Previous Readers

Laura Adamczyk

… is the author of the short story collection Hardly Children and the novel Island City. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Reader, Guernica, McSweeney's, and other publications. She lives in Chicago.

Carrie Olivia Adams

… is the author of four poetry collections: Be the Thing of Memory (Tolsun Books, 2021), Operating Theater (Noctuary Press, 2015), Forty-One Jane Doe's (Ahsahta 2013), and Intervening Absence (Ahsahta, 2009); as well as the chapbooks Proficiency Badges (Meeking Press, 2020), Grapple (above/ground press, 2017); Overture in the Key of F (above/ground press, 2013), and A Useless Window (Black Ocean, 2007). She works for the University of Chicago Press and is co-founder of the indie press Black Ocean.

Mary Ardery

… is a poet originally from Bloomington, Indiana. She’s won an Academy of American Poets Prize, and her work has appeared in the Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, Best New Poets 2021, RHINO, and others. The recipient of a fellowship from the Indiana Arts Commission, she currently lives in West Lafayette and teaches at Purdue University.

Kyle Beachy

… is the author of a novel, The Slide (Dial Press, 2009), and the essay collection The Most Fun Thing (Grand Central, 2021), a chronicle of his lifelong love affair with skateboarding. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Harvard Review, Thrasher Magazine, The Point, and elsewhere. He teaches at Roosevelt University and lives in Logan Square.

E.C. Belli

… is a poet and translator. Her second book, A Sleep That Is Not Our Sleep (Anhinga Press, 2022), won the Philip Levine Prize, and her debut poetry collection, Objects of Hunger (SIU Press, 2019), won the Crab Orchard Poetry Series First Book Award. Her translations from the French include the novel I, Little Asylum by Emmanuelle Guattari (Semiotext(e), 2014) and The Nothing Bird, selected poems by Pierre Peuchmaurd (Oberlin Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in VERSE, AGNI, Colorado Review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, and others. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Tara Betts

… is the author of the poetry collections Refuse to Disappear (Word Works Books, 2022), Break the Habit (Trio House, 2016) and Arc & Hue (Aquarius, 2010), as well as numerous chapbooks. A Cave Canem fellow and Illinois Arts Council fellow, she’s received residencies from Ragdale, Centrum, and Caldera, and was named one of Essence Magazine’s "40 Favorite Poets." She’s appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the Black Family Channel series SPOKEN with Jessica Care Moore. She hails from Kankakee, Illinois, and currently lives on the South Side.

Daniel Biegelson

… is the author of the poetry collection of being neighbors (Ricochet Editions, 2021) and the chapbook Only the Borrowed Light (VERSE). He serves as the Director of the Visiting Writers Series at Northwest Missouri State University, where he also works as an editor for The Laurel Review. He holds an MFA from the University of Montana and an MA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He lives near Kansas City with his wife and children.

Barrie Jean Borich

… is the author of numerous books, including Apocalypse, Darling (Ohio State University Press, 2018), which was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award; Body Geographic (University of Nebraska Press, 2013), which won a Lambda, as well as an Independent Publisher Book Award and a Forward INDIE Bronze Award; and My Lesbian Husband (Graywolf, 1999), which won the prestigious Stonewall Book Award. She teaches at DePaul University and edits the online journal Slag Glass City.

Kim Brooks

… is the author of Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear, an NPR Best Book of the Year, described by the National Book Review as “an impassioned, smart work of social criticism and a call for support and empathy.” She’s received fellowships from the Michener-Copernicus Center, the Posen Foundation, Yaddo, and Ragdale, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Chicago Magazine, and others. She’s also spoken as a guest on CBS This Morning, PBS Newshour, 20/20, NPR’s All Things Considered, and Good Morning America. Her novel, The Houseguest, was published in 2016.

CM Burroughs

… is the author of Master Suffering (Tupelo Press, 2021), a finalist for the LA Times Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award, as well as a previous collection, The Vital System (Tupelo Press, 2012). She has been awarded fellowships and grants from Yaddo, MacDowell, Djerassi, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Cave Canem. She has received commissions from the Studio Museum of Harlem and the Warhol Museum to create poetry in response to art installations. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Callaloo, Best American Experimental Writing, and others. She teaches at Columbia College Chicago and currently lives in Uptown.

Max Cohen

… is a queer, writer, and general gadabout who is afraid of calling herself a poet because of the social repercussions. Her work has been published in Sixth Finch, Ninth Letter, and even a few non-numbered journals. When she’s not in front of you she’s probably listening to Uncle Tupelo in Paschen Park or playing with her band, Noiseland.

