NYC | February 15, 2015

Hello, February! We’re celebrating matters of the heart and soul this month with people and things we adore: superb writers, stand-out books, and outstanding talent. Join us for what will be a luminous evening of literary love. At Jimmys no. 43. 7pm.

Jeffery Renard Allen is a Professor of English at Queens College of the City University of New York and an instructor in the Writing Program at The New School and New York University. Allen is the author of five books, most recently the novel Song of the Shank (Graywolf Press, 2104), which is loosely based on the life of Blind Tom, a nineteenth century African American piano virtuoso and composer who was the first African American to perform at The White House. The novel was featured as the front-page review of both The New York Times Book Review and The San Francisco Chronicle. Allen is the author of two other works of fiction, the novel Rails Under My Back, which won The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Fiction, and the short story collection Holding Pattern, which won The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Allen has received other accolades for his work, including a Whiting Writers’ Award. His website is

Lauren Francis-Sharma, a child of Trinidadian immigrants, was born in New York City and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in African-American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She is a former corporate attorney who now lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and two children. Til the Well Runs Dry, her acclaimed first novel, was chosen as an O, The Oprah Magazine Summer Reading Pick and has been lauded by the New York Times, USA Today, Essence Magazine, among other publications. Lauren has been a guest on NPR’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show, Baltimore’s Fox Morning News, the Maggie Linton Show, New England Literary Radio, Book Radio and Black Authors Network Literary Online Radio. The story of her grandmother’s journey to the United States, which is the inspiration behind her novel, was the subject of a feature article in the Washington Post in July 2014.

Darcey Steinke is the author of Sister Golden Hair: A Novel (Tin House, October 2014), the memoir Easter Everywhere (a New York Times notable book) and the novels Milk, Jesus Saves, Suicide Blonde, and Up Through the Water (also a New York Times notable book). With Rick Moody, she edited Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited. Her books have been translated into ten languages, and her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Review, Vogue, Spin, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Guardian. Her web-story “Blindspot” was a part of the 2000 Whitney Biennial. She has been both a Henry Hoyns and a Stegner fellow as well as writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippi, and has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts, Barnard, the American University of Paris, and Princeton. She lives in New York City.

Luke Wiget is a writer and musician who lives in Brooklyn. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Green Mountains Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, Hobart, BOMB, Heavy Feather Review, The Rumpus, among others. Luke is co-curator and host of drDOCTOR, a literary and arts podcast and reading series.

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