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The Belladonna* Reading Series

A reading series and independent press that promotes the work of women writers who are adventurous, experimental, politically involved, multi-form, multicultural, multi-gendered, impossible to define, delicious to talk about, unpredictable, and dangerous with language.

Belladonna* was founded as a reading and salon series by Rachel Levitsky at Bluestocking's Women's Bookstore on New York City's Lower East Side in 1999. In 2000, in collaboration with Boog Literature, Belladonna* began to publish commemorative 'chaplets' of the readers' work. erica kaufman joined Levitsky as co-curator/editor in 2002. Then in 2005, the series moved its events to the downtown performance venue, Dixon Place. Since 2010, the group has operated as the Belladonna* Collaborative, a ten-woman editorial board. The bulk of the group's NYC activity is coordinated by Emily Skillings and Krystal Languell. A list of the entire board can be found here.


October 16, 2018: Reading co-hosted by The Operating System, Ugly Duckling Presse, and Belladonna* at McNally Jackson Williamsburg

With readings by Margaret Randall, Urayoán Noel, Lila Zemborain, María Vázquez Valdez, and Elizabeth Zuba. MCed by Elae (Lynne DeSilva-Johnson)

Complete recording (1:22:28): MP3

October 11, 2018: Belladonna* Roll Call Reading Series reading at Spoonbill and Sugartown (99 Montrose Ave. location)

With Patricia Spears Jones presenting Serena Fox and Rachel Blau DuPlessis presenting Orchid Tierney

Complete recording (1:04:17): MP3

September 19, 2018: Pamela Sneed's Sweet Dreams Book Launch at the Poetry Project

Introduced by Kyle Dacuyen and Rachel Levitsky
featuring readings by Roya Marsh, Shelley Marlow, Tracie Morris, and Pamela Sneed

Complete recording (1:18:34): MP3

August 16, 2018: Pamela Sneed reading from Sweet Dreams at the Matthew Gallery

Introduction by James Loop
In collaboration with Montez Press Radio

Complete recording (42:09): MP3

May 14, 2018: And/With: Aditi Machado and Iman Mersal reading from Belladonna* chaplets at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Art, New York

Reading by Aditi Machado and Iman Mersal (56:21): MP3

Q&A moderated by Omar Berrada (43:50): MP3

April 10, 2018: And/With: Abdellah Taïa reading from his Belladonna* chaplet and in conversation with Meena Alexander

Presented in conjunction with the Asian American Writers' Workshop, at the Brooklyn Public Library.

Full Recording [recorded by the Asian American Writers' Workshop] (1:22:15): MP3

March 19, 2018: Belladonna* Staff Reading at Queens College

  1. Introduction (5:06): MP3
  2. Javier Zamora (25:00): MP3
  3. Aracelis Girmay (22:01): MP3
  4. Q&A moderated by Christine Ramkarran (26:20): MP3

March 1, 2018: Belladonna* Intern and Staff Reading, Out-Of-Office, at Brooklyn Art Library