LAB at QCA presents a literary reading hosted by writer Catherine Fletcher. Queens-based writers and the participants in the 2016-17 QCA Artist Peer Circle program will read new poetry and fiction. Featured writers include Sherese Francis, Safia Jama, Valerie G. Keane, and Camila Santos. Audience members will have the opportunity to provide the writers feedback on their work and ask the presenters about their creative process.

Friday, March 3rd, 6:30-8:30pm

Queens Council on the Arts
37-11 35th Ave, Entrance on 37th St
Astoria, NY 11101


Safia Jama
Safia Jama was born in Queens, New York to a Somali father and an Irish-American mother. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, she earned a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.F.A. from Rutgers University-Newark. Her poetry appears in RHINO, Toe Good Poetry, Cooper Street, andMuftah Magazine. The Offing featured her work in “I Slay: 11 Women Artists & Writers Get Us into Formation.”  Safia’s reviews have been spotlighted by the Poetry Foundation and her prose can be read at The Volta blog, NPR’s Schoolbook and Boston Review. She is the nonfiction editor at Apogee Journal.

Valerie G. Keane
Valerie G. Keane is the founder of Poetry & Coffee, a discussion group for writers and readers of all levels of experience, where people are reading and talking about poetry for the joy of it. She speaks at high schools about how to love poetry from the bottom of your soul without an MFA and her work has been featured at numerous reading series throughout NYC and Long Island, as well as in Newtown Literary Journal, where she also currently serves on the editorial review board for poetry. She was recently a featured writer at the nationwide event, Writers Resist, in Jacksonville, Florida.  Find out more at


Catherine Fletcher
Catherine Fletcher is a Jackson Heights-based writer.  Recent poetry and essays have appeared in journals such as Poetry Wales, The Offing, Rattapallax, and Bird’s Thumb.  She is a 2016-17 TWP Science and Religion Fellow at Arizona State University.  She previously served as Director of Poetry Programs for the New York-based arts organization City Lore and Managing Director of the Los Angeles-based theater ensemble the Ghost Road Company.  For more information please visit


Camila Santos
Camila Santos was born in Recife, Brazil. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation from Queens College and is working on a novel about Brazilian immigrants living in the United States. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Podium, Three Percent, and Words Without Borders. She lives in Long Island City, Queens.


Sherese Francis
Sherese Francis is a southeast Queens-based published poet, writer, blogger and literary curator. She has published work in journals and anthologies like Blackberry Magazine, Kalyani Magazine, Near Kin: A Collection of Words and Arts Inspired by Octavia Butler and Bared: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts. Her current projects include her Afrofuturism-inspired blog, Futuristically Ancient, her southeast Queens based pop up mobile library/bookshop, J. Expressions, for which she recently received a QCA grant, and her upcoming fantasy novel, The E.