Explore how the craft of writing can inspire and fuel the imagination. This new monthly literary reading series features local poets and authors, as well as an open mic for interested audience members.

Free of charge. No reservation required. Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth in the Long Reach Village Center. Open mic presenters are asked to keep their readings to five minutes or less.

Sponsored by Howard County Poetry and Literature Society and coordinated by Laura Shovan, Ann Bracken and Linda Joy Burke.

Tuesday, Jan. 9, 7-8:30pm

Beth Konkoski is a writer and high school English teacher who lives in Northern Virginia. Her work has been published in the Mid-American Review, Baltimore Review, Gargoyle Magazine, and Potomac Review. Her chapbook, Noticing the Splash, was published in 2010 by BoneWorld Publishing. Her work has been nominated for a Best of the Net award, as well as a Pushcart Prize.

Sally Whitney’s debut novel Surface and Shadow tells the story of a woman who risks her marriage and her husband’s career to find out what really happened in the suspicious death of a mill owner in a small North Carolina town. Sally’s short stories have appeared in Best Short Stories from the Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest 2017. Follow her at SallyWhitney.com and at LateLastNightBooks.com.

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 7-8:30pm

Hiram Larew’s work recently appeared in the Little Patuxent Review, FORTH Magazine, vox poetica, Lummox, Poets and Artists, Every Day Poems, Lunaris Review, Amsterdam Quarterly, Honest Ulsterman, and The Wild Word. The author of three collections, he is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, is a member of the Shakespeare Folger Library poetry board, and organizes various events in Prince George’s County and beyond.

Ann A. Philips taught writing and literature, worked as a psychotherapist, and has been a National Zoo reptile house guide. Her middle-grade novel If You Believe in Mermaids, Don’t Tell (Dog Ear, 2007) supports LGBTQ youth. Her poems have appeared in Borderlands, Green Mountains Review, The Sow’s Ear, Gargoyle, Big Muddy, Little Patuxent Review, The Humanistic Psychologist, The Delmarva Review and elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 13, 7-8:30pm

Edward Belfar is the author of the short story collection, Wanderers, which was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. His fiction has also appeared in Shenandoah, Baltimore Review, Potpourri, Open Spaces, Confrontation, Natural Bridge, Tampa Review, and numerous other publications. His short story, Errors, was chosen as the winning entry in the Sports Literature Association’s 2008 fiction competition.

Michael Tims is the academic director for Herbal Programs at Maryland University of Integrative Health. Recent poems have been published in The Syzygy Poetry Journal, The Broadkill Review, Haven, Northern Virginia Review and Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems, a Maryland Writers Association anthology. Finishing Line Press published his poetry manuscript, The Acoustic Properties of Ancient People.