2018 Annual Faculty Benefit Reading at 826 DC
Last Wednesday, we gathered for a cherished AU MFA tradition: an annual faculty reading to benefit the magical 826 DC. Prospective students, current students, alumni, and faculty mingled over wine and cheese before the reading—and few of us could resist the gravitational pull of our beloved Professor Emeritus Richard McCann, who retired just last year.
To kick off the event, we heard from Areesah Mobley, Director of Development at 826DC, about the non-profit literary program’s impressive reach: 826DC runs six programs that served 3,000 young (ages 6-13) DC writers last year. The program is always looking for volunteers. Recent alumna Emily Moses (and former Cafe MFA EIC) is now running 826DC’s monthly reading series, and invited us to the first lowercase reading of 2018.
Rachel Louise Snyder kicked off the reading with a list of recent alumni and faculty publications. She read from her novel What We’ve Lost is Nothing. David Keplinger shared pieces from his new book Another City, which comes out next month with Milkweed Editions (!). Dolen Perkins-Valdez brought us back to the Whitney Houston days with an essay for a forthcoming anthology about teen idols. Stephanie Grant, in keeping with AU’s genre-fluid tradition, read new poetry. Our newest faculty member, Patricia Park read from the opening of her novel Re: Jane. Not pictured: Kyle Dargan, whom we all missed and whose next book Anagnorisis will come out this October with Northwestern University Press.
Rachel Louise Snyder ended the event with her annual— and important — reminder to all the writers in the room. “There is no cap on the number of artists in the world. There’s room for all of us.”
We are grateful, always, to our immensely-talented faculty, not only for the soul-affirming beauty of their varied works, but for their unflagging support of us as writers.
If you’re interested in getting involved with 826DC, you can learn more about volunteering here.You can also contribute to the cause by participating in 826’s monthly reading series and open mic, the lowercase, which takes place the first Wednesday of each month at Petworth Citizen. With Emily running things, you can expect a solid #WriteinDC presence — starting tomorrow at 7PM!
Image: Karan Madhok
Yohanca Delgado is a editor-in-chief at Café MFA and a second-year candidate in American University’s Creative Writing MFA program.