THC Reading Series Presents the Winners of the 2015 THC Short Story Contest, Saturday, November 21 @ 7 PM

What a way to close out the year!

Earlier in 2015, Tamale Hut Cafe launched the second annual edition of the THC Short Story Contest. (Okay, technically it was called the Tamale Hut Cafe Writing Competition in 2014, but you know how ideas change and grow over time!) The goal: entrants had to submit their best short story in 3000 words or less in any genre. The top prize: a none-too-shabby $500 (with prizes for second and third place as well, along with two honorable mention prizes).

According to the contest organizers, there were about forty entries this year. This month, the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series is proud to host the winners of the Short Story Contest reading their award-winning entries! Who took the top prizes? You’ll have to show up to find out, but we’re excited for an excellent night of entertainment.

Just as in 2014, the entries were read and the winners selected by three notable judges:

Photo of Robert RodiRobert Rodi is the author of nine novels (most recently Baby), two memoirs (most recently Seven Seasons In Siena), and one volume of literary criticism (Bitch In A Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austin From the Snobs, The Stiffs, The Simps, And The Saps). He has just self-published his first Young Adult novel, Parallel U., under the name Dakota Rusk. He is also an accomplished spoken-word performer and musician. He lives in Chicago with an alarming number of dogs and, somewhere among all that fur, a husband. He is old enough that if you ask where he was when Kennedy was assassinated, he will tell you. So. Don’t ask. You should, however, check out his site: www.robertrodi.com

Photo of Regina BuccolaRegina Buccola is an Associate Professor of English and a Core Faculty Member of Women’s and Gender Studies at Roosevelt University. She has a PhD in English Literature (with a concentration in Women’s Studies) from University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as a MA in English Literature from the University of Kentucky, and a BA in English and Journalism. She teaches more classes than there are fingers on both hands, and has been an enthusiastic supporter of this writing competition, providing indispensable guidance and advice. Feel free to check out her full profile on the Roosevelt site: sites.roosevelt.edu/rbuccola You can also follow her on Twitter: @thelittleprof

Photo of Tina JensTina Jens teaches the Fantasy Writing courses at Columbia College-Chicago .Her short stories have appeared in numerous mass market and small press publications. the former editor and producer for Twilight Tales, she is a three-time Bram Stoker Award nominee; an International Horror Guild Award nominee; and winner of the National Federation of Press Women’s Award for Best Novel.

The evening will begin promptly at 7 p.m., and there will be an open mic after the winners’ readings, with ten-minute open mic slots available for any and all readers interested. As always, the event is free, with Tamale Hut Cafe’s food and drink available for purchase. And in case you’ve never joined us before, Tamale Hut Cafe is located at 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside.

This will be our last reading event for 2015 before we reconvene in January 2016 (when we’ll celebrate Tamale Hut Cafe’s tenth anniversary), so we hope you’ll join us. See you on November 21!

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Check Out the Author’s Marketplace at the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books!

A few days ago, we got an e-mail from one of last year’s featured Tamale Hut readers, Christian Larsen, about the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, which is being held on November 7-8 at the University of Wisconsin – Waukesha campus (1500 N University Drive, Waukesha, Wisconsin 53188). Chris’s e-mail specifically alerted us to the Author’s Marketplace, which is an opportunity for authors to sell their books to the public. We imagine someone reading this might be interested!

From the e-mail:

Are you an emerging author?

Take part in the Author’s Marketplace

At Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books 2014

The AUTHOR’S MARKETPLACE enables authors to promote their books without the expense and time commitment of an exhibit booth. The AUTHOR’S MARKETPLACE will be listed in the program and promoted along with other features of the Festival.

*Reach over 1700 community members throughout Southeast Wisconsin*

 Reserve a booth for 2 hours for $20

The registration deadline is October 1, 2014, and the person to contact is Kathleen Folbrecht, whose e-mail is kathleen.folbrecht [at] uwc [dot] edu (don’t forget the period between the first and last names–this font makes it hard to see). Shoot her an e-mail to learn more and to get started with the registration process!

Thanks for the heads-up, Christian!

THC Reading Series Presents the Winners of the THC Writing Competition, Saturday, June 14 @ 7 PM

Something a little different this month for the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series: not one, not two, but three featured readers, and a night of prizes and surprises.

Earlier this year, Chris Krazmus, a familiar face around Tamale Hut Cafe, launched the first ever Tamale Hut Cafe Writing Competition. Saturday, June 14, will be the date that the winners are announced, and they’ll be announced as part of this month’s THC Reading Series event, with the first, second, and third-place contestants getting called up to the mic to share their prize-winning stories.

The entries were judged by three esteemed Chicago-area writing professionals and friends of the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series:

Photo of Robert RodiRobert Rodi is the author of nine novels (most recently Baby), two memoirs (most recently Seven Seasons In Siena), and one volume of literary criticism (Bitch In A Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austin From the Snobs, The Stiffs, The Simps, And The Saps). He has just self-published his first Young Adult novel, Parallel U., under the name Dakota Rusk. He is also an accomplished spoken-word performer and musician. He lives in Chicago with an alarming number of dogs and, somewhere among all that fur, a husband. He is old enough that if you ask where he was when Kennedy was assassinated, he will tell you. So. Don’t ask. You should, however, check out his site: www.robertrodi.com

Photo of Regina BuccolaRegina Buccola is an Associate Professor of English and a Core Faculty Member of Women’s and Gender Studies at Roosevelt University. She has a PhD in English Literature (with a concentration in Women’s Studies) from University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as a MA in English Literature from the University of Kentucky, and a BA in English and Journalism. She teaches more classes than there are fingers on both hands, and has been an enthusiastic supporter of this writing competition, providing indispensable guidance and advice. Feel free to check out her full profile on the Roosevelt site: sites.roosevelt.edu/rbuccola You can also follow her on Twitter: @thelittleprof

Photo of Tina JensTina Jens teaches the Fantasy Writing courses at Columbia College-Chicago .Her short stories have appeared in numerous mass market and small press publications. the former editor and producer for Twilight Tales, she is a three-time Bram Stoker Award nominee; an International Horror Guild Award nominee; and winner of the National Federation of Press Women’s Award for Best Novel.

