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Rochester Reads 2018: The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande

Rochester, NY: Writers & Books is excited to announce The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande as the selection for the 2018 Rochester Reads program. Grande will be in residence doing readings, book signings and other appearances at local libraries, colleges and senior centers in Rochester and throughout the region March 28 through March 30, 2018.


In the 2012 memoir The Distance Between Us, Reyna Grande shares the complex experiences of her life, from her childhood in Mexico, through her illegal immigration to the US in pursuit of a better life, to her success as a student and author. This inspirational coming-of-age story follows Reyna and her family from the time her father went north alone—leaving two-year-old Reyna, her siblings, and their mother in Mexico. When her mother joined him two years later, the children were left living in poverty with a negligent grandmother in rural Mexico. When Reyna was 10, she and some of her family crossed the border. The story continues as Reyna and her siblings navigate the complexities of living as undocumented immigrants as well as the ravages of alcoholism—with Reyna ultimately being the first in her family to earn a college degree.


Remember that you can help support your community litereary center by purchasing your book directly from us! Copies of The Distance Between Us are available for purchase at Writers & Books. From September 26 to October 31 recieve 20% off your book purchase! Discount also offered to book clubs and bulk orders of 10 books or more through Writers & Books only.

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Hashtags: #RR18 #RochesterReads18



Reyna Grande is an award-winning memoirist and novelist. Her first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains (2006), won the American Book Award and the El Premio Aztlán Literary Prize. Her second novel, Dancing with Butterflies (2009), won the 2010 International Latino Book Award. Her 2012 memoir, The Distance Between Us, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards for Autobiography. In 2015, Grande received the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature.


After crossing the Mexico/US border and living as an undocumented immigrant, Reyna became the first in her family to graduate from college, and later she earned an MFA in Creative Writing. Reyna is a member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop, which was founded by Sandra Cisneros, and is at work on a sequel to The Distance Between Us. She travels widely with her books and is also a popular motivational speaker.


For more information, visit http://reynagrande.com


For more information on the Rochester Reads program, contact Rochester Reads Coordinator, Karen vanMeenen, at Karen@wab.org




“Reyna Grande is a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer with an important story to tell.”
–Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

“I’ve been waiting for this book for decades. The American story of the new millennium is the story of the Latino immigrant, yet how often has the story been told by the immigrant herself? What makes Grande’s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that, through this hero’s journey, she speaks for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard.”
–Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

“A timely and a vivid example of how poverty and immigration can destroy a family.”
The Daily Beast

“A brutally honest book… the “Angela’s Ashes” of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.” –Los Angeles Times


Award-Winning Mo-to-the-oncle Solo Show Comes to the Rochester Fringe Festival at Writers & Books

For Immediate Release:  August 12, 2017

Media Contact(s):  Melissa Cole, 646-221-7652melissajcole@gmail.com

Show infowww.mo-to-the-oncle.comfacebook.com/mototheoncle/twitter.com/MELISSANTHROPEinstagram.com/MELISSANTHROPE

Fringe inforochesterfringe.comwww.facebook.com/RochesterFringeFestival@RochesterFringeinstagram.com/rochester_fringe, #rocfringe17


The award-winning solo comedy makes its Rochester debut

Rochester, New York – The New York City solo comedy Mo-to-the-oncle will appear as part of the 2017 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival (Thursday, September 14 – Saturday, September 23) on September 19-20 at 9 p.m.September 22 at 8 p.m. and September 23 at 6 p.m. at Writers & Books (740 University Ave, Rochester, NY 14607). Tickets are $10 at rochesterfringe.com, where more information is also available. Remaining tickets will be available at the door starting one hour before curtain. 

Mo-to-the-oncle follows the story of Detroit, Jr., a Bronx teenager who is forced to wear a monocle to school after his dad loses their vision insurance. “This isn’t one of your usual my-mother-always-hated-me solo shows,” says Melissa Cole, the show’s writer and star. Through detailed costume changes, Cole portrays eight different characters throughout the show. “Growing up, I always wanted to be on the sketch comedy All That on Nickelodeon, and in Mo-to-the-oncle, you’ll see me have my full All That moment.”

A Long Island native, Cole says she set the show in the Bronx “for effect” but maintains that the experience of having to wear something embarrassing to school at the hands of your parents is universal. “I once arrived at school in clear jelly sandals with white socks, and the other kids clowned me for the rest of the day. Whether it’s some ugly argyle sweater, braces or a monocle, we’ve all been there.”

Cole thought of the New York City borough and birthplace of rap as a natural springboard for the inclusion of rap music in the show. “I felt the use of rhyme was not only apropos but also necessary,” Cole said. “Plus, it’s high tide and Hamilton is the wave, so I’m surfing!”

For her performance in “Mo-to-the-oncle,” Cole won the Best Actress award at the 2017 Pittsburgh Fringe Festival—her very first fringe festival—earlier this year. In 2015, she was a finalist in the 2015 NBC & Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Diversity Scholarship Showcase, a showcase featuring up-and-coming comedians selected by talent executives from the Peacock Network.

More about Fringe: Since its debut in 2012, the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival has become one of the most successful fringe festivals in the U.S., attracting more than 68,000 attendees in 2016. This 10-day, multi-arts festival now boasts over 500 performances and events – more than a quarter of which are free – in 25+ venues in downtown Rochester, NY. Celebrating and inspiring creativity, the Fringe – which is partially curated by the non-profit festival and partially by festival venues – includes everything from theatre, music, comedy and dance, to children’s entertainment, spoken word, visual arts, film and much more. Please visit rochesterfringe.com for a complete schedule, tickets and more information. 

