Lit & Luz Festival Brings Julián Herbert to RU Reading Series


Roosevelt University’s Creative Writing program and the Oyez Review are proud to present, along with the Lit & Luz Festival, author Julián Herbert. Join us for a live reading, followed by a chat with author and musician Tim Kinsella, on Wednesday, October 17th, 5:00 p.m. in the Spertus Lounge.

Herbert’s published works include a novel, Tomb Song, collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, and the forthcoming work The House of the Pain of Others: Chronicle of a Small Genocide.

In addition to being an accomplished author, Herbert is a teacher, and a musician in the band Los Tigres de Borges y Madrastras.

Please join Julián Herbert, the Lit & Luz Festival, and the Roosevelt University writing community Wednesday, October 17th at Roosevelt University’s Spertus Lounge (AUD 244).

Location: Spertus Lounge, Auditorium Building, Chicago Campus

Date:  Wednesday, October 17th

Time: 5:00 p.m.


MAKE Literary Production’s 5th annual Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art, themed “Assembly,” is an ambitious exchange between Mexico City and Chicago. The week-long festival takes place at over a dozen arts venues and universities throughout Chicago, October 13th-20th. The following March, a similar series of events are held in Mexico City. Programs include readings, conversations, and our signature event, the “Live Magazine Show”—which makes its Museum of Contemporary Art debut this year.

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Roosevelt University’s Own Vincent Francone Joins Oyez Review Reading Series


Roosevelt University’s Creative Writing program and the Oyez Review are proud to present author Vincent Francone. Join us for a live reading and discussion with Vincent Francone, on Monday, October 1st, 5:00 p.m. in the Spertus Lounge.

Vincent Francone is the author of Like a Dog (Blue Heron Book Works, 2015) and the forthcoming essay collection The Soft Lunacy. He has published poems, stories, and essays in New City MagazineThe Oklahoma ReviewAkashic BooksThree PercentSouthword, and numerous other online and print journals. Vincent won first place in the 2009 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition (Gwendolyn Brooks Award) and is at work on a collection of stories when not hosting the podcast Drinking and Talking.

Vincent Francone graduated from Roosevelt University (BA: English) and Northwestern University (MA: Creative Writing). He has been a full time English Instructor at Roosevelt University since 2014 and serves as the Interim Director of Writing Tutoring at Roosevelt University’s Learning Commons.

Please join Vincent Francone and the Roosevelt University writing community Monday, October 1st at Roosevelt University’s Spertus Lounge (AUD 244).

Location: Spertus Lounge, Auditorium Building, Chicago Campus

Date:  Monday, October 1st

Time: 5:00 p.m.

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Oyez Review Reading Series: Erika T. Wurth

Erika T. Wurth Photo

Roosevelt University’s Creative Writing program and the Oyez Review are proud to present author Erika T. Wurth. Join us for a live reading and discussion with Erika T. Wurth, on Monday, March 19th, 6:00 p.m. in the Spertus Lounge.

Wurth’s published works include a novel, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, two collections of poetry, Indian Trains and One Thousand Horses Out to Sea, and a collection of short stories, Buckskin Cocaine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Boulevard, Drunken Boat, The Writer’s Chronicle, Waxwing and South Dakota Review.

She teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Please join Erika T. Wurth and the Roosevelt University writing community Monday, March 19th at Roosevelt University’s Spertus Lounge (AUD 241).

Location: Spertus Lounge, Auditorium Building, Chicago Campus

Date:  Monday, March 19th

Time: 6:00 p.m.

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Juan Martinez Comes to Oyez Reading Series

Martinez (1)

We are very excited to co-host Juan Martinez, author of Best Worst American,  with the Roosevelt University MFA program! Join us for a live reading and discussion with Juan Martinez, this Thursday, February 22, 5:00 p.m., Wabash 1315.

Juan Martinez is the author of the fiction collection Best Worst American. He was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and has since lived in Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada. He now lives in Chicago with his wife, the writer Sarah Kokernot, and their son and two cats. He’s an assistant professor at Northwestern University.

We hope to see you there!


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Roosevelt MFA Program Reading Series: Camille Bordas

Camille Bordas Image

Roosevelt University’s Creative Writing program and the Oyez Review are proud to present author Camille Bordas.

As part of the Fall 2017 Reading Series, Bordas will be reading from her first English language novel How To Behave in a Crowd, which was recently published by Tim Duggan Books (Penguin Random House) in August 2017.

Born in France and raised in Mexico City and Paris, Bordas now lives in Chicago. She is the author of two previous novels in French, Les treize desserts and Partie commune. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker.

