2020 Cohort Celebration – Postponed


All six members of The 3rd Thing’s 2020 Cohort will be in Seattle on April 4th! Join us to celebrate the launch of all four books, with authors Jennifer Calkins, Marilyn Freeman, Megan Sandberg-Zakian and Carlos Sirah, along with 2020 Land Acknowledgment Writer, Melissa Bennett and 2020 Cover Artist, Juan Alonso-Rodríguez. Juan is hosting this event at his beautiful downtown Seattle studio in the Tashiro/Kaplan Building. There will be short readings, refreshments and a lot of joy.

Books will be available to purchase and have signed by the authors:

Fugitive Assemblage, by Jennifer Calkins
The Illuminated Space, by Marilyn Freeman
There Must Be Happy Endings, by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
The High Alive, by Carlos Sirah

Jennifer Calkins  (Fugitive Assemblage) is a writer, attorney and evolutionary biologist. She is the author of the book A Story of Witchery (Les Figues Press) and the chapbook Devil Card (Beard of Bees Press). Between 2010 and 2015 she produced The Quail Diaries, an interdisciplinary project melding science and lyric essay. Her most recent creative works are published in Snail Trail, The FanzineEntropyQueen Mob’s Teahouse and Quarterly West. She lives in Seattle with creatures including teenagers. Visit Jennifer’s website.

Marilyn Freeman (The Illuminated Space: A Personal Theory & Contemplative Practice of Media Art) is a writer and media artist. Her text and time-based essays can be found at TriQuarterlyBlackbirdNinth LetterThe Fourth Genre and Abbey of the Arts. Freeman’s media work spans and intermixes narrative, documentary, experimental, installation-based and contemplative forms. Her films have been exhibited on PBS, in movie theaters and galleries, and at spirituality centers and film festivals worldwide. She lives in Olympia with her spouse Anne. Visit Marilyn’s website.

Megan Sandberg-Zakian (There Must Be Happy Endings: On A Theater of Optimism & Honesty) is a freelance theater director with a passion for the development of diverse new American plays & playwrights. She is a co-founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond, a graduate of Brown University, and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. Megan lives in Jamaica Plain, MA, with her wife Candice. Visit Megan’s website.

Carlos Sirah (The High Alive) is a writer, performer, and culture worker from the Mississippi Delta. Sirah creates formal structures rooted in Black expressions of possibility. The High Alive is his first book. Sirah has been a Lambda Literary and Millay Colony fellow and has performed and developed his work with a wide array of place-based social justice and arts organizations, and theaters, both nationally and internationally. Sirah has been a MacDowell fellow and received his MFA from Brown University. Visit Carlos’s website

Juan Alonso-Rodríguez (2020 cover artist) is a self-taught Cuban-American artist. His work has exhibited throughout the US, Canada and Latin America, has been commissioned for significant public works projects, and is included in permanent public and private collections including the Portland Art Museum and Museum of Northwest Art. His many awards include, most recently, a 2019 Artist Trust Fellowship and a 2019 Washington State Governor’s Arts Award. Juan is a Seattle Arts Commissioner and serves on the Public Art Advisory Committee for the City of Seattle. Visit Juan’s website

Melissa Bennett (2020 Land Acknowledgment writer), M.Div. (Umatilla/Nez Perce/Sac & Fox/Anishinaabe) is a writer, storyteller, story listener, educator, and spiritual care provider living as a guest on Medicine Creek Treaty Tribes land. Melissa is interested in story as medicine, especially its ability to heal historical trauma among Indigenous communities. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Melissa writes poetry and creative non-fiction with a focus on ancestral medicine, culture, place, tradition, and faith. Follow Melissa on Instagram.

Megan Sandberg-Zakian in conversation with Melinda Lopez 


Brookline Booksmiths presents Megan Sandberg-Zakian in conversation with Melinda Lopez on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Monday, 23 March 2020 at 4 p.m. Pacific / 6 p.m. Central / 7 p.m. Eastern. During the livestream, you can text questions for Megan and Melinda to (617) 651-1794. Please include your name (first name or initials only is fine!) and the location you’re listening from. We’ll get to as many as possible!

In her book THERE MUST BE HAPPY ENDINGS, Megan Sandberg-Zakian asks, Is it possible—is it even ethical?—to make hopeful art in an unjust and chaotic world? In the tradition of artist-essayists such as James Baldwin, Anne Lamott, and Adrienne Rich, Sandberg-Zakian looks to her own socially-engaged theater-making practice alongside a diverse array of cultural influences (from slave narratives to popular musicals, Batman to “This American Life”), considering how we might reconcile our desire for hope and possibility, connection and transformation, with the necessity of navigating darkness, despair, hate and violence.

Megan Sandberg-Zakian is a freelance theater director based in Jamaica Plain, MA, and a co-founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond. She is a graduate of Brown University and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. There Must Be Happy Endings is her first book and is published by The 3rd Thing Press.

Melinda Lopez is the Playwright-in-Residence at the Huntington Theatre. She was the 2109 recipient of the Sustained Excellence Award from the Elliott Norton Committee for her 20 years of theatre work in the Boston area. Her plays include MalaBecoming CubaOrchids to OctopiCaroline in JerseySonia Flew, and others. Melinda is also an actress and teaches playwriting at Boston University. She is currently working on an Audible Original immigration drama set now and during the Mariel Boatlift, 1980.

Brookline Booksmith is proud to be the official bookseller for this virtual event. Order here and select “media mail” for free shipping–your total will be adjusted when your order is processed. Thank you for supporting authors and independent bookstores!

About HowlRound TV
HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world’s performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us.