Mary Kate Coleman

… is a recent Fulbright scholar and an investigator on the digital storytelling project Humanizing Deportation. She holds an MFA from Southern Illinois University and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Carve Magazine, Redivider, and Midwestern Gothic. Originally from Kokomo, Indiana, she lives in Edgewater with her husband and daughter.

Jax Connelly

… has received honors from Best American Essays, Prairie Schooner, Nowhere Magazine, Boulevard, Fourth Genre, and The Pinch. Their experimental and hybrid essays have also appeared in PANK, Hunger Mountain, Pleiades, Zone 3, and others. She is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago.

Christina Drill

… is a writer from New Jersey. She holds an MFA from the University of Miami, where she was a Michener fellow. Stories from her in-progress collection, The Most Anonymous State, have been published by Triangle House Review, Hobart, Chicago Quarterly Review, and The Florida Review, and her work has received honors from Glimmer Train, Southampton Writers Conference, and the Miami Book Fair. Her non-fiction has been published in New York Magazine, VICE, and others. She is the former production editor for The Miami Rail and current social media editor at the Chicago Review of Books. She lives in Chicago.

Teresa Dzieglewicz

currently works as a Poet-in-Residence with the Chicago Poetry Center and an organizer with the Defenders of the Water School at Standing Rock Reservation. Her first book, Something Small of How to See a River, is forthcoming in 2023. She’s been awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, and the Palette Poetry Prize, as well as fellowships from New Harmony Writer's Workshop, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, and the NY Mill Arts Retreat. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in the Pushcart Prize XLII, Best New Poets, Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Ninth Letter, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere. She lives in Uptown.

Kelley Engelbrecht

… is an emerging writer and MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago. Her writing focuses on feminism and matriarchy with forthcoming work in Chicago Magazine and MER Literary Review.

Ola Faleti

is a Chicago-bred writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and all genres in between. As a daughter of Yoruba immigrants, she grew up in the (then) ethnically diverse enclave of Uptown. Ola’s work has been featured in the Chicago Reader, Hypertext Magazine, Interim Poetics, Jet Fuel Review, and elsewhere. Currently, she’s the nonfiction editor at Vagabond City Lit. Her favorite number is nine. She believes there’s no such thing as too many flowers.

Eileen Favorite

… has received two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in both fiction and nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in Triquarterly, The Chicago Tribune, Essay Daily, The Rumpus, Diagram, and elsewhere. She’s also the author of a novel, The Heroines (Scribner, 2009) and teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she offers the renowned course “Love the Art, Hate the Artist.”

Julia Fine

… is the author of The Upstairs House, winner of the Chicago Review of Books Award for Fiction, and What Should Be Wild, which was shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Superior First Novel Award. Her third novel, Maddalena and the Dark, is forthcoming in June 2023. She teaches writing in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and children.

Vincent Francone

… is the author of the memoir Like a Dog and the essay collection The Soft Lunacy. He’s won the Gwendolyn Brooks Award, and his writing has appeared in The Oklahoma Review, RHINO, Southword, New City, and others. A lifelong Chicagoan, Vincent has an MA from Northwestern and teaches at Roosevelt University. He’s currently working on a collection of stories.

Ames Hawkins

… is a creative-critical scholar, transgenre writer and author of the award-winning work of literary nonfiction, These are Love(d) Letters. Their work appears in Pre/Text, Constellations, The Feminist Wire, The Rumpus, Water~Stone Review, and elsewhere. They co-hosted the scholarly podcast Masters of Text and currently teach English and Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

Sharon Houk

… is a multidisciplinary artist and award-winning playwright. Her work has been seen in Coe Review, Rhino Fest, Irish American News, and the Billie Limacher Emerging Playwright’s Festival. She has an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and lives in the southwest suburbs.

Dionne Irving

… is originally from Toronto, Ontario. She is the author of the short story collection The Islands (Catapult, 2022) and the novel Quint (7.13 Books, 2021). Her work has appeared in Story, Boulevard, LitHub, Missouri Review, West Branch, and elsewhere. She teaches in the University of Notre Dame Creative Writing Program and the Initiative on Race and Resilience.

Rachel Jamison Webster

… writes poetry, prose, and hybrid texts, and is the author of five books: the forthcoming Benjamin Banneker and Us (Henry Holt, 2023), September: Poems (Triquarterly, 2013), The Endless Unbegun (Twelve Winters, 2015), Mary is a River (Kelsay Books, 2018), and The Sea Came Up & Drowned (Raw Books, 2020). Her essays have appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, The Yale Review, The L.A. Review of Books, and elsewhere. She teaches at Northwestern University and lives in Evanston.

