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The Rose O'Neill

Literary House

Summer Literary Salon #2

Date: 4:30pm EDT June 27, 2017

Our second Literary Salon of Summer 2017 will feature readings from fiction-writer Jen Michalski and poet Laura Swearingen-Steadwell (our 2017 Cave Canem Summer Resident), as well as music from Harp & Soul! Join us for an afternoon of poetry & prose, local music, tasty food and drink, and good conversation about the literary life.

Jen Michalski is the author of the novels The Summer She Was Under Water (2016, QFP) and The Tide King (Black Lawrence Press 2013), a couplet of novellas, Could You Be With Her Now (Dzanc 2013), and two collections of fiction (From Here, 2014; and Close Encounters, 2007). Her work has appeared in more than 80 publications, including Poets & Writers. In 2013, she was named as “One of 50 Women to Watch” in 2013 by The Baltimore Sun and “Best Writer” by Baltimore Magazine. She is the host of the reading series Starts Here! and editor of the journal jmww.

Laura Swearingen-Steadwell is a poet and editor living in Brooklyn. She won the 2016 Cave Canem Northwestern University Poetry Prize, and her second book, All Blue So Late, will be published by Northwestern University Press in November. She is a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow, and a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Laura Swearingen-Steadwell is the 2017 Cave Canem Summer Resident at the Rose O’Neill Literary House.


Harp & Soul performs traditional music from the British Isles—as well as some original tunes—in a blend of unusual and improvisatory arrangements. The ensemble includes Meredith Hadaway on Celtic harp and concertina, Ben Bennington on guitar and vocals, Rebekah Hock on oboe and saxophone, joined by percussionist Bob Ortiz. Described as “lovely and lively!” by former Mainstay Director Tom McHugh, the group’s annual holiday concert has been a sell-out favorite there for the past six years.

Meredith Davies Hadaway is a prize-winning poet, teacher, and former chief marketing officer for Washington College. Hadaway also works as a therapeutic music, playing her harp at the bedside for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and in hospice care.

Ben Bennington, who was born in the north of England, is an engineer by profession who began playing guitar at 16 and has played with swing bands, blues bands, rock and roll bands, and various folk groups for decades.

Rebekah Hardy Hock has played oboe and other woodwind instruments since childhood, thanks to the guidance and encouragement of her musician parents. She has performed with a variety of bands and orchestras in the area, including the Washington College Jazz Band.

Bob Ortiz is a founding member of this year’s Kenny Award-Winning ensemble, The Pam Ortiz Band. An artist and community activist, he creates contemporary furniture and promotes the arts through his business, Robert Ortiz Studios.

The Summer Literary Salon series is supported in part by the Douglass Wallop Fund.