Events calendar

River River organizes free writing groups and many literary events throughout the year— hope you’ll join us! Click on any event in our calendar (scroll down to the bottom of the page) or visit us on Meetup for more details and up-to-the-minute information.

Upcoming events:

Holiday open mic & poetry reading with Nick Norwood

7 pm Saturday, December 14, 2019
The Carson McCullers House,
131 S. Broadway, Nyack NY

Join us in celebrating the new poetry collection, Eagle and Phenix, by McCullers Center director Nick Norwood, with a reading and book signing. We’ll also toast our tenth issue of River River Journal, and celebrate our local writing community with an open mic. And of course, enjoy some holiday-cheer refreshments while we’re at it!

Nick Norwood’s poems have appeared widely in such places as The Paris Review, The Oxford American, Shenandoah, US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, Pushcart Prize XLII, and elsewhere. His four full volumes include Eagle & Phenix (2019), Gravel and Hawk (2012, winner of the Hollis Summers Prize), A Palace for the Heart (2004), and The Soft Blare (2003). He has also published two limited edition books—Text (2016) and Wrestle (2007)—in collaboration with the artist and master printer Erika Adams. His poem “powerhouse” was permanently installed in eight-inch Corten steel on the Columbus RiverWalk as a public art piece by sculptor Mike McFalls in 2016. He teaches creative writing at Columbus State University and serves as the director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians in Columbus, GA, and Nyack, NY.

Co-sponsored by the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians.

River River gratefully acknowledges the support of our state and local arts funding agencies for our 2019 readings series. Rockland Decentralization Project Grants are made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program (DEC), a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.


“write!” community writing salons

Check our calendar for upcoming community writing salons! Writers in all genres are welcome to join us. Including writing prompts and discussions, and plenty of time to free-write, our salons culminate in a wide variety of readings from participants’ fresh-on-the-page works. We often highlight our favorites in the “Borrowed Pages” feature on the River River blog. Connect with other local writers, and write!

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Past Events:

November Read Out at Nyack Library


Join us for this free event at the Nyack Library, celebrating National Novel Writing Month! Share your own original work, favorite poetry/prose, or come to listen and show support for our local literary community.

7-8:30 pm Thursday, November 7
The Carnegie-Farian Room, Nyack Library

Contact Rosemary Farrell to register to read. Email her at rfarrell@nyacklibrary.org or please call 845-358-3370 EXT. 217.


Reading and conversation with Purvi Shah and Rosamond S. King

1pm Sunday, October 20
The Carson McCullers House, 131 S. Broadway, Nyack NY

Join us for the next in our 2019 readings series: prize-winning poets Purvi Shah and Rosamond S. King in conversation. Light refreshments, and books for sale and signing will be available. RSVP here.

Purvi Shah won the inaugural SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award for her leadership fighting violence against women. During the 10th anniversary of 9/11, with Kundiman, she directed Together We Are New York, a community-based poetry project highlighting Asian American voices. Terrain Tracks, her debut poetry collection on migration and belonging, won the Many Voices Project prize. Her new book, Miracle Marks, explores women, the sacred, and gender & racial equity. She serves as a board member of The Poetry Project. Her favorite art practices are her sparkly eyeshadow and raucous laughter. Discover more @PurviPoets or http://purvipoets.net/

Rosamond S. King is a creative and critical writer and performer whose work is deeply informed by her cultures and communities, by history, and by a sense of play. Poetry publications include the Lambda Award-winning Rock | Salt | Stone and poems in more than three dozen journals, blogs, and anthologies. Scholarly work includes Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination, and her performance art has been curated around the world. She is Creative Editor of sx salon and Associate Professor at Brooklyn College. Her goal is to make people feel, wonder, and think, usually in that order. www.rosamondking.com

Co-sponsored by the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians.

River River gratefully acknowledges the support of our state and local arts funding agencies for our 2019 readings series. Rockland Decentralization Project Grants are made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program (DEC), a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.


Writers Talk: Sigrid Nunez in conversation with Lori Soderlind

June 1, 2019

Join us for a reading and talk with Sigrid Nunez and Lori Soderlind! The authors will read from their work and discuss The Friend and the writing life. Lori Soderlind will lead the discussion and Q&A.

Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, and, most recently, The Friend, which won the 2018 National Book Award for fiction. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Learn more at www.sigridnunez.com.

Lori Soderlind is an award-winning essayist and journalist, and author of the memoir Chasing Montana: A Love Story. Her new memoir, The Change: My Great-American, Post-Industrial, Midlife Crisis Tour is forthcoming from the University of Wisconsin Press. She is Director of the Manhattanville College MFA Program in Creative Writing.

River River gratefully acknowledges the support of our state and local arts funding agencies for our 2018 readings series. Rockland Decentralization Project Grants are made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program (DEC), a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.