Come for the prize winners; stay for the open mic afterward! The reading begins at 7 p.m., and food and drink will be available for purchase. And as always, Tamale Hut Cafe is located at 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside.

See you on June 14th!

Beyond the THC Presents Reading Series: Authors Visit from Across the Atlantic

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Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Tamale Hut Cafe hosted impromptu gatherings and readings featuring Christoph Simon and Donal McLaughlin, two European authors (and friends of dedicated open mic contributor Christopher Krazmus). Simon, a native of Switzerland whose fourth novel, Zbinden’s Progress, has been translated into English, shared several works in progress along with his poem “Dear Satan.” McLaughlin, an acclaimed short story writer and translator currently residing in Scotland, read from his story “A Trip to Carfin,” which was published in the Summer 2012 issue of The Hudson Review. Their visit and readings on November 23 and 24 constituted the eleventh stop on their North American tour–right here, at the Tamale Hut Cafe in North Riverside!

Pictured, from left to right: Chris Krazmus, photographer Jana, Matt Bieniek, Stephanie Bieniek, Donal McLaughlin, Jaime Flores, and Christoph Simon.

End of the Fifth Year (Round): Another Well Executed Atomic Pile Driver of Reading Mania Success

Jenny Seay, Our Illustrious Leader and World Champion of WrestleMania 27!!!

Happy New Year, Tamale Hut friends!

It’s really mind-blowing to know that I’ve been hosting literary events here at Tamale Hut for five years already. The first time I walked in this place, the only thing on my mind was getting food. I had absolutely no idea that I was about to receive Jaime’s patented warm welcome – that I had stumbled into an environment that would soon begin to feel like a second home. I had no idea, but then I accepted Jaime’s friendly invitation to join his art reception and got to know him and his wife Lizet. I realized that I had discovered a special place and special people.

That’s when my vision hit. I saw an arts gathering of my own making, nothing too concrete – just a group of my writer friends filling these tables, eating tamales and telling stories, being nourished by both.

The fact that I’ve been able to take that vision and run with it thanks to Jaime’s support and encouragement, and now with Bernie’s help, is something that I am tremendously proud of.

Not only have I been able to honor my writer friends and writers I admire by giving them a vehicle for showcasing their work, but I’ve also had the great fortune of meeting writers and musicians and performers I might have never known. I’ve made meaningful connections. I’ve told my own stories. I’ve built a community where words matter. And not just matter, but take front and center stage.

I never imagined when I hosted our first reading in January 2007 that I had started something that would sustain itself as long as it has. I never anticipated that I would get as much back, if not more so, than I put in. I never dreamed that I would come to feel so valued, both as a writer and as an arts organizer.

But all of those things have happened. And THC Presents has now become something I look forward to, something I depend on. No matter what else is going on I know that I can walk in here and feel like I have a place, a purpose. Words cannot express how grateful I am for that and for all of you. But I’ll say thank you, all the same. Thank you and here’s to another five years of awesomeness.

Hope your holidays were bright and I wish you all a happy, healthful and productive New Year!

Jenny Seay

Artistic Director of Tamale Hut Cafe Presents Reading Series

MFA/MA Open Reading Invitation May 21st @ 7pm

Image from Onlinecollege.orgs "15 Most Famous Cafes in the Literary World" (soon to be 16 with The Tamale Hut Cafe).

It’s the end of the the school year and to celebrate we are holding our first ever open invitational specifically for MFA/MA students, graduates and creative writing professors (adjuncts included) on May 21st.

Bring your university ID (current or former, faculty or student) and you will be able to purchase 2 tamales and get one 1 free! As always, BYOB.

For many in the know, Tamale Hut Cafe is the literary cafe of the Near Western Suburbs as well as the nexus for all art happenings.

Email us at thcreadingseries (at) yahoo DOT com and tell us if you are interested in attending.

¡Feliz Cumpleaños/Aniversario Tamale Hut Café!

While we normally focus on the Reading Series we wanted to broadcast a special announcement. Tamale Hut Café celebrates its five year anniversary this Saturday January 22nd. So come on out, help celebrate, have some birthday cake and see Frank Rico’s art opening. (You can check out his Flickr stream at the bottom right-hand side of the page.) Here’s a excerpt from Jaime and Lizet Flores’s announcement :

“It has been an amazing five years … We have introduced a variety of Tamales and unique sides like Tinga and Albondiga soup. But THC did not just stop there, we have capitalized on our unique space and relationships and introduced a monthly reading series called “Tamale Hut Cafe’ Presents” and have featured over 45 readers and countless open mic readers. I would like to thank Jenny Seay for developing and coordinating the readings. Also, to Bernie Cox for developing our new reading blog.

We have showcased 22 artists on our gallery wall [, including Frank Rico this Saturday, giving] them an opportunity to show and sell their art. We have also had a few musical performances. Tamale Hut Cafe is so much more that a “Tamale Joint” — it’s a cultural destination.

Finally, thank those of you who are customers in Tamale Hut Cafe’. THC could not have done this without your continued support.

Look forward to the next five years. Jaime / Lizet”

Hope to see you there!