Allan Johnston

is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Tasks of Survival (1996), In a Window (2018), and Sable and Selected Poems (2022); and three chapbooks: Northport, (2010), Departures (2013), and Contingencies (2015). He has received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship and multiple Pushcart Prize nominations, and his poems have appeared in over sixty journals, including Poetry, Poetry East, Rattle and Rhino. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of California-Davis, and he currently teaches writing and literature at Columbia College and DePaul.

Aviya Kushner

… is the author of Wolf Lamb Bomb (Orison, 2021), named a New and Noteworthy book by The New York Times. Her previous nonfiction book, The Grammar of God (Spiegel & Grau/ Penguin Random House), was a National Jewish Book Award finalist, a Sami Rohr Prize finalist, and a National Jewish Book Club pick for 2018-19. She is The Forward’s language columnist, and her writing has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Gettysburg Review, The Chicago Tribune, Zoetrope: All-Story, and others. She teaches at Columbia College Chicago and the Randolph College MFA program, and serves on the Executive Board of the American Literary Translators Association.

Ananda Lima

… is the author of Mother/land (Black Lawrence Press, 2021), winner of the Hudson Prize, shortlisted for the Chicago Review of Books Chriby Awards. She is also the author of the chapbooks Vigil (Get Fresh Books, 2021), Tropicália (Newfound, 2021, winner of the Newfound Prose Prize), Amblyopia (Bull City Press, 2020), and Translation (Paper Nautilus, 2019, winner of the Vella Chapbook Prize). Her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review,, Kenyon Review Online, Gulf Coast, Colorado Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She has been awarded the inaugural Work-In-Progress Fellowship by Latinx-in-Publishing, sponsored by Macmillan Publishers, for her fiction manuscript-in-progress. She has an MA in Linguistics from UCLA and an MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction from Rutgers University, Newark.

Lily Lloyd Burkhalter

… is a French-American writer and textiles artist. She is an MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry, prose, and hybrid works have appeared in Ploughshares, The Mississippi Review, Diagram, and others. She has previously lived in Paris; Virginia; and Bandjoun, Cameroon and currently splits her time between Logan Square and central Wisconsin.

Sandra Marchetti

… is the author of two full-length poetry collections: Aisle 228 (Stephen F. Austin, 2023) and Confluence (Sundress, 2015). Her writing has appeared in Pleiades, Ecotone, Southwest Review, Subtropics, and elsewhere. A former Poetry Editor at River Styx, she currently serves as Coordinator of Tutoring Services at the College of DuPage.

John McCarthy

… is the author of Scared Violent Like Horses (Milkweed, 2019), winner of the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Gettysburg Review, Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, TriQuarterly, and others. He has an MFA from SIU-Carbondale and currently lives in Evanston, where he’s an Associate Editor for RHINO Magazine.

Aarti Monteiro

… is a fiction writer and educator. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Rutgers University-Newark, and her stories have appeared in Cosmonauts Avenue, Epiphany, wildness, and Kweli. She is currently working on a novel in stories that explores the effect of a double migration, the loss of home, and the stigma of mental illness on a multi-generational family. She lives in Chicago.

Michele Morano

… is the author of the books Like Love and Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain. Her writing has also appeared in Best American Essays, Fourth Genre, Brevity, Missouri Review, and many others. She has received honors and awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, the MacDowell Colony, and the American Association of University Women. She is a professor and current chair of the English Department at DePaul University.

Jami Nakamura Lin

… is a yonsei writer whose work is influenced by the mythology and folklore of her Japanese, Taiwanese, and Okinawan cultures. Her speculative memoir, The Night Parade (Mariner Books), will be published in 2023. She is a former Catapult essay columnist and an NEA fellow, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Electric Literature, Passages North, and elsewhere. She lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Bruce Owens Grimm

is a Pushcart-nominated queer ghost nerd based in Chicago. He is a coeditor of Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Rumpus, Brevity, Iron Horse Review, Ghost City Review, and It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror. He coined the term “haunted memoir” in his essay of the same name published by Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies.

Delia Pless

… teaches writing at Columbia College, DePaul University, and the University of Chicago Graham School. Her writing has appeared in jubilat, Prelude, Sixth Finch, Western Beefs of North America, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from UMass-Amherst, where she co-hosted the jubilat/Jones Reading Series. She hails from Durham, NC, and currently lives in Hyde Park.

Olivia Postelli

… received her BA from the University of Michigan and her MFA in Fiction from Oregon State University. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review and Grist. She lives in Ravenswood.

