DISSIDENCE: Exiled Writers on Resistance & Risk

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Russian poet Dmitry Bykov nearly died in a poisoning, then found himself banned from teaching and pursuing his work as a public figure. Essayist Pwaangulongii Dauod received death threats for writing about queer culture in his native Nigeria. Cartoonist Pedro X. Molina watched as Nicaraguan state forces jailed his colleagues and occupied the offices of the newspaper where he published his work. Novelist Anouar Rahmani was threatened with imprisonment for writing about human rights in Algeria. 
All four were forced to flee their homelands and live in the US Cities of Asylum network (Pittsburgh, Ithaca, and Detroit). Now all four share the stage for the first time, sharing their experiences, their writings, and their commitments to creative freedom of expression. 

I Am (Romance): Ukrainian theater in translation

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

In Ukrainian author Mykola Khvylovy's 1924 novel "I am (Romance)," the head of the local Cheka sentences his mother to death in the name of the ideals of the revolution. In 2022, Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine in the name of protecting the “Motherland.” As a result of his ideals, millions of Ukrainians are now displaced. 

5 Ukrainian theater artists, now known as the Slovo Theater Group,  have spent a 5-week residency  in Pittsburgh with playwright Audrey Rose Dégez interpreting Khyvlovy’s work into performance. 

Andrew Conte: Death of the Daily News

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

What happens when a town loses its local newspaper?
In Death of the Daily News, author Andrew Conte examines the closure of McKeesport's The Daily News, grapples with the local news deserts that leave citizens with little access to reliable local journalism, and how communities can come together to forge a path forward when their local newspapers shutter.

Queer Nature Presented by Autumn House Press

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Queer Nature: A Poetry Anthology amplifies and centers LGBTQIA+ voices and perspectives in a collection of contemporary nature poetry. Showcasing over two hundred queer writers from the nineteenth century to today, Queer Nature offers a new context for and expands upon the canon of nature poetry while also offering new lenses through which to view queerness and the natural world.
Artists from the collection join us live at City of Asylum as well as virtually from their homes across the country. 

Mark Rylance: Live at Alphabet City

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

In-person tickets for this program are SOLD OUT. You can still join us online. 

Sir Mark Rylance is one of the most decorated stage and screen actors in the world, and a favorite of City of Asylum cofounders Henry Reese and Diane Samuels. Mark visits the Alphabet City stage to read selections from City of Asylum writers-in-residence Horacio Castellanos Moya, Huang Xiang, Rama, Osama Alomar, and Tuhin Das—along with one of Rylance's favorite poets Robert Bly.
This is an incredibly special and unique afternoon, just for the City of Asylum community, and we hope you'll join us.

Story Club PGH Story Slam: Bump in the Night

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

In person tickets are SOLD OUT. You can still join us via livestream.
Join City of Asylum and Story Club Pittsburgh for a monthly nonfiction storytelling series mixing the spontaneity of an open mic with the experience of live theater. Organized and hosted by the former producers of The Moth Pittsburgh. 
Every show includes volunteer storytellers and featured performers, all taking the stage to share stories based on a theme. October’s theme: Bump in the Night.

Jill Bialosky & Lynn Steger Strong

City of Asylum @ Home

What would life be without pondering ambition, art, family, and desire? Novelists Jill Bialosky and Lynn Steger Strong explore these themes and more in their latest respective novels, The Deceptions and Flight.

Freedom to Create Keynote with Orhan Pamuk

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Each year we gather at Alphabet City to honor an international writer or artist who has overcome efforts to limit their creative freedom. This year we honor Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, the recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.
An advocate for freedom of expression, Mr. Pamuk has experienced first-hand the dangers to writers. In 2021, he was investigated by the Turkish state for “insulting” the founder of modern Turkey and ridiculing the Turkish flag in his new novel, Nights of Plague. Mr. Pamuk faced similar claims before. In 2005, he was indicted for “insulting Turkishness” after stating that “thirty-thousand Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in these lands.”

Yiyun Li: The Book of Goose

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Yiyun Li is the author of ten books, including Where Reasons End (Winner, PEN/Jean Stein Book Award) and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Winner, Guardian First Book Award). Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages, and her honors and awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Windham Campbell Prize, and more. In 2022, Yiyun was named as the director of Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Ross Gay: Inciting Joy

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

In-person tickets for this program are SOLD OUT. You can still join us online. Having delighted the City of Asylum community with readings in 2019 and 2020, prize-winning poet and essayist Ross Gay returns to our stage to share his newly released collection of essays, Inciting Joy. In conversation with Damon Young.

Story Club PGH Story Slam: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Join City of Asylum and Story Club Pittsburgh for a new monthly nonfiction storytelling series, mixing the spontaneity of an open mic with the experience of live theater. Organized and hosted by the former producers of The Moth Pittsburgh. 
Every show has both spontaneous tellers and featured performers, all taking the stage to share stories based on a theme.
November's theme is : TBD

Kathleen George: Mirth

Alphabet City 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

Writer, theatre professor, and Northsider Kathleen George makes her City of Asylum debut to celebrate the launch of her new novel, Mirth.
Kathleen George is the author of ten novels: a series of thrillers set in Pittsburgh; a novel about the Johnstown Flood, The Johnstown Girls; a novel about Lena Horne and jazz, The Blues Walked In; and most recently, Mirth. Kathy has also written a collection of short stories (The Man in the Buick), edited a collection of short fiction (Pittsburgh Noir), and contributed to many scholarly theatrical books and articles. She is a professor of theatre and writing at the University of Pittsburgh.