it’s summer and we are keeping it loose. This edition of Writerly Happenings is being brought to you by “Spontaneity and All The Popsicles,” and may contain happenings in both July and August. 

Katie’s Summer Reading List - no shame. #SaveTheMagazines

Katie’s Summer Reading List - no shame. #SaveTheMagazines

On The Nightstands…

In that same spirit, this edition of What Are We Reading is keeping it real and not worried about intellectual heft. Our fearless leader Katie confesses that she went to Rite Aid and bought all of the rag magazines and a Clive Cussler book for summer reading. She is on a quest to save the magazines. Right now, you’ll find all of them at big box stores. So, people need to buy them. You can pick up your favorites at Rite Aid too. And Vogel Pharmacy, if you’re out near Leo’s.

Managing Editor Marilyn Perez is reading “Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life” by Charlotte Bell for the third time! She comes back to it every couple years, and I can only assume it helps to inform her excellent yoga teaching at Firefly Yoga in Fishkill.  

As for me, I’m staying informed about local events and maintaining a very low overhead by enjoying the Chronogram and Edible Hudson Valley (yay, Weed Issue!) and the award-winning Highlands Current.

So then, what’s happening all around us?

Dreyer Split Rock.jpg

Writerly Happenings Around Town

Split Rock Books has this pretty incredible offsite event with author Benjamin Dreyer, discussing his book at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival on Friday, July 12. I’ve heard a lot of great things about his book, “Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style.” 

BAU gallery-July20.jpg

Saturday, July 20, competes for your heart and mine with an intergalactic event at BAU. Matt Clifton and Larry Sansone are organizing a reading alongside an exhibition of Sam Beste and Elizabeth Arnold’s artwork. The subject is space exploration (in tandem with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission) and the fragility of life on earth.

Also that night, there’s another Spring Street Reading Series over at Atlas Studios in Newburgh. “Women and their Bonding,” from 7 to 8:30 pm, features writers Laura Brown and Idra Novey and is curated by Ruth Danon.

On Sunday, July 28, you could take a workshop with Donna Minkowitz, who will also be reading at Get Lit on Sunday, July 14, at Oak Vino. In the Beacon Summer Memoir Intensive, participants “write about our lives using the five senses, lyricism, emotion, critical thinking, and the art of storytelling." Then on Saturday, August 24, she is offering Writing From the Body at Wyld Womyn. This is a memoir workshop for all who identify as women, nonbinary or trans, and want to write about their “lives, sensations, pains, pleasures, and feelings of all kinds.”

Speaking of Get Lit, there’s a great interview with the righteous Ronnie Farley up on their website, and on Sunday, August 11, from 5 to 8 pm at Oak Vino they will feature poet Catherine Arra. Their lineup is looking very interesting for the fall, too.

And while we’re on the subject of of 50th anniversaries, on Tuesday, August 13, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, you can head to the Howland Public Library in Beacon to hear local author Sharon Watts discuss her newest book, “By the Time I Got to Woodstock - An Illustrated Memoir of a Reluctant Hippie Chick,” which she both wrote and illustrated! 


Farther afield, there’s this fascinating series happening up in Hudson that I’m really intrigued by - The Home School Poetry Readings at Time and Space Limited - and they have a pretty stellar (interstellar?) lineup of writers. 

Also I saw a very pretty picture of some lucky writer working away at the Kingston Writer’s Studio and felt such envy! They are all booked up for members, but you can get a day pass and write all the things.

So then, if you Writerly Types can put down your magazine and climb out of the hammock, come join us. There will be air conditioning and no judgment about your summer trash-reading game. We’ll be tailgating out front with a popsicle.

Writerly Happenings: Open Mics, Writer Circle's and Book Club Happenings In June!


Too Upset To Read?

No one is reading anything these days because the world is insane and everyone is too mad to read. Seriously, it’s a drought out there in terms of book recommendations. I cornered my brainiacs at a party last weekend and - nada. I myself just finished the YA novel “Girls on the Verge,” by Sharon Biggs Waller, and I think it’s probably mandatory reading for everyone. I might follow it up with “Handbook for a Post-Roe America,” by Robin Marty, you know, just to keep things light.  

And I’m again happily and intensely flipping and flopping through Diane Wakoski’s “Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987” in the middle of the night. 

In “Sour Milk,” she writes, 

“You can't make it
turn sweet

True, so true, Diane.

What’s Happening In June

So then, if we aren’t too busy with dismantling the patriarchy or gardening or figuring out where to keep the ice scraper until next year (trunk, someone’s eye, whichever), we’ll see you at one of these amazing writerly happenings all around us.

First of all, put on your calendar under “ways to improve writerly self for next year”: the Sarah Lawrence Summer Seminar. This year’s deadline was Saturday, June 1. If selected, you can join 70 writers for a week of workshops and readings and craft talks. There are scholarships available and you can take a hybrid genre workshop with Cold Spring’s Jeffrey McDaniel, who is a phenomenal teacher and writer (this is said confidently from personal experience in his workshops).

