Writers in the Gardens

Saturday, August 4, 2018 @ 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Free RSVP 2018-08-04 5 p.m. 2018-08-04 6:30 p.m. America/New_York Writers in the Gardens 1406 Monterey St, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Alphabet City

This unique literary event takes groups of audience members on a short walking tour of COA’s House Publication gardens.

Audiences will first meet at COA’s Alphabet Reading Garden (1406 Monterey Street), and then break out into groups following one of the featured writers to a different nearby garden. In each garden, the featured poet will then treat audience groups to short readings. The audience groups will then have the chance to visit poets at the other gardens. Groups will then reconvene at COA’s main venue Alphabet City for a final reading.

This event first started in 2007, and has been through many reiterations, been curated by various friends of COA, and featured many local and regional writers throughout the years. This year’s event will be curated by Pat Hart and Marc Nieson (FARS). City of Asylum has commissioned the featured writers to create site-specific pieces especially about their assigned gardens, these works will then be published in a special chapbook that attendees will receive for free.

Please join us is celebrating creativity and community at this year’s ‘Writers in the Garden’ event.


Featured writers and “their” gardens:
Sharon Dilworth — Pittsburgh-Burma House Garden
Celeste Gainey — Winged House Garden
Michael Simms — Alphabet Reading Garden
Sandra Gould Ford — House Poem Garden

Michael Simms has been active in politics and poetry for over 40 years as a writer, teacher, editor, and community activist. He is the founder of Autumn House Press, a nonprofit publisher of books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He’s the founder and editor of Vox Populi, a gazette of the left featuring poetry, essays, and videos. He’s also the author of four collections of poetry and a college textbook about poetry — and the lead editor of over 100 published books which have won numerous prizes and awards. Simms has an MFA from the University of Iowa and a Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University. He lives with his wife, Eva, and their two children in the historic Mount Washington neighborhood overlooking the city of Pittsburgh.

Sharon Dilworth is the author of two collections of short stories – THE LONG WHITE and WOMEN DRINKING BENEDICTINE, and two novels YEAR OF THE GINKGO and MY RIVIERA. Her newest book is TWO SIDES, THREE RIVERS, is a collection of stories that take place in Pittsburgh. Sharon has won a National Endowment for Fiction grant, a Pushcart Prize in Fiction and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant. She is the director of the creative writing program at Carnegie Mellon University and lives and writes in Pittsburgh – where else?

Celeste Gainey is the author of the poetry collection, the GAFFER, (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press), cited by O, The Oprah Magazine as one of “8 New Books of Poetry to Savor” in 2015. Her chapbook, In the land of speculation & seismography (Seven Kitchens Press), was runner-up for the 2010 Robin Becker Prize. She has been a Hedgebrook Writer in Residence as well as a presenting poet at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. Graduating with a BFA in Film & Television from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, as well as earning an MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Carlow University, Gainey was the first woman to be admitted to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) as a gaffer, and has spent many years working with light in film and architecture.

Sandra Gould Ford is an accomplished author, artist and educator. She presents literary and visual arts to encourage, refresh, enrich creative thinking and inspire. Sandra has taught nationwide and established the creative writing program at the Allegheny County Jail. Her photography, contemplative art and quilts are exhibited nationally. Sandra Gould Ford now celebrates human potential through her art while sharing what she’s learned.




Pat Hart, co-curator
Marc Nieson, co-curator

Pat Hart writes plays, monologues, short stories, and novels. Playwriting credits include “Book Wench” a one-act play, performed at the Strawberry One-Act Festival, 2015, New York, New York and Murderous, a 10-minute monologue, performed at Practice Monologamy, Carlow University (2015). Published short stories include “The Reader” Every Day Fiction (2018), “The Vigil,” The Writing Disorder (2015), “New Wife vs. Old Wife, a love story,” (2015) and “Dragon Boogers” novel excerpt (2016) in Voices in the Attic, and “Spider Ball,” Rune (2015). Pat is the founder of Free Association. 

Marc Nieson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU Film School. His background includes children’s theatre, cattle chores, and a season with a one-ring circus. His memoir, SCHOOLHOUSE: Lessons on Love & Landscape, came out from Ice Cube Press in 2016. He’s won a Raymond Carver Short Story Award, Pushcart Prize nominations, and been noted in Best American Essays. He teaches at Chatham University, edits The Fourth River, and is at work on a new novel, HOUDINI’S HEIRS.



Founded in May of 2016, Free Association Reading Series is for established and emerging Pittsburgh writers of prose, poetry, and non-fiction. Not affiliated with any formal writing programs, FARS is ‘non denominational’ and draws writers from universities, workshops, and those toiling away alone in their garrets.

Since its inception FARS has hosted eight summer reading events featuring over forty writers in its rustic Wilkinsburg home. Located at Rebecca & Center in the former Frank & John Valet, Inc., the space is pleasant—open and airy—but without heat, it is only useable in the summer months.

City of Asylum is the winter home of FARS.  

Event Details

August 4, 2018 @ 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
1406 Monterey St, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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