The Free Association Reading Series returns for this year’s fifth installment of intimate readings. This month’s program features exceptional local writers Clint Benjamin, Jason Irwin, Bergita Bugarija, & Jen Ashburn. This series is co-curated by Pat Hart and Marc Nieson.
About the Authors:
Clint Benjamin is a writer-of-sorts, a creative technologist, a sometimes educator, and co-creator of Ellison. A self-described “good egg” he enjoys fiction and non-fiction of most stripes. As a subscriber to the punk ethos, he espouses thinking for oneself and still misses Joe Strummer.
Jason Irwin is the author of three full-length poetry collections, most recently The History of Our Vagrancies (Main Street Rag, 2020). His collection Watering the Dead (Pavement Saw Press, 2008) won the 2006-2007 Transcontinental Poetry Prize for a first book of poetry. He is also the author of two chapbooks. In 2022 he was a Zoeglossia Fellow and part of the Poetry Foundation’s Disability Poetics Project. His nonfiction has been published in Santa Ana Review, Panorama, The Catholic Worker, and City of Asylum’s Pittsburgh Live/Ability: Encounters in Poetry and Prose Project. Currently he’s working on a memoir These Fragments I Have Shored, as well as a poetry manuscript. He grew up in Dunkirk, NY, and now lives in Pittsburgh.
Bergita Bugarija was born and grew up in Zagreb, Croatia and now lives in Pittsburgh. Her fiction appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Pleiades, and Cimarron Review, among others, and has been anthologized in Flash Fiction America 2023. She completed a collection of stories, The Inbetweeners, inspired by her immigrant experience, and is currently at work on a novel about a long distance couple meeting every few months in different cities of the world.
Jen Ashburn is a poet and nonfiction writer. She’s the author of The Light on the Wall (Main Street Rag, 2016) and has work published in numerous venues, including The Fiddlehead, The Writer’s Almanac, and Pedestal Magazine. She is the recipient of the 2023 Lori White Non-Fiction Fellowship and has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes. Her current projects include a poetry manuscript, Under the Billowing White Shirt of Living, which explores grief in midlife, and a memoir, Borax, Cornmeal and Cherry Blossoms, about growing up with a mentally ill mother. She holds an MFA from Chatham University and lives in Edgewood.
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