Reading Series Census: Live Literature at Montclair State

By on Thursday, October 20th, 2016 at 9:03 am

Live Literature at Montclair State

The New York City Reading Series Census is an ongoing project to catalogue the contemporary literary scene. Any reading series curator in the New York area can take the survey here.

What is the name of the series, and what is the significance or meaning of the series name
The official name is Live Literature at Montclair State University, but most people just call it Live Lit. The significance of the name is that college students who have been used to only thinking of literature as text, as something on the page, have an opportunity to think of it as multidimensional and interact with writers directly.

Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
The series was founded in 2007 by Dr. Emily Isaacs, who was the Director of First Year Writing at Montclair State from 2002-2012. (Dr. Isaacs is currently the Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.) Since its founding, the series has been run by a committee of First Year Writing faculty that may change from year to year. Currently the Live Lit committee consists of Elizabeth Martin, Carrie Lee O’Dell, Henry Margenau, Claudia Cortese, and Melissa Adamo.

What genres or mediums does the series include?
Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry, Memoir, Drama

What is the format of the series?
Usually two writers read their work for 15-20 minutes each. This is followed by a Q&A session.

Where does the series take place?
Various locations on the Montclair State University campus.

When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
Live Lit hosts readings during the Fall and Spring semesters, with considerably more events in the Spring semester. Readings are usually grouped so that they happen over the course of a specific week or fortnight during the semester.

How long has the series been active?
About nine years.

Where can people find information about series on the web?
Web link

On Facebook we’re Live Literature at Montclair State; folks can also follow us on Twitter @LiveLitMSU.

Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
Currently, we seek volunteer readers. We do not take submissions, but we welcome inquiries for interested readers.

Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
The early goal of the series– to expose First Year writing students to working writers and encourage direct engagement with literary work– has remained the same, though the series has grown considerably over the years.

What distinguishes the series from others?
The central focus of this series is on the students. This series first and foremost a part of our curriculum in First Year Writing at Montclair State.


The next Live Literature is set for Monday, October 24, 2016 at 4 p.m., and will feature Kemjoy Ukwu and Jontemi Gadson.

English Kills Review is an online magazine covering books, authors, and writing with an emphasis on New York City. Founded in 2012, English Kills Review engages the literary community while highlighting noteworthy books and authors