THC Reading Series Presents John McNally, Saturday, October 17 @ 7 PM

McNally book coverWhen a book has a title like Lord of the Ralphs, how can you resist?

This month, we’re delighted to welcome author John McNally back to Tamale Hut Cafe Presents. McNally, a former resident of Burbank, Illinois, made his daring escape from the Great Midwest years ago. Currently, he resides in Louisiana and teaches as the Writer in Residence at the University of Louisiana – Lafayette. We’re not quite sure if it’s the Italian beef or the Chicago-style hot dogs that have pulled him back here (or, you know, his friends and professional contacts); either way, we’re quite happy that Tamale Hut Cafe will be one of his stops on his fall book tour as he promotes his new young adult novel, Lord of the Ralphs.

The reading will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, with McNally’s presentation; an open mic will follow. As always, the event is free, with food and drink available for purchase. And for those who have never joined us (It’s a great month! Bring a ghost story!), Tamale Hut Cafe is located at 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside.

See you on October 17!

Author John McNally
Author John McNally

Author’s Bio: John McNally is the author of three novels (The Book of Ralph, America’s Report Card, and After the Workshop), two story collections (Troublemakers and Ghosts of Chicago), and two books on writing (The Creative Writer’s Survival Guide and Vivid and Continuous). His fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in over a hundred magazines, anthologies, textbooks, and newspapers, including Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. His new book, Lord of the Ralphs, is his first Young Adult novel. A native of Burbank, Illinois, he is Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, where he now lives.


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:

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: 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!

THC Reading Series Presents Midwestern Gothic Contributors, Saturday, July 27 @ 7 pm

Wow, the THC Reading Series has a lot of literary goodness to offer you in the coming weeks! Not only is our next reading coming up on Saturday, July 27, but we’ll be having our monthly reading for August the weekend immediately after that, on Saturday, August 3. Phew!

And, and, not only that, but for our July 27th reading, we’ll have not one, not two, but three featured readers! On July 27, the THC Reading Series will be showcasing the work of three contributors to Midwestern Gothic, a literary journal that also houses a newly launched small-press division. To give you a taste of what Midwestern Gothic offers, we’ll have authors Alex Luft, Jess Charest, and Richard Thomas reading their work. Please see their bios below to learn more about the entertainment in store for the evening.

More information on the August 3 reading will be posted within the next week or so. Until then, please plan on joining us and these three wonderful authors on July 27 at Tamale Hut Cafe, 8300 W. Cermak Road, North Riverside. The reading will begin at 7 pm, and an open mic will follow the featured readers’ presentation. As with all of our monthly events, it’s a BYOB night, and food and drink will be available for purchase as well. Hope to see you there!

Alex Luft

Author’s Bio: Alex Luft’s fiction has appeared in The Adirondack Review, Midwestern Gothic, The Barely South Review and elsewhere.  He holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Missouri and is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His journalistic work has taken him to rural county jails, into burning buildings and in search of sex toys at Wal-Mart.

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Jess Charest

Author’s Bio: Jess Charest was born and raised in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York. She received her MFA from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. She currently lives in a basement apartment in Chicago, scoops ice cream for a living and sings in a community choir. Her work has been published in the anthologies Flash Fiction Funny and Stripped: A Collection of Anonymous Flash Fiction.

Richard Thomas

Author’s Bio: Richard Thomas is the author of three books—Transubstantiate, Herniated Roots and Staring Into the Abyss. His over 75 publications include Shivers VI (Cemetery Dance) with Stephen King and Peter Straub, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, and Pear Noir. He is also the editor of two anthologies, both out in 2014: The Lineup (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. In his spare time he writes for The Nervous Breakdown, LitReactor, and is Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. For more information visit or contact Paula Munier at Talcott Notch.

THC Reading Series Presents Sara Ross Witt, Saturday, March 23 @ 7 pm


Ah, when reading series collide. This month, the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series is thrilled to present as its featured reader Sara Ross Witt. Witt, longtime co-host of Chicago’s Tuesday Funk reading series, is a blogger, technical writer, author of short stories, and generally talented individual who will be sharing a variety of work with our audience. The fun starts at 7 pm on March 23 at 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside. As always, an open mic will follow the featured reader’s presentation, and all are welcome to participate. And of course, THC’s fine tamales and other menu items will be available for purchase. There will be food! There will be drink! There will even more drink if you bring your own–reading nights are BYOB! Come join us!