On Wednesday, June 5, you could be at the Writers Speak Easy, a “monthly open-mic roundtable” for writers, poets, comics and storytellers at Rough Draft Books in Kingston from 7 to 9 pm. It’s free but for the purchase of some of the excellent food, drink or books they have on hand. Worth it!

On Friday, June 7, you could head up to Poughkeepsie’s Underwear Factory for Earth Wind  & Fuego’s Fiesta Friday open mic, hosted by Poet Gold, and find yourself among a lovely and strong community of supportive writers. 5 to 10 pm. 

It’s Time To Get Lit

Sunday, June 9, finds us back in the nurturing arms of the Get Lit literary salon at Oak Vino Wine Bar from 5 to 8 pm. These busy bees also started a monthly writers’ circle so you can get some feedback, and just donated loads of books to Beacon High School. 


Binnacle Books was on the scene to sell copies of “Deadly” and “Looker” at the new Spring Street Reading Series at Atlas Studios in Newburgh on May 17, when Get Lit founder and author Julie Chibbaro read with poet and prose writer Laura Sims and they had a great dialogue afterwards with series curator Ruth Danon. The series gathers a host of creamline novelists, poets, editors and nonfiction writers from the Hudson Valley and beyond. The next one is Saturday, June 29, at 7 pm.

Bringing Newburgh To Beacon


The Beacon bookstore is also bringing Newburgh to Beacon with a relentlessly enticing Afro-futurism Book Club Series in partnership with the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center. Starts on Sunday, June 23, with Octavia Butler’s “Kindred” and is from 7 to 8 pm at Binnacle Books. Your recommended $10 donation also gets you a book to use for the duration of the series!

Back over in Newburgh on Wednesday, June 19, PANJA presents The Lit: Book Club at 15 Liberty St. from 7 to 9 pm. This book club “will be prioritizing authors outside the traditional canon; narratives that uplift the voices of POC, women, mystics, immigrants, envelope pushers, and other out-of-the box thinkers whose work touches on issues that tie into current events & critical conversations.” Yes, please.

From Cold Spring

On Saturday, June 15, the new Hudson Highlands poetry series at the Desmond-Fish library in Garrison has a pretty primo lineup of writers reading: Kathleen Ossip, Kristin Prevallet and Marjorie Tesser will thrill you from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. We’ll stop in at Split Rock Books on our way back to Beacon for their One-Year Anniversary Party. Big-time congrats! 


Speaking of Split Rock Books, we are sorry to not have hyped everyone more on their triumphant score for hosting Susan Choi’s reading of Trust Exercise: a novel, on Friday, May 17. Another past happening we can light up was their Kids Book Club from Beacon resident Deb Lucke and author of The Lunch Witch! Kids 7 to 10 years old could come on Thursday, May 30, from 4 to 4:45 pm and she was there to talk and answer questions.
Editor’s Note: We sadly published this Writerly Happenings too late after the happening, but didn’t want to delete the details! You must know about them in case you want to pursue this book and the Kids Club in the future.

So Then!

We’ll see you beautiful book nerds out and about in the Hudson Valley, whilst gnashing our teeth and talking about our wild irises. 

Writerly Happenings: Friends Who Knew My Cat Way Back When (AKA April Writerly Events)


We’ve made it to the light of April!

What Everyone Is Reading :: Theme: Friends Who Knew My Cat

The wind is blowing, seasonal allergies are beginning their ravaging Times Square hustle, and the sunsets are magnificent! But March dug her jagged little nails in at the very end and I had to put my cat of 16 years to sleep. So this introduction to Writerly Happenings will honor the reading habits of Friends Who Knew My Cat Way Back When.

Firstly, About My Cat

I rescued her as a tiny kitten from the roof of a crack house on South 12th Street on the way home from work in Philadelphia one July, and that all seems like a lifetime ago. The fact that I just eagerly started “I Must Be Living Twice” by Eileen Myles is fitting, I think.

When I got home with the kitten, my roommate, Miriam Singer, was an absolute angel about the new addition biting her toes. Right now she’s reading “M Train” by Patti Smith but feeling so-so about it. Maybe she should try “Evening in Paradise,” a collection of short stories by Lucia Berlin, because I am swooning over it. Swooning!

Our downstairs neighbor Alexandra was a champion of both cats and pink champagne at happy hour, and she is now reading “The Art of Communicating” by Thich Nhat Hanh and “Who I Am” by Pete Townshend. She once gave me a Freddie Mercury biography by Lesley-Ann Jones that I ate up with a spoon, so her rock memoir recommendations are solid.

Back In The Hudson Valley Writing Community

This event has already passed, but you should know about it, that on Sunday, April 7, you could have gone to Get Lit at Oak Vino and read for 5 minutes yourself, and/or enjoyed featured writer (and visual artist) Will Lessard and writer and musician Mike Faloon. (Don’t miss another Get Lit.)

