Backwaters Press Hosts Reading and Workshop


October 25th, 2017

Image courtesy of The Backwaters Press

Omaha, NE—The Backwaters Press is an independent literary publisher based in Nebraska, and they’ve been publishing local and international poets and prose writers for the last 20 years. The press also engages with the community through readings and now a workshop series, all in collaboration with Gallery 1516, explained Managing Editor Cat Dixon.

“The reading series started as a way to feature our Backwaters Press authors, but eventually we decided to open it up to other people in the community—other writers,” Dixon said. “We wanted to focus on folks who have new books that they want to sell but also on poets and authors who are helping our community in some way. We want to give people a chance to be on stage share their work even if it’s in progress and not actually published yet, so we’ve tried to incorporate many different people from Omaha and Lincoln in our series.”

Tomorrow, Anna Monardo and Emily Borgmann with UNO’s Writer’s Workshop and poet Roy Scheele will be reading selections from their work at Gallery 1516.

Monardo has written two novels, Falling in Love with Natassia and The Courtyard of Dreams, based on her family’s emigration from Italy, and for the last 10 years she’s been working on a memoir.

“The first novel was an autobiographical novel that was somewhat about my family’s immigration story,” Monardo said. “After I finished that and then another novel, I felt that there were parts of our story I hadn’t told, and so I challenged myself to tell the truth about everything I had fictionalized in the first novel and that was the start of this memoir project that’s gone on for ten years. The memoir looks at three generations of our family my maternal grandparents, my parents and me specifically, looks at the marriages in those three generations, specifically the arranged marriage of my grandparents and my parent—in both cases arranged marriage that facilitated immigration to the US, and I’m looking at the psychological ramifications of that legacy.”

Borgmann, having recently finished a Masters of Fine Arts program at UNO, will be reading both poetry and creative non-fiction.

“Right now I’m thinking a lot about family and time and also the questions we ask of women and the questions we ask of men and whether gender matters at all is something I’m thinking about a lot,” Borgmann said. “I’ve been realizing I’m sort of writing toward the same subjects with different means, and it’s interesting to do both at the same time too. I’m earlier in my career than Cat or Anna or a lot of people, and so I’m really happy that they asked me to read but I don’t have books yet and I’m still working out kind of the structure of some manuscripts. So getting chances to read from them and hear people’s reaction is really helpful to know, like ‘oh this is successful’ or ‘this maybe wasn’t.’”

On November 4th The Backwaters Press will host a writing workshop, The Unblocked Workshop, conducted by Monardo and Borgmann. Writers of any level are welcome to attend to put pen to paper, but space is limited and registration is required.

“Yes, we’re publishing books,” Dixon said. “Yes, we have a reading series, but we wanted to engage with folks, and we did a survey and found out that people really were interested in having a workshop run by published authors—people who are teachers in the community, and so we started the workshop—it’s called The Unblocked Workshop Series—in June of this year.”

The Backwater’s Press October Reading featuring Anna Monardo, Emily Borgmann and Roy Scheele is tomorrow, Wednesday the 25th at 7:00pm. The Unblocked Workshop is Saturday, November 4th at 11:00am. Both events are at Gallery 1516. For more information or to register, find The Backwaters Press on Facebook.


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