August short story workshop: 8/10-9/7

We’re leading a short story workshop next month and we’re super stoked about it! The details:

What it is: A generative workshop. The goal is to complete a piece of short fiction in five weeks. We’ll start with writing prompts and reading to get some ideas flowing and end with group workshops of the stories in progress.

This workshop is open to writers of all ages and all levels—whether you have an MFA or are just starting in fiction, starting a story and seeing it through to the end takes more than just writing talent. It takes commitment and dedication—and having other people around to help out can oftentimes keep you on track. The goal of this workshop is to get everybody to the finish line on a new piece.

When it is: Wednesday nights from 7-9pm (August 10, 17, 24, 31, and September 7).

Where it is: East End Book Exchange (4754 Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield)

How to sign up: E-mail Jess Simms (

What it costs: We’re asking for a $20 donation. There’s two reasons for this:
1) Something that costs money is easier to stay committed to than something that’s free (sad but true, psychologically)
2) It will help the Haven keep doing readings and workshops and other cool literary events in the city

…having said that, we in no way want the cost to be prohibitive. If you want to join the workshop but don’t have an extra $20, just e-mail Jess ( and we’ll work out an alternative (like bringing food to the reading, or something similarly awesome).

What you get: Aside from writing a story, you’ll get a collection of short stories to read, study, and keep. You’ll also get a chance to read part of your story to an audience at the final reading (date and time TBD).

Who’s in charge: Three members of the Rahnd Table will be moderating this workshop: Liz Abeling, Nate Kukulski, and Jess Simms (and we’ll be writing stories, too, because we practice what we preach, yo).

…we’re really excited to start this workshop and we hope you’ll be equally stoked to take this journey with us. Let’s make some words happen, Pittsburgh!

AWP Bookfair Roundup


So I uploaded some pictures to our Facebook page depicting our road trip across the country (courtesy of Dan McCloskey and his magical van), and I’ve started to process the influx of knowledge and experience dropped on us at the AWP conference. I think I can safely speak for everyone in saying the trip and conference both exceeded expectations. I’m already excited to start planning for AWP17 in Washington DC next year.

Our Twitter machine’s been active through the trip talking about panels, readings, and all the fun whatnot. Unpacking (finally) unearthed a plethora of tiny pieces of paper picked up at tables in the bookfair, and as I’m going through them I realized we didn’t say much about the cool presses and people we met both wandering and table-sitting. I’m sure I’ll forget somebody, but some highlights:

  • Poetry for Trash, a project that combines poetry with litter pick-up in its home state of Virginia.
  • Both University of Hell Press and Punk Hostage Press, who put on a fantastic shared off-site reading. Both do mostly poetry, though University of Hell just put out their first fiction book (Swarm Theory, a novel in stories by Christine Rice).
  • Spork Press (based out of Tucson, AZ) handmakes books and records cassette tapes. The designs are unique and beautiful and worth checking out.
  • HOOT review is a postcard journal of mini poetry and prose. They also run online and pen pal workshops.
  • Found out there is a literary journal dedicated to sports writing (Sport Literate). They don’t take fiction but are open to both essays and poetry.
  • Obviously there are a ton of journals and presses open to submissions and running contests. Blue Skirt Productions was a new one for me and caught my eye because they’re both a press and journal, interested in fiction from 100 words to novella-length. Sarabande Books is running contents in both poetry and short fiction manuscripts (both open until April 30). Barrelhouse (hosts of the Conversations and Connections conference) is also open for submissions.

…I could keep listing cool stuff all day, but I think that’s a good smattering of the new things I got hip to at the bookfair. Might edit and add to this as I unearth more tiny pieces of paper from my luggage.

The Rahnd Table Anthology


The first volume of the Rahnd Table anthology is assembled and ready for the world, and will be making its debut at the AWP conference in LA! Rahnd Table members Elizabeth Abeling, Nathan Kukulski, Daniel Parme, Jess Simms, and Brendan Sullivan have their work featured within. It’s a fantastic collection and we’re stoked to release it to the world.

Reading October 30 at Nola Speakeasy

Bacharach/Shotland readingEDIT: The location for this event has changed. It will now be held at Nola’s Speakeasy, located at 24 Market Square.

For our first official event, The Haven will be hosting a literary reading at Nola Speakeasy in Market Square. Local authors Jacob Bacharach and Sarah Shotland will be reading from their respective debut novels, both of which were released in 2014. Also included in the ticket price are wine and food provided by Nola On The Square.

Proceeds from this event will go to the featured readers as well as to The Haven, helping us to host more readings in the coming months, and working toward our end goal of a writers space in Pittsburgh.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $33, or you can secure your seat in advance for $29 by e-mailing, or you can buy your ticket with PayPal using the button below:

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Playing in the dirt at Cyberpunk Apocalypse

Many of the Haven events this fall are going to be held at the Cyberpunk Apocalypse, a writer’s residency in Pittsburgh North Side (to learn more about Cyberpunk, you can check out their tumblr).

We took advantage of the Labor Day holiday to get out the shovels and pickaxe and give some love to the Cyberpunk backyard.

Nate and Liz laying down the brick path.

Nate and Liz laying down the brick path.

The ultimate plan is to create a space that can be used for performances and be a livable, useful space for the residents. Part of the yard will be reserved for a garden, and the stage is mobile.

Dan digging out the garden space.

Dan digging out the garden space.

The stage, constructed of wood scraps and pallets.

The stage, constructed of wood scraps and pallets.

The backyard is still a work in progress, but we’re pretty stoked about what we’ve gotten done so far and look forward to finishing it in the next couple of weeks.

The new back stoop.

The new back stoop.

And of course we’re looking forward to showing off the finished project at our readings this fall.