Author’s bio:

Sara Ross Witt is the former co-producer and co-host of Tuesday Funk reading series ( and a graduate of The New School MFA in Creative Writing program. She was raised in Ohio as a psychic by her biological mother, a detail she writes about in some of her short stories. Since leaving Ohio, she has lived in New York City, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis and has pursued a very non-psychic career as a technical writer for the United States Government, which included writing for the Office of the President.

During her pregnancy, she authored Pregphobic and Pregnant (, a blog mostly about pregnancy and the occasional reference to the movie Alien. A post from her blog will soon be published in Parent to Parent Newsletter.

Sara lives with her husband, their 16-month old son, and two cats in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

THC Reading Series Presents Chris DeGuire, Saturday, February 23 @ 7 pm

2blackwhiteChris DeGuire photo credit Susan Lanier
Author Chris DeGuire. Photo credit: Susan Lanier.

And now, for Valentine’s Day, some news we hope you’ll really love! (Hey, if you can’t be cheesy today of all days…) This month’s THC Reading Series event will take place on Saturday, February 23, with Chris DeGuire as our featured reader. Chris will be entertaining us with tales of a life lived with Star Wars and other selections from his body of work. As always, the reading starts at 7 p.m. at 8300 W. Cermak in North Riverside, with food and drink available for purchase and an open mic to follow the featured reader’s presentation. See you there!

Author’s bio: Chris DeGuire has a BA, MFA, and MA in Creative Writing and the Teaching of Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago, where he’s been a student, tutor, and teacher since 1993. He’s been published in Hair Trigger and F-Magazine, and his book, I Have a Bad Feeling About This, a memoir, will (hopefully) be out in the Spring of 2013. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Kenosha Writers Guild in Kenosha, Wisconsin and he hosts a monthly radio, “Speaking of Our Words” on 91.1 FM HD 3.Since 2010 he has served as Faculty Assistant Artistic Director for Story Week Festival of Writers. His hobbies include Star Wars and Iron Maiden. He splits his time between Kenosha, Wisconsin and Forest Park, Illinois.

The Halloween Edition, October 15th @ 7pm

Come one, come all to our special Halloween Edition of Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series. On Saturday the 15th at 7pm we chop up the bill and present two phantabulous readers ready to fulfill your ghoulish desires (also there will be Tamales to stuff your zombified belly with).

Kara Taylor

Kara Taylor was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English with the concentration of creative writing. She continued on with her education and is now a second year graduate student pursuing a MFA in creative writing with the concentration of fiction from Chicago State University.  Her inspirations are Alice Sebold and Stephen King. She aspires to one day become a creative writing professor and create the passion she has for writing within her future students.

Chris Hyatt

Chris Hyatt is the writer and director of two feature length films, “Eye of Cruelty” (2004), winner of the best director award at the 2004 International Festival of Horror, and the upcoming “Bloody Baby” (2012), and his fiction has appeared in the ‘zines “Indelible Ink” and “Last Gasp”.  His writings about films and videos can be found on the websites “Monsters At Play” and “Discland”, as well as in the Columbia College anthology “Hair Trigger 12”.  He lives in Chicago.

See you there fiends!

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.

Frank Rogaczewski Reads This Saturday @ 7pm

Image from a Borders closing. Truly The Fate of Humanity in Verse

Given the title of Frank Rogaczewski’s book The Fate of Humanity in Verse we couldn’t help but post this photo from a recent Borders closing posted on But while Borders fades into the distance, Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series is booming, so it can’t all bad. Right? Right?

So naysayers, soothsayers, sayersayers and nosayers alike, come on down and celebrate the Literary Apocalypse with us this Saturday, April 16th @ 7pm, when Frank will read his poetry; some new, some old, some prophetic, but all good. Oh, and, you can buy his latest book for $10. Open mic as always and don’t forget the tinga and tamales!

I’m telling you, if Borders had tamales and tinga, like we do, they wouldn’t be in this mess. Because once you pair tamales and good reading, there’s no going back; you’re hooked for life.