City of Asylum @ Alphabet City
Sheila L. Carter-Jones is the author of Three Birds Deep (selected by Elizabeth Alexander as the 2012 winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Book Award) and the chapbook Blackberry Cobbler Song. Her chapbook Crooked Star Dream Book was named Honorable Mention for the 2013 New York Center for Book Arts Chapbook Contest. Sheila taught in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and in Chatham University’s and the University of Pittsburgh’s Education Departments. She earned her BA from Carnegie Mellon University and both an M.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a fellow of Cave Canem, Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and a Walter Dakin Fellow of the 2015 Sewanee Writer’s Conference. Sheila is working on a new manuscript of poems tentatively entitled The Newly Invented Lucky Star Dream Book, as well as a long poem of book length and a memoir, yet to be titled.
James (Jim) Tasillo is a native Pittsburgher who after a stint as a starving writer and photographer found himself working in the flooring distribution business. Three decades later he is startled by the old man that stares back at him from the bathroom mirror. Seven years ago he began telling stories at The Moth Story Slams, writing poetry, fiction and essays. His poem Leave No Trace was published in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and they recently published two of his humorous essays. His chapbook Po-ems was produced at The Soapbox in Philadelphia, PA by The Citizen Hydra Project. Ocean of Living, his second chapbook, explores loss and grieving after the death of his sister and is unpublished. Jim is overjoyed by his children, grandchildren and his incredible wife.
As a Navy brat, Robert Yune moved 11 times by time he turned 18. After graduating from Pitt, he lived in Pittsburgh for the next 15 years. In the summer of 2012, he worked as a stand-in for George Takei and has appeared as an extra in movies such as Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Fathers and Daughters. His fiction has been published in Green Mountains Review, Kenyon Review, and The Los Angeles Review, among others. In 2009, he received a writing fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 2015, his debut novel Eighty Days of Sunlight was nominated for the International DUBLIN Literary Award. Other nominees that year included Lauren Groff, Kazuo Ishiguro and Salman Rushdie. His debut story collection Impossible Children won the 2017 Mary McCarthy Prize and will be published in 2019 by Sarabande Books.
John Fried’s short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, including The Gettysburg Review, North American Review, and Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. His debut novel, The Martin Chronicles, will be published in January 2019 by Grand Central Publishing. He teaches creative writing at Duquesne University and received his MFA from Warren Wilson College Program for Writers. Prior to teaching, he was a magazine writer and editor in New York, and his work appeared in various publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, New York, Time, and Real Simple.
Richard St. John‘s most recent book of poems, Each Perfected Name, was released in 2015 by Truman State University Press. His long poem, Shrine, appeared as a chapbook in 2011. The Pure Inconstancy of Grace, his first full-length collection, was published in 2005 as first runner up for the T. S. Eliot Prize, also from Truman State. On a periodic basis, Rick facilitates Conversations That Matter, small group gatherings that support connection, reflection and shared meaning-making. You can find more information about his books, readings, and Conversations that Matter at richardstjohnpoet.com.
Deborah Bogen has four prize-winning collections of poetry. Her latest book, In Case of Sudden Free Fall (Jacar Press 2017) explores what can be said in a small space. These days she’s also a political activist who writes songs, plays ukulele and sings in the Highland Park Mini-band.
Pat Hart, co-curator
Marc Nieson, co-curator
Pat Hart writes plays, monologues, short stories, and novels. Playwriting credits include “Book Wench” a one-act play, performed at the Strawberry One-Act Festival, Summer 2015, New York, New York and Murderous, a 10-minute monologue, performed at Practice Monologamy, Carlow University, September 2015. Published short stories include “The Vigil,” The Writing Disorder (Fall 2015), “New Wife vs. Old Wife, a love story,” (2015) and “Dragon Boogers” novel excerpt (2016) in Voices in the Attic, and “Spider Ball,” Rune (May 2015). Pat has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh and is the founder of Free Association, a reading series for established and emerging writers in Pittsburgh. She is currently working on a novel set in Pittsburgh and Burma during the 1920s.
Marc Nieson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU Film School. His background includes children’s theatre, cattle chores, and a season with a one-ring circus. His memoir, SCHOOLHOUSE: Lessons on Love & Landscape, came out from Ice Cube Press in 2016. He’s won a Raymond Carver Short Story Award, Pushcart Prize nominations, and been noted in Best American Essays. He teaches at Chatham University, edits The Fourth River, and is at work on a new novel, HOUDINI’S HEIRS.
Founded in May of 2016, Free Association Reading Series is for established and emerging Pittsburgh writers of prose, poetry, and non-fiction. Not affiliated with any formal writing programs, FARS is ‘non denominational’ and draws writers from universities, workshops, and those toiling away alone in their garrets.