An ecology and hiking retreat for writers

June 7-9, 2019
Black Rock Forest Lodge, 
Cornwall, NY

Join us for a weekend writing retreat with a focus on ecology, climate research, and scientific fieldwork. You will participate in guided hikes to field station sites, talks on species identification and dendrology, and eco-poetics writing discussions within the spectacular Black Rock Forest in the Hudson Highlands. For writers interested in joining us in Vietnam in January 2020, this experience will give you a preview of the ecological and aesthetic inquiry we have planned for that fieldwork residency. For more info and to register, visit our events calendar.

Facilitators: River River Writers Circle director, A. Anupama, and
Lamont research professor Columbia University, Dr. Brendan M. Buckley


Write! An anthology launch party

7 pm Saturday, April 13
Cuppa Pulp Writers Space, Nanuet, NY

Join us for a reading by contributors to our anthology! Enjoy refreshments, take a chance at the silent auction! Books will be for sale.

Open Mic & Reading with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

7pm Saturday, February 23
Carson McCullers House, Nyack, New York

Join us for the first reading in River River’s 2019 series with fiction writer Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. An open mic will precede the reading – arrive on time to sign up! Enjoy literary conversation, light refreshments and a Q&A with our guest after the reading. Books will be available for sale and signing. Co-sponsored by ArtsWestchester, NY State Council on the Arts, and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians.

About the writer:
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the author of Friday Black, a story collection that debuted at number 13 on the New York Times Bestseller list in November, 2018. Nana is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree; he was the 2016-’17 Olive B. O’Connor fellow in fiction at Colgate University, where is continues to teach. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Guernica, Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, Printer’s Row, Gravel, and The Breakwater Review, where he was selected by ZZ Packer as the winner of the 2nd Annual Breakwater Review Fiction Contest. Friday Black is his first book. He is from Spring Valley, New York. Yep. Let’s welcome him home to Rockland!

River River gratefully acknowledges the support of our state and local arts funding agencies for our 2019 readings series. Rockland Decentralization Project Grants are made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program (DEC), a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.

Reading with Tomás Q. Morín and Elizabeth Schmul

7pm Saturday, November 10
Carson McCullers House, Nyack, New York

Join us for the next reading in River River’s 2018 series with poets Tomás Q. Morín and Elizabeth Schmuhl at the Carson McCullers House in Nyack. Enjoy literary conversation, light refreshments and a Q&A with our guest writers after the reading. Books will be available for sale and signing. Co-sponsored by ArtsWestchester, NY State Council on the Arts, and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians.

About the poets:
Tomás Q. Morín is the author of Patient Zero and A Larger Country. He translated Pablo Neruda’s The Heights of Macchu Picchu and with Mari L’Esperance co-edited Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine. He is at work on a memoir about fathers. He teaches at Drew University and in the low residency MFA program of Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Elizabeth Schmuhl is a multidisciplinary artist whose work appears in The Rumpus, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gramma, Paper Darts, PANK, Pinwheel, and elsewhere. Her book, Premonitions, is recently out from Wayne State University Press. Elizabeth has worked at various non-profits, including the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and currently works as a Marketing Strategist and Campaign Manager for Shamel Pitts, and at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

River River Writers Circle appreciates and acknowledges the support of our state and local arts granting agencies. Rockland Decentralization Project Grants are made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program (DEC), a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.

Reading with Suzanne Parker and Mary-Kim Arnold

3pm Sunday, July 15
95 1/2 Main, Nyack, New York

Join us as we welcome two writers for a Sunday afternoon of provocative prose and poetry!

Suzanne Parker is a poet, non-fiction writer, editor, and writing teacher/coach. Her chapbook Feed was a winner of the Sunken Gardens Poetry Chapbook Award and was published in summer 2016 by Tupelo Press. Her poetry collection, Viral, was a winner of the Kinereth Gensler Book Award and was published by Alice James Books in 2013. Her poetry has appeared in Drunken Boat, Hunger Mountain, Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Rattapallax, and elsewhere. About Viral, Suzanne has said: “The book focuses on homophobia, technology, and bullying as realized through the tragedy of the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the gay Rutger’s University student who took his own life after having his privacy violated by his roommate. I very much want this book to start conversations and reach an audience that needs to know they are not alone.”

Mary-Kim Arnold is a poet, writer, and visual artist. Litany for the Long Moment, her book-length experimental essay exploring her identity as a daughter, an adoptee, and a Korean-American, was selected by Carla Harryman for the 2016 Essay Press Prize. Other writings have appeared in Hyperallergic, The Georgia Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Adopted from Korea and raised in New York, she lives in Rhode Island with her husband and children.

River River Writers Circle appreciates and acknowledges the support of our state and local arts granting agencies. Rockland Decentralization Project Grants are made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program (DEC), a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.

Reading & conversation with writers David Means and Bethany Ball

Award-winning, local writers David Means and Bethany Ball join us for an evening of reading and conversation on the art of writing. Don’t miss this literary event!

Copies of the authors’ books will be available for purchase and signing. Light refreshments will be served, too.

