It’s hard to deny that Penina Roth puts on the best ongoing monthly reading series in Brooklyn. The Franklin Park Reading Series has featured (Roth calls them “alums”) bestsellers like Colson Whitehead and Jami Attenberg and indie lit darlings from Blake Butler to Joshua Cohen. — JD
What are your plans for the holidays?
Recuperating after an overscheduled fall season.
Which New York artists do you count among your greatest inspirations?
It’s hard to narrow it down, but here are a few names: For their mastery at balancing dark humor and sympathy for flawed characters, along with their generosity towards up-and-coming writers, George Saunders, Sam Lipsyte, and Victor LaValle (who I also admire for addressing the complexities of race and class). For her inimitable blend of strong, memorable characters and fantastic elements, Karen Russell. For her sharp, funny writing, savvy editorial taste, and the sense I get that she leads a balanced life, Elissa Schappell. For their work as curators and literary community builders, Nita Noveno (founder of Sunday Salon) and Amanda Stern (founder of the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series). For his prescient vision and support of authors, artists and curators, Richard Nash. For his distinct voice and the attention he brings to immigrant communities, Junot Diaz.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
I’m working on incorporating more memoir and poetry into our fiction-oriented programming. I’d like to write more book reviews and explore job opportunities (I know this is a strange thing to say, in the current climate) in the publishing industry.