Kenyatta Rogers

… is a Cave Canem Fellow and two-time Breadloaf Fellow. He has also been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes, and his poetry has appearedin Jubilat, Vinyl, Bat City Review, and PANK, among others. He currently chairs the Creative Writing Program at the Chicago High School for the Arts.

Kathleen Rooney

… is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Her most recent books include the novel Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin’s Press, 2017) and The Listening Room: A Novel of Georgette and Loulou Magritte (Spork Press, 2018). Her World War I novel, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey, was published by Penguin in 2020, and her criticism appears in The New York Times Magazine, The Poetry Foundation website, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay, and teaches at DePaul.

Stuart Ross

… is the author of the novel Jenny in Corona (Tortoise, 2019). His writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Bull, Diagram, Hypertext, and others. A tortured Mets fan from Queens, he currently lives in Andersonville.

Fred Schmalz

… is an artist and writer. He is the author of Action in the Orchards and several chapbooks and often produces writing in conversation with dance, music, and visual art. His writing has appeared in Poetry, A Public Space, Spinning Jenny, jubilat, and elsewhere. He also makes art with Susy Bielak in the collaborative Balas & Wax.

Deborah Shapiro

… is the author of three novels: Consolation (2022), The Summer Demands (2019), and The Sun In Your Eyes (2016). She spent a number of years in New York working at magazines, including New York and ELLE, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Chicago Magazine, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere. She lives with her husband and son in Chicago.

Megan Stielstra

… is the author of three essay collections: Everyone Remain Calm, Once I Was Cool, and The Wrong Way to Save Your Life. Her work appears in the Best American Essays, New York Times, The Believer, Tin House, Guernica, and elsewhere. A longtime company member with Second Story, she has told stories for National Public Radio, Radio National Australia, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and many, many bars.

Rachel Swearingen

… is the author of How to Walk on Water and Other Stories, winner of the New American Press Fiction Prize and a New York Times Book Review “New & Noteworthy Selection.” She’s also been awarded a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and named one of 30 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex. Her writing has appeared in The Missouri Review, VICE, Kenyon Review, Agni, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago and teaches in Cornell College’s low-residency MFA program.

Tony Trigilio

… is the author and editor of fourteen books, including, most recently, Proof Something Happened (Marsh Hawk Press, 2021), and Ghosts of the Upper Floor (BlazeVOX, 2019), the third installment in his multivolume poem, The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood). Interviews from his long-running poetry podcast, Radio Free Albion, are collected in the volume Dispatches from the Body Politic (Essay Press, 2016). He also co-edits the poetry magazine Court Green and was previously an associate editor for Tupelo Quarterly. He holds a Ph.D. from Northeastern University in Boston and currently teaches at Columbia College Chicago.

Christie Valentin-Bati

… is a multi-genre writer and photographer invested in the everyday. Her work has received honorable mention in the 2022 and 2021 Academy of American Poet's Poetry Contest, been commissioned by the ACLU of Illinois, and exhibited in Porous Gallery. She is published in Bending Genres, Broken Pencil Zine, Allium Journal, and others. She is a Poet-in-Residence with The Chicago Poetry Center and Teaching Artist at Young Chicago Authors.

Dylan Weir

… is a poet and adjunct instructor at Columbia College Chicago. A graduate of the MFA program at University of Wisconsin–Madison, he’s received support from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and has poems in Narrative, New England Review, Ninth Letter, North American Review, and others.

Jeremy T. Wilson

is the author of the story collection Adult Teeth. He is a winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award, and his stories have appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, The Florida Review, Sonora Review, Hobart, Third Coast and others. He holds an MFA from Northwestern University and teaches creative writing at The Chicago High School for the Arts. He lives in Evanston with his wife and daughter.

Jeffrey Wolf

… is a fiction writer and lifelong Chicagoan. He is a recipient of the Great River Writer’s Retreat and was a finalist for the Third Coast Fiction Prize. His work has appeared in Bat City Review, Gulf Stream, Jewish Fiction .net and others. He has an MFA from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and teaches English at Columbia College Chicago.

Noah Zanella

… is an MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago. He holds a BA in Physics and Written Arts from Bard College and is originally from Maine.

Michael Zapata

… is a founding editor of MAKE Literary Magazine and the author of the novel The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, winner of the 2020 Chicago Review of Books Award for Fiction, and a Best Book of the Year for NPR, the A.V. Club, and the Los Angeles Public Library. He is also the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award. He teaches at Northwestern University and StoryStudio Chicago.

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