Greektown Reading by Cass Vogel

Looking for something to do with your Thursday nights? Craving authentic Greek food? Wishing you were more hip to local writers and musicians? The Baltimore Greektown Reading Series is the place for you! One Thursday of every month, Baltimoreans gather at the Acropolis restaurant in Greektown, Baltimore for free food, music, and, of course, writing. On February 23rd, the reading series featured writers Jen Grow, John Barry, Laura Shovan, Francis Lazzarro and musician Tony Pearce. Below is a brief interview with three of the featured writers from the most recent reading night: Jen Grow, John Barry and Laura Shovan.

Q: What writers influence you?

JB: Well, Rafael Alvarez, because without him I wouldn’t be here; also, Anton Chekhov and James Joyce.

LS: Edgar Allen Poe, Geraldine R. Dodge, and Gertrude Stein; I definitely tried to emulate her early on.

Q: Where do you get the inspiration to write fiction?

JG: Empathizing in certain situations and expanding on different emotions.

LS: I get ideas when I really pay attention. I hold on to details and emotions.

Q: Who is your favorite author from childhood?

JG:  I was swayed by Dr. Seuss. I actually cried when I read the Lorax!

LS: I was swept away by Robert Louis Stevenson; his writing was so visual. That’s when I was “bitten by the bug.”

Q: How do you know when a piece is finished?

JG: You have to write, walk away and think about it, come back and make some changes; a piece is never finished the first time you think it’s finished.

Q: What advice do you have for young writers?

JB: Stay young.

JG: Keep reading, and keep writing despite everyone who will tell you to get a real job.

LS: Be patient, figure out your unique voice and style and develop it.


The next Greektown Reading is on March 29th at the Acropolis in Greektown, Baltimore. For more information, visit the Facebook page, “Greektown 2012 Reading Series.”  The reading series was created by local writer Rafael Alvarez whose credits include writing for The Baltimore Sun, as well as screenwriting for The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street. His recently published collection of short stories “Hometown Boy” is about life in Baltimore.