Alphabet City Garden. Courtesy City of Asylum Pittsburgh.

Alphabet Reading Garden
August 27
5 – 7 p.m.

Get a first look at City of Asylum Pittsburgh‘s newly opened Alphabet Reading Garden, spend a tranquil evening amidst nature and explore the works of local writers.

Courtesy City of Asylum Pittsburgh.

Previously staged as a nomadic-style tour of green spaces located throughout the Northside, this year’s Writers in the Garden program will set up shop at the event’s permanent new home  at 1406 Monterey Street.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Writers in the Garden, the latest edition features three local literary figures who call Pittsburgh home. In addition to reading original works and sharing diverse voices and perspectives, each writer has been commissioned by City of Asylum to compose a special text in response to their experiences in the new community garden.

Featured will be widely published writer Micki Myers. Author of two books of poetry and a breast cancer memoir, Myers has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes. Originally from England, Myers has lived in Pittsburgh for 27 years, where she teaches English and “writes about disasters, Antarctica, and blogs about the world’s worst cookbooks at Yuckylicious.”

Also on the roster is Detroit native Scott Silsbe, whose work has appeared in Third Coast, Nerve Cowboy, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Author of two small press books—Unattended Fire (2012) and The River Underneath the City (2013)—Silsbe is currently working on a new collection of poems.

Courtesy City of Asylum Pittsburgh.

Rounding out the roster of readers will be New Kensington native Meghan Tutolo, whose first chapbook, Little As Living, was published in 2014 via Dancing Girl Press. A copywriter for an Italian foods company and an adjunct instructor at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, Tutolo’s poetry has been published in Rattle, Arsenic Lobster and The Oklahoma Review.

This year’s event is curated by award-winning author and poet Lori Jakiela, whose memoirs include Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Miss New York Has Everything, and The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious. A former flight attendant and a Golden Quill Award-winning journalist, Jakiela teaches writing at Chatham University, and is a co-director of Chautauqua Institution’s Summer Writing Festival. Winner of the first-ever Pittsburgh Literary Death Match, Jakiela’s work has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.

The new Alphabet Reading Garden features landscape architecture by Joël LeGall, a wall composed of ceramic letters and alphabets from around the world created by artist and COA co-founder Diane Samuels, as well as work by Laura Jean McLaughlin. Paved with custom-made bricks that are inscribed with hand-written alphabet letters in numerous character systems that were contributed by neighbors and visitors, the community garden also features free wifi and event space.

This event is free and open to all ages, but is limited to 70 people. RSVP now.

Looking for more events? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in AugustEverything you need to know about Pittsburgh concerts in August and Top 10 things for families to do in August in Pittsburgh feature stories.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...