Get Lit is sponsoring a book drive for Special Education English classrooms at Beacon High School for Get Caught Reading month in May! They’ve teamed up with Binnacle Books, and you can help contribute! A Little Beacon Blog already wrote all about it here. Binnacle Books is otherwise taking a break for their monthly Book Club for a hot minute, partly because they were producing this event, “Reframing Urban Renewal: A Presentation and Discussion,” which was at Fullerton Center in Newburgh for a discussion about urban renewal in the Hudson Valley. It explored creative ways of mobilizing a contested landscape and featured panelists including Ben Schulman of Newburgh Packet, David Hochfelder and Anne Pfau of 98 acres and University of Albany, and artist, academic, and author of “Contested City,” Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani.

Down In Cold Spring…

In the meantime, Split Rock Books in Cold Spring came back from their winter break with a vengeance and is offering approximately 7,000 things for you to do in April. I’m super interested in their reading on Saturday, April 13, with “author, poet and professor Caroline Hagood. ‘In Ways of Looking at a Woman’, a book-length essay that interweaves memoir with film and literary history, Caroline Hagood assumes the role of detective to ask, what is a ‘woman,’ ‘mother,’ and ‘writer’?” There’s also a discussion on Thursday, April 18, of “An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History #3)” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, which I’ve been wanting to read. On Thursday, May 16, Split Rock is hosting Susan Choi for her new book “Trust Exercise”. She just got a big write up in the New York Times.

Back In Beacon…

The phenomenal poet Edwin Torres is teaching a series of workshops on Saturdays at Beahive, aiming “to align our natural tri-lingual voice, our voice, with the humanity that defines us. “ Sounds so very good to me!

Thursday, April 18, is “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” as part of National Poetry Month and you should totally put a poem in your pocket and then give it to someone. Also, sign up for Poem-A-Day emails while you are at it! Meanwhile, have you seen the postcard books at Binnacle Books from local publisher Paravion Press, who is located in the old Beacon High School off Fishkill Avenue? So neat.

John Blesso’s Adult Stories is back on Sunday, April 28, if you want to share your work at Oak Vino. Looking ahead to May, we are certain that The Artichoke on Saturday, May 25, is going to sell out again, so maybe get those tickets now!

In the spoken word world…

On Saturday, April 20, there’s Poughetry Fest 2019, a not-to-be-missed festival of spoken and written word at the Cunneen-Hackett Center in Poughkeepsie. There will be a Youth Open Mic hosted by Derick Cross, LGBTQ Open Mic hosted by Jen Herman, the Calling All Poets Series hosted by Mike Jurkovic, the Poet Laureate Room featuring the newly appointed Hudson Valley & beyond Poet Laureates, and the Audre Lorde Room co-curated by Armando Batista. Amazing lineup!

In Newburgh…

Also Ruth Danon is teaming up with Atlas Studios to curate the monthly Spring Street Reading Series beginning on Friday, May 17, with Beacon’s own Julie Chibbaro and NYC hot ticket Laura Sims. We will be there with bells on. Well, we’ll probably take them off before the reading so as not to make a scene.

Also, up in Saugerties they are celebrating poetry all month with readings and sidewalk haiku and poetry and potions/purls and pints(oh my!).

Saturday, April 27, is “Independent Bookstore Day,” so give your local bookseller some big love that can’t fit into a big box.

Got more ideas about where to go for the writerliest of happenings? Please be in touch! phoebe@alittlebeaconblog.com. Or just let me know what you are reading and loving these days.

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


Nicole from the hit Netflix show “Nailed It.”

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?), 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 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 Wednesday, March 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, 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 Wednesday, March 13, 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. 

P.S. EDITOR’S NOTE: Thank you Binnacle Books for becoming a regular sponsor of A Little Beacon Blog’s Shopping Guide! It’s quite an honor to have an independent bookstore show their appreciation and value with a sponsorship!

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

Split Rock Books in Cold Spring is on winter vacation until Monday, March 4, with limited hours until 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 Friday, March 8, 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 7 pm so as not to interrupt. (I’m side-eyeing myself here, if that’s anatomically possible.)


Get Lit on Sunday, March 10, features two speakers about award-winning children’s literature power couple James Ransome (illustrator) and Lesa Cline-Ransome (author). In addition to their collaborations on books about Serena and Venus Williams, 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 on four Thursdays (March 7-28), and an adult writing intensive on Saturday, March 30, at the Howland Library in Beacon. Also free! See here for details.


Stop in to Quinn’s on Tuesday, March 12, and stay a while as readers from Ruth Danon’s Live Writing workshop take to the stage at 7 pm. 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 to the Howland Cultural Center), this new series is a pretty compelling reason!

On Tuesday, March 26, you can start your National Poetry Month festivities early (move over, St. Paddy’s Day) up in Tivoli with this brilliant mashup of 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, and looks to be a deep well. It’s 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!

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

“How To Edit Wikipedia” is 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 Wikipedia” is 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, 2019
TIME: 11 am to 3 pm

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 to 3 pm, 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.