Spotlight on... Manhattanville Reading Series

The amazing writer and editor Penina Roth, host/curator of The Franklin Park Reading Series, is now launching the Manhattanville Reading Series by teaming up with Manhattanville Coffee. This series will feature a monthly reading showcasing emerging writers who have published fiction or nonfiction but have not yet released a book. The no cover events are scheduled for the last Tuesday of the month and will be held at Manhattanville's Crown Heights location.


We were lucky to have the chance to talk with Penina more about her vision for the series and what to look forward to!

Rachel Sherman: What inspired you to start this new series?

Penina Roth: What spurred me to launch the series was my concern that I had few openings left for emerging writers (promising ones with pub credits online or in print who haven't published books yet) at Franklin Park. Slots were filling up with New York writers presenting new books (including many of our prolific alumni) and the occasional out-of-towner. And when exciting debut authors come along I like to give them a chance to promote their books. There was a great Crown Heights series for emerging writers, Renegade, for a while that was founded by Caitlin Harper and later co-hosted by Erika Anderson and Rich Moy, but sadly that closed down. At the end of last year, Manhattanville's operations manager, Antarah Crawley, approached me about co-curating a series at the coffee shop.

A talented writer himself, Antarah is also very supportive of emerging authors and, as I do, favors innovative writing so it seemed like we'd make a good team.

RS: How do you find your readers? Can people submit their work?

PR: Currently, we're seeking submissions from prose writers whose work is voice-driven, language-focused, and innovative in terms of structure, style, POV, and/or subject -- more of an indie press style.

For consideration, writers should email a 3-5 page sample of fiction or creative nonfiction, along with a short bio, to And each event will feature an established prose writer, beginning with Will Chancellor at our launch. For now, we're booking favorite Franklin Park alumni for the featured slot. Upcoming authors include Alexandra Kleeman, Lincoln Michel, and Sarah Gerard.

Manhattanville Reading Series Launch

Tuesday, January 26th

Manhattanville Coffee
167 Rogers Avenue
Brooklyn, NY


The first reading will feature Will Chancellor as the featured author. He'll be joined by up-and-coming stars Madeline Stevens (Sundays at Erv's), Yahdon Israel (#LiterarySwag), and Jesse Kohn (The Atlas Review, BOMB).

Will Chancellor is the author of the novel A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall, and his essays, interviews and book reviews have appeared in Book Forum, The Scofield, Buzzfeed, Lit Hub, The Rumpus, and Electric Literature, among other places. He lives in New York and is at work on his second novel, To Test the Meaning of Certain Dreams. 

Madeline Stevens holds an MFA from Columbia University and has had fiction published in Blunderbuss Magazine, Connu, Scribd, and Nailed Magazine.

She also hosts and curates the Sundays at Erv's reading series in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

Yahdon Israel writes about race, class, gender, and culture in American society, and his work has appeared in Avidly, The New Inquiry, Guernica, and LitHub. He is currently attending The New School for his MFA in Creative Nonfiction, and he runs a popular Instagram page, "#literaryswag," which promotes literary culture. He has been featured on BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post. 

Jesse Kohn's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Sun Lit, Spork Press, Sleepingfish, The Atlas Review, Everyday Genius, SAND Journal, and elsewhere. He has contributed essays and interviews to 3:AM, Music & Literature, The Rumpus, Entropy, Full-Stop, Quarterly Conversation, BOMB, Bookslut, and more. Links can be found here: