Check out Tamale Hut Café Writers at the 2015 Chicago Book Expo!

Next Saturday, November 21, in addition to our end-of-the-year extravaganza reading featuring the winners of the Tamale Hut Café Short Story Contest, we’ll also be involved in another Chicago-area literary event: the 2015 Chicago Book Expo at Columbia College. The table is officially under the banner of the Tamale Hut Café Writers Group (for which we have the wonderful Matt to thank for coordinating this whole thing!). Along with Matt and writing group regular Marianne Koerfer, you’ll see a couple of familiar faces from the Tamale Hut Café Reading Series–Phil Reebius and Michael Penkas–selling their books and chatting with people.

The Chicago Book Expo is an excellent opportunity to check out independent publishers and authors and learn about other literary events in Chicagoland. And, hey, if you happen to want to swing over to Tamale Hut Café and join us for our last reading of the year afterward, we wouldn’t be sad to see you there, either.

Have fun, and happy reading!


Note: Change of Time, THC Writers Group Meeting, November 14

Just a quick note for anyone planning on attending the November meeting of the Tamale Hut Cafe Writers Group: Matt has sent word that the restaurant’s space will be booked later in the day, so the meeting will be starting at 1 pm instead of the usual 2 pm. You can find more information about the November 14 meeting (and about the group in general) on the Tamale Hut Cafe Writers Group blog. Thanks, Matt!

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:

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.

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!

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 Brendan Detzner, Saturday, September 19 @ 7 PM

Author Brendan Detzner
Author Brendan Detzner

If you’ve been to a Tamale Hut Presents reading any time within the past few years, you know Brendan Detzner. And if you don’t know Brendan Detzner,  you’ve been missing out on some excellent horror stories.

Brendan has a new short story collection, Beasts, coming out at the beginning of October. This month, we’re giving him the spotlight so that he can show us what he’s been working on. If you like your stories surreal, amusing, and incredibly haunting–well, you’re probably a regular guest at our readings, to be honest. But this is definitely the month for you.

The reading will begin at 7 p.m. with Brendan’s presentation; an open mic for writers in all genres and fields will follow. As always, admission is free, with food and drink available for purchase. And for those who have never joined us, Tamale Hut Cafe is located at 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside, just east of the intersection of Cermak and 1st Avenue.

See you on the 19th!

Author’s Bio: Brendan Detzner‘s work is sometimes funny, sometimes scary, and usually very strange. His work has appeared in Chzine, Pseudopod, Bizarrocast, One Buck Horror, the Twilight Tales anthology “Book of Dead Things”, the Dark House Press anthology “Exigencies”, and a bunch of other places. He runs the Bad Grammar Theater reading series in Chicago. You can look up Bad Grammar at and keep up with Brendan’s other activities at

THC Reading Series Presents Gia Claire, Saturday, August 15 @ 7 PM

Author Gia Claire
Author Gia Claire

Put on your stilettos, and get ready to laugh – Tamale Hut Cafe Presents is back!

Now that we’re done with our July hiatus, the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series is happy to feature a stellar presenter for our August reading.

Anyone who’s been to any of Tamale Hut Cafe‘s comedy night events will recognize Gia Claire. What you may not know, however, is that Gia is also an author. This month, she’ll be reading selections from her memoir, Head First, a work that’s laced with the humor she’s become known for.

The reading starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 15, with Gia’s presentation; an open mic will follow. Admission is free, with food and drink available for purchase. And as always (because buildings don’t move), Tamale Hut Cafe is located at 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside, just east of the intersection of Cermak and 1st Avenue.

See you on the 15th!

Author’s Bio: I am an author, speaker and stand up comedienne.  I have 20 years in corporate america as a sales leader, and currently hold a position in genetics and toxicology.    After all this time I realize the thing I am most passionate about is inspiring people to harness their personal power though mastering their thoughts.  I know we all fumble, doubt, and make mistakes, but in the end it’s all part of the journey – all part of our offering back to the world.  I like to make people laugh – to connect with them on a visceral and authentic level.  I believe all the adversity I’ve been through has led me to this very moment.  I help people break chains, barriers, get UNSTUCK, and live a life of freedom to be themselves.

