Michalski, Grow, Belz headline Fiction at Freddies reading event

For years, Monday night at the local pub has featured stimulating conversation, poetry, satire, biography and fiction; punctuated by a pastiche of memorable images – courtesy of ABC television and Monday Night Football.  But absent the mellifluous tones of Howard Cosell, Baltimore literature fans also can enjoy the best the city has to offer this Monday night with a new reading series on Harford Road.

Fiction at Freddies Ale House was launched this past October by series curator, Rafael Alvarez (author of the recently released “Tales From the Holy Land”), as an event which blends the best of Baltimore’s  writers and visual artists with the comradery and warmth one would expect with a  night out at a neighborhood gin mill.

Poet Dan Cuddy ~ with feeling!  (Bill Hughes)
Poet Dan Cuddy ~ with feeling! (Bill Hughes)

Monday’s 7:00 p.m. event will be the third reading in the cozy Parkville pub.  Past readers have included poets Dan Cuddy and Shirley Brewer (“After Words”); journalists Joe Nawrozki and Michael Olesker (“Front Stoops in the Fifties”); Ravens buff Dean Bartoli Smith (“Never Easy, Never Pretty”); writer Deborah Rudacille; photo-journalist Jennifer Bishop; and novelist (and burlesque star) Margo Christie (“These Days”).

This month’s line-up includes fiction writers Jen Michalski and Jen Grow, along with popular satirist D.R. Belz, poetry by Matt Hohner and the photography of Steve Ruark.

Belz, who just garnered an Honorable Mention in the City Paper Poetry and Fiction Contest, is the author of “White Asparagus” – an insightful, often humorous collection of fiction, poetry and essays.  Ruark, an award-winning photojournalist, shoots news features, portraits and sports for the Associated Press and a variety of other publications.

Grow will be reading a story from her forthcoming collection, “My Life as a Mermaid and Other Stories” which was this year’s winner of the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Competition.Fiction at Freddies

Ever busy, Grow told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that she is currently working on a series of essays about her father who spent the last 25 years of his life as the co-founder and executive director of the National Association of Bunco Investigators (NABI) – an organization that tracks and apprehends criminal gypsies and con artists.

Michalski will be reading an excerpt from her novel, “The Tide King,” which was released back in July and won “Best Fiction” in the City Paper’s “Best of Baltimore 2013” issue.  Michalski also was recognized this year with a “Baltimore’s Best” award from Baltimore Magazine.

“I’ve been really blessed this year, and I hope I can maintain momentum in 2014,”  Michalski said.  “I finished another novel earlier in the fall, which is being shopped around (fingers crossed).  Mostly, however, I’m really thankful that everyone in Baltimore is so great.  I’m proud to be a local.  I heard there will be cupcakes.”

Yes, there will be cupcakes, courtesy of Lynn Candelaria Tress.

Along with the cupcakes, a free buffet will be provided by the owners of Freddies.  An author signing will take place at intermission and again, at the end of the reading.

Freddies Ale House is located at 7209 Harford Road, Baltimore Maryland – about six blocks north of Northern Parkway.  A large lot and on street parking are both available.  More information about the venue may be found online.  And from Rafael Alvarez: “Thanks to all who help keep Crabtown the cultural center of any map with Glen Burnie at one end and Dundalk on the other.”