An Interview with Lexi Beach, Owner of Astoria Bookshop


Monday, August 10th, 2015 | 5,026 views

Astoria Bookshop in Queens

With wife Connie Rourke, Lexi Beach established The Astoria Bookshop in August 2013. The 1,200 square foot storefront under the elevated N/Q train line has become a community hotspot, patronized by several Queens-based writing collectives and reading series, including Boundless Tales, the LIC Reading Series and Oh! Bernice. The store hosts a book club, a storytime for children’s books, the occasional celebrity author, and maintains an active calendar.

Elizabeth Frank: You recently (7/14/15) tweeted: “Anyone worried about the future of independent bookstores should take a look in my front windows today. Mobbed.” Can you describe what was going on that day?

Lexi Beach: That was the day that Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman came out. The store was packed from open to close. We offered some happy hour drinks and snacks to customers, to celebrate the publication, and then our regular monthly open mic storytelling show was that evening, as well, so there was quite a crowd by 6pm.

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Sawdust and Raw Meat: An Interview with Scott Alexander Hess, author of The Butcher’s Sons


Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 | 1,923 views

Photo of Scott Alexander Hess courtesy of the author

The Butcher’s Sons is the latest novel by author Scott Alexander Hess. He launched The Butcher’s Sons in May. The family saga is set in 1930 New York City and follows three Irish brothers as they attempt to find their place in Hell’s Kitchen.

Roberto Santiago: Congratulations on the release of book No. three, The Butcher’s Sons! Since we are Press brothers, I must ask: How did TBS find its way to Lethe?

Scott Alexander Hess: My first two novels were with a different press, which did not deal with literary fiction. Those first books were a bit more subversive, while The Butcher’s Sons represents my current direction as a writer toward literary historical fiction. I hunted around for a good match and saw that Lethe authors had won awards and I read some good press. So I submitted and began a wonderful relationship with publisher Steve Berman.

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An Interview with Poet Claudia Cortese, Author of Blood Medals


Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 | 2,776 views

Claudia Cortes’s poems and lyric essays have found homes at Black Warrior Review, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review Online, and Sixth Finch, among others. Cortese lives in New Jersey and is a poetry editor for Swarm. She has two chapbooks: Blood Medals (Thrush Poetry Press, 2015) and The Red Essay and Other Histories (forthcoming from Horse Less Press, 2015). Her chapbook, Blood Medals, was described by Winter Tangerine as “vicious and vibrant – [Cortese] writes girlhood as gorgeously fucked up, dolls-with-no-eyes hideous. Blood Medals follows Lucy, a shitty little princess that we can’t help but adore.” Poems from Blood Medals were also featured on Sundress Blog’s Wardrobe’s Best Dressed for June.

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An Interview with Poet Amy Pickworth, Author of Bigfoot for Women


Monday, June 15th, 2015 | 2,559 views

Amy Pickworth’s debut poetry collection Bigfoot For Women was the winner of Orange Monkey’s book prize in 2013 and was released in November 2014. The book explores the mythology of Bigfoot by applying his stories to relationships with the self, men, and family. In her author’s note, Pickworth writes that “a number of internet addresses are included in this manuscript, but the internet, like any healthy forest, is constantly changing. New things spring up as others die off. The links included here are breadcrumbs on the path.”

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An Interview with Novelist Frank Cassese, Author of Ocean Beach


Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 | 2,620 views

Frank Cassese, photo courtesy of the author

Frank Cassese’s debut novel is a harrowing account of a young man’s relationship with his adored sister. Ocean Beach (No Record Press, 2014) explores the porous boundary between love and obsession from the point of view of Peter, a disaffected son of distant Italian-American literati, whose unchecked idealism threatens to poison his reality. When does love become destructive? Cassese’s introspective book occupies itself with this question and other, more troublesome questions about guilt and existentialism. In an interview with English Kills Review, Cassese discusses the writing process that resulted in his first novel.

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An Interview with Poet Roberto F. Santiago.


Monday, May 4th, 2015 | 2,032 views

Roberto Santiago

Roberto F. Santiago, an English Kills Review contributor, is a 2014 Lamda Literary fellow and a recipient of the 2011 Alfred C. Carey Poetry Prize. His debut poetry collection, Angel Park, came out this April.

Congratulations on your debut poetry collection! I had such a great time reading it. The moment I finished, I started writing love poems and food poems (your work made me pretty hungry), and I just kept going back to your lines. I wanted to stay in the world of Angel Park for as long as possible.

Thank you so very much! That is high praise. I didn’t fully realize my words had the power to make people hungry. I thought they only worked on me. Y’know, it wouldn’t be the first on my list of desired superpowers…but I’ll take it!

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A Conversation with Penina Roth, Franklin Park Reading Series Curator


Thursday, January 8th, 2015 | 3,023 views

Penina Roth runs the Franklin Park Reading Series in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The events are scheduled on the second Monday of each month.

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A Conversation with Jenn Northington, Events Director at WORD Bookstore


Monday, September 8th, 2014 | 3,681 views

A Brief Introduction:

This interview series is an attempt to engage with the people who work — and shape — the literary community in New York City. It will focus on the players behind the scenes, or behind the shelves, or whatever metaphor you choose: bookstore owners, event coordinators, reading curators, hosts, New York-based writers and editors, small press publishers, series and festival organizers, and bar owners with literary leanings. If you’d like to be interviewed, please do contact us.

It is our hope to regularly provide an interview focusing on the literary-minded men and women whose tireless efforts often times go unnoticed. Soon, features and profiles should make their way onto the site. Again, if you’re interested in being a subject, or if you’d like to write something, shoot us an email.

The first conversation is with Jenn Northington, the Events Director at WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint and Jersey City.


WORD Boookstore in Brooklyn hosts neighborhood events

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