Save the Date(s)! THC Reading Series Events for 2015

The Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series may have taken a break for the month of July, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have great readings planned for the rest of the year. Here’s our schedule for the rest of 2015:

Check back here close to each date for more information about the featured reader (or readers!). All readings are on Saturdays and will start at 7 p.m; as always, we’ll hold an open mic for the second half of the show.

We look forward to seeing you!

THC Reading Series Presents Alexei Collier (and Haiku Night!), Saturday, June 20 @ 7 PM

Author Alexei Collier
Author Alexei Collier

This month, the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series offers up a little bit of the good and familiar with a little bit of something kinda new.

If you’ve been to our readings before, then you’ve probably heard Alexei Collier (or just Alex) read during the open mic. His fantasy and science fiction stories always have an epic feel to them, so for June, we’re quite happy to see where his stories bring us when he takes the floor as our featured reader.

And then there’s the other thing: during a previous reading, a bunch of us had a good laugh at the idea of doing a Haiku Night. Well, last month, several of our readers went for it, so this month, we’re making it official: bring your haiku, and join us for the open mic! Keep in mind, this is totally optional. Readers are welcome to read anything they’ve written that will fit within the ten-minute open mic slots. We just think that haiku is fun and so are encouraging people to share whatever they’ve got.

Another note about this reading: we’ll be taking the month of July off and returning in August, so come see us one more time before we all head off on summer vacation!

And if all of that wasn’t enough motivation to get you out to THC (this is the last note, I promise), this will be the last Tamale Hut Cafe reading with the inimitable Jenny Seay at the helm before she heads west for the next chapter in her life. Come celebrate this gal with us!

As always, the reading will start at 7 p.m. with Alex’s presentation; the open mic will follow. Tamale Hut Cafe’s food and drink will of course be available for purchase. And if you haven’t been here before, Tamale Hut Cafe is located at 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside.

See you at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 20!

Author’s Bio: Alexei Collier grew up in sunny Southern California, but now lives across the street from Chicago with his wife and their cat. His short fiction has been published by Cicada, Ideomancer, and Tales to Terrify, and he is currently seeking an agent for his completed fantasy novel, The Stepping Stones.

June THC Writers Group Meeting + New Blog Announcement!

Good news! Matt, the coordinator of the Tamale Hut Café Writers Group, has started a blog where he’ll be sharing announcements of upcoming meetings and recaps of meetings recently held. You can behold it for yourself in all its glory at

But just in case you came here looking for information…

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, June 13, at the Tamale Hut Café, starting at 2PM.  If you can attend, we’d love to see you there.

Join the group for conversation, camaraderie, and a little constructive criticism of your work. All are welcome, no matter what genre you write in. Please e-mail for more information or to get on the distribution list. Or you can just drop by 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside on Saturday the 13th at 2PM.

Hope to see you there!

Check Out the Tamale Hut Cafe 2015 Short Story Contest!

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, for the second year in a row, Tamale Hut Cafe is holding its Short Story Contest!

Do you have a story that’s 3000 words or less and that you think is worth a nice chunk of prize money? (Or, have you been looking for some kind of external motivation to sit down and finally get that story idea banging around in your head down on paper?) Then check out the Tamale Hut Cafe 2015 Short Story Contest. It doesn’t matter what genre you work in, but it does matter 1) that you submit the story through the contest’s Submittable page by July 10, 2015, and 2) if you’re chosen as one of the top prize winners, that you can come hang out at Tamale Hut Cafe and read your story on Saturday, November 21, 2015. So take a look!

A disclaimer: we here at the Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series have nothing to do with running the contest, so check out the two pages linked above if you have questions or comments for the contest organizers. However, we will be welcoming the first, second, and third place winners as our featured readers in November 2015, so we hope to see you then.

Good luck!