Media please note:  High-resolution photos available at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/2mmsdv3lfd54l27/AADGnVRURuTBHy0fRcyrBGOza?dl=0


DAVID JACOBS PRESENTS: “HALFWAY HOME” Half Jewish. Half Protestant. Fully Insane.

For Immediate Release: August 14, 2017

Media Contacts: David Jacobs, 415-860-5027, halfwayhometheshow@gmail.com Fringe Info: rochesterfringe.com, facebook.com/ RochesterFringeFestival, @RochesterFringe, instagram.com/rochester_fringe, #rocfringe

DAVID JACOBS PRESENTS: “HALFWAY HOME” AT 2017 FRINGE FESTIVAL Half Jewish. Half Protestant. Fully Insane.

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK- David Jacobs will make his sit-down comedy debut at the KeyBank 2017 Rochester Fringe Festival (Thursday, September 14- Saturday, September 23rd) on September 16th at 6:00pm, September 21st at 9:00pm, and September 23rd at 8:00pm at Writers & Books.

A sit-down comedian in the mold of Spalding Gray, Jacobs is a classically trained actor (A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts) and has worked with veteran directors such as Alex Harvey, Carey Perloff and many more. He continues to sharpen his comedic chops by branching out into sit down style comedy, performing his own writing for the very first time and hoping to revolutionize the theater with his unique way with words.

The show explores the theme of “dual identities” and spans many decades in the life of the 32- year old, half Jewish, half Protestant, fully Insane Jacobs. He introduces us to a Youth Minister obsessed with creating a night of raunchy Jello wrestling, a security guard in San Francisco who may or may not have stolen his food in order to flirt, and an apartment seeker who may want a little more (wink, wink) than just an apartment in Brooklyn, to name a few. Using his classical acting training and flair for off the cuff improvisation, Jacobs delivers a genius and humane depiction of these characters and events in a comedic yet thought provoking piece that leaves the audience wanting more.

This original piece has already impacted millennial patrons. Jess Grover, The Poet, says: “Jacobs is energized, dynamic and fearless, using his flair for improvisation to follow his instinct and lead with his feelings. I guffawed, I was moved and I cringed more than once as Jacobs took risk after risk, delivering every time.”

Laine Forman, millennial Google marketer, says, “David Jacobs is a young David Sedaris- he finds the absurd in the ordinary and it’s f*cking hilarious and comforting.”

Newton Kaneshiro, The Actor, remarks, “You will never think of Pad See Ew the same again.”

Be sure to catch this young and original artist on the rise. Tickets are available at rochesterfringe.com. Remaining tickets will be available at the door starting one hour before curtain.

Media please note: Jacobs is available for interviews and can arrange rehearsal and preview opportunities. More press photos to come.

Debut Novel Series 2016 Authors Announced

Debut Novel Series revamped for 2016

Writers & Books brings two debut novelists in November

Rochester, NY: This Fall Writers & Books welcomes two debut novelists reading from and discussing their new books together. Join us on November 3 and 4, 2016, when Garth Greenwell (What Belongs To You) and Hannah Tennant-Moore (Wreck & Order) will be in Rochester for a number of exciting joint events.The Debut Novel Series features new and emerging writers and is an outgrowth of our highly successful program, “Rochester Reads”.


Garth Greenwell

What Belongs to You 

Garth G headshotOn an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler. The teacher returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, drawn by hunger and loneliness and risk, and finds himself ensnared in a relationship in which lust leads to mutual predation, and tenderness can transform into violence. As he struggles to reconcile his longing with the anguish it creates, he’s forced to grapple with his own fraught history.

Hannah Tennant-Moore

Wreck and Order 

Hannah TMPurposefully aimless, self-destructive, and impulsively in and out of love, Elsie is a young woman who feels lost. She’s in a tumultuous relationship, stuck in a dead-end job, and has a restless, sharp intelligence that is at odds with her many bad decisions. When her initial attempts to improve her life go awry, Elsie decides that a dramatic change is the only solution. While traveling through Paris and Sri Lanka, Elsie meets people who challenge and provoke her toward the change she is seeking, but ultimately she must still come face-to-face with herself.


Schedule of Events:


Tuesday, November 1, 6:30-8:00pm. Read our Debut Novel Series selections and then join us for a spirited discussion of both. Moderated by Rochester Reads and Debut Novel Series Coordinator Karen vanMeenen. Free, but space is limited so reserve your spot today by calling (585) 473-2590, x.106. Location: Writers & Books, 740 University Avenue, Rochester.


Thursday, November 3, 1:00-2:00pm – In-studio radio (call-in) interview with Garth Greenwell and Hannah Tennant-Moore on Connections with Evan Dawson, WXXI Radio 1370AM.

Friday, November 4, 1:00-2:30pm – Public Reading, Panel Discussion & Book Signing. Hear Garth Greenwell and Hannah Tennant-Moore read passages from their debut novels. Free. Registration is not required. Location: Golisano Academic Center, Room 38 , Nazareth College, 4245 East Avenue, Rochester.

Friday, November 4, 7:00-9:30pm – Public Reading, Panel Discussion & Book Signing. Hear Garth Greenwell and Hannah Tennant-Moore read passages from their debut novels, followed by a candid discussion about the process of publishing. Learn about the ins and outs of publishing, and the often unpredictable path it takes for a book to go from the author’s desktop to a reader’s hands. Moderated by W&B Executive Director Kyle Semmel. The evening will close with a reception with a book signing. Location: Writers & Books, 740 University Avenue, Rochester. Registration is not required. Tickets available at the door: $10/W&B members; $12 non-members. Location: Writers & Books, 740 University Avenue, Rochester.


Social – #DNS2016