7pm Saturday, June 2
The Carson McCullers House, 131 S. Broadway, Nyack.
Co-sponsored by The Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University.

About the writers:

The writer David Means, December 12, 2015, New York, New York, photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

David Means was born and raised in Michigan. His second collection of stories, Assorted Fire Events, earned the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction, and his third, The Secret Goldfish, was short-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. His fourth, The Spot, was selected as a 2010 Notable Book by The New York Times and won an O. Henry Prize. His first novel, Hystopia, was published in 2016 to wide acclaim, and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. His new collection, Instructions for a Funeral, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Means’s fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Esquire, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and numerous other publications. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2013. He lives in Nyack, New York, and teaches at Vassar College.

Bethany Ball was born in Detroit and has lived in Santa Fe, Miami, New Jersey and a kibbutz in the north of Israel. She currently lives in New York with her family. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence and has been published in The Common, BOMB, New York magazine, The American Literary Review, the Detroit MetroTimes, and Literary Hub. Her novel WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE SOLOMONS was published in 2017 by Grove Atlantic. It was short listed for the 2017 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and was a runner up in the Jewish Book Council’s debut fiction prize. Judy Blume called Bethany Ball a “new writer who creates memorable characters in a setting we don’t see every day. Funny, sexy, and smart.” The New York Times wrote, “ Despite their collective penchant for psychodrama , there’s something profoundly lovely―and loving―about the Solomons. And about Bethany Ball’s debut.”

River River Writers Circle appreciates and acknowledges the support of our state and local arts granting agencies. Rockland Decentralization Project Grants are made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program (DEC), a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.

Open mic and reading with guest writer Sophfronia Scott

Join us for a literary open mic, followed by featured writer, Sophfronia Scott. Sign-ups for the open mic (5-minute limit per reader) begin at 7pm. Friday, November 3, at The Carson McCullers House, 131 S. Broadway, Nyack. Co-sponsored by The Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University.

Sophfronia Scott grew up in Lorain, Ohio, a hometown she shares with author Toni Morrison. Her father was a Mississippi-born steelworker who never learned how to read and her mother was a stay-at-home mom who always made sure there were books in the house. She holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sophfronia spent a big chunk of her career as a writer and editor for Time and People magazines. When Sophfronia’s first novel, All I Need to Get By, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2004 Sophfronia was nominated for best new author at the African American Literary Awards and hailed by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as “potentially one of the best writers of her generation.” Her essays, short stories, and articles have appeared in numerous literary journals and her essay “Why I Didn’t Go to the Firehouse” was listed among the Notables in Best American Essays 2017.

Her latest novel is Unforgivable Love, published by William Morrow / HarperCollins. She also has forthcoming a spiritual memoir, This Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Child in a Secular World, co-written with her son, being published by Paraclete Press (December 2017) and an essay collection, Love’sLong Line, from Ohio State University Press / Mad Creek Books (February 2018).

Sophfronia lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut with her husband and son and where she continues to fight a losing battle against the weeds in her flowerbeds. She enjoys teaching at Regis University’s Mile-High MFA in Denver, Colorado and Bay Path University’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction. She blogs at www.Sophfronia.com.

Lodestar Reading and celebration of the spring issue of River River

The biannual River River Lodestar Series welcomes writer and designer Matthew Derby for a reading and a Q&A about his broad experience working in both print and digital media, as well as on platforms spanning literature and game design. Read an interview with Matt here.

The evening will also feature contributions to the Spring 2017 issue of River River. Saturday, July 22 at 7 p.m., at Cuppa Pulp Writers Space, 119 Main Street, Suite 2, Nanuet, NY.

Matthew Derby‘s recent novel, The Silent History (Farrar Straus and Giroux 2014), was originally concieved as the first major exploratory interactive novel designed for digital platforms.  The Guardian called The Silent History “A compelling story about difference, rights and power”; Wired called it “Entirely revolutionary.” Matt’s work has also appeared in The Anchor Book of American Short Stories, Dzanc’sBest of the Web 2009, McSweeney’s, The Believer, Guernica, and elsewhere. He is also a designer for Harmonix, a video game studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Open mic and poetry reading featuring Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Join us for a literary open mic, followed by featured poet, Rachel Eliza Griffiths. Sign-ups for the open mic (5-minute limit per reader) begin at 7pm. Friday, June 9, at The Carson McCullers House, 131 S. Broadway, Nyack. Co-sponsored by The Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and visual artist. Her four collections of poetry are Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books), The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press), Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose), and most recently, Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books). Her visual and literary work appears widely in a broad range of publications, including The New York Times, Poets & Writers, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, and Guernica. Griffiths has received fellowships from Yaddo, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, Millay Colony, and the Cave Canem Foundation. Her video project, P.O.P, which gathers more than 100 contemporary poets in intimate interviews, is now featured online by the Academy of American Poets. She is currently teaching creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and the Institute of American Indian Arts.

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