Please join Camille Bordas and the Roosevelt University writing community Tuesday, November 7th at Roosevelt University’s Spertus Lounge (AUD 241). The event begins at 5:00 PM with doors opening at 4:30.

Location: Spertus Lounge, Auditorium Building, Chicago Campus

Date: November 7th, 2017

Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

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Eduardo Rebasa Joins Roosevelt for a Reading and Q&A!


The MFA Program Reading series, in conjunction with Roosevelt University, the MFA in Creative Writing Program, Oyez Review, the Department of Literature & Language, and the Lit & Luz Festival, is proud to present Eduardo Rebasa!

As seen on the Lit & Lutz Festival participants page:

Eduardo Rabasa is the founding editorial director of Sexto Piso Editorial, the winner of the 2004 International Young Publisher of the Year Award. He writes for the newspaper Milenio. His first novel was A Zero-Sum Game (Deep Vellum 2016). Rabasa was named one of the top 20 Mexican writers under the age of 40 by the Mexico20 project.

On Wednesday, October 18,  please join Eduardo Rabasa, Roosevelt University, and Lit & Luz at Roosevelt University’s Spertus Lounge in our Auditorium Building. The event begins at 5:00 PM with doors opening at 4:30.



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Roosevelt MFA Program Reading Series: Jac Jemc


New semester, new Reading Series! Roosevelt University’s Creative Writing program and the Oyez Review are proud to present the first visiting writer of our Fall 2017 Reading Series: Jac Jemc!

Jac Jemc lives in Chicago. Her novel The Grip of It was published by FSG Originals (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) in August 2017. Jemc is also the author of My Only Wife (Dzanc Books), named a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award; A Different Bed Every Time (Dzanc Books), named one of Amazon’s Best Story Collections of 2014; and a chapbook of stories, These Strangers She’d Invited In (Greying Ghost Press). Jac’s nonfiction has been featured on the long list for Best American Essays and her story “Women in Wells” was featured in the 2010 Best of the Web anthology. She was named as one of 25 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex and one of New City’s Lit 50 in Chicago. She’s taught English and Creative Writing at a number of universities and currently serves as a web nonfiction editor for Hobart.

Please join Jac Jemc and the Roosevelt University writing community this October 2nd at Roosevelt University’s Spertus Lounge in our Auditorium Building located at 430 South Michigan Avenue. The event begins at 5:00 PM with doors opening at 4:30.


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Interview with Emanuel Rios

The staff of Oyez Review is honored with the opportunity to foster artists of all kinds throughout the world – of the written word, canvas, and lens. We took the time to sit down and talk with one such up and coming photographer, Chicagoan Emanuel Rios, about his form and inspiration in the Windy City.

Alicia Drier, Oyez Review (OR): What are some of your favorite places to capture in Chicago?

Emanuel Rios (ER): Museum campus has one of the best views of the city year round, but the lakefront in general presents a great juxtaposition. There is a liminal nature to the lakefront that I’ve always found captivating. Otherwise, I think I have a favorite time rather than a favorite place. I love shooting at odd times in order to capture the city during its quieter moments.


I took one of my favorite quiet moment photos in NYC while I was wandering through Brooklyn late one Friday night. It was a part of Brooklyn that must have had a very concentrated Hasidic Jewish population because the streets were eerily empty and then all of the sudden there were scattered clusters of families walking past me. Within what seemed like 15 minutes they were all gone again and I was basically alone, wandering down the street. At the time I was completely confused by the experience. I probably wouldn’t have noticed this shop in the picture had I not been in such a perplexed, yet fascinated mood.


OR: What is your favorite subject to capture in your photography?

ER: I love when a subject makes me feel extremely small, so I tend to seek out views of vast expanses of land or cityscapes. I’ve spent most of my life in the city, so the stars tend to invoke that sensation too, when I get the opportunities to see them.


OR: How does Chicago compare to other subjects you have approached with your camera?

ER: Chicago offers a ton of great street photography options, though I often find myself uncomfortable photographing strangers. The “look up” opportunities are also endless in the city. Most landscapes are about look horizontally, but the city is built on so many different vertical levels that can capture your attention.


OR: How does photography work for you as a form of expression? What sort of dialogue do you hope to develop with your photos?

ER: I work a 9 to 5 desk job, so photography works as a calming escape from the mundane repetition throughout the week. I love to toss on headphones and just wander around the city without any destination in mind. In some sense I guess you could say I take the photos to remind myself to get outside more than anything else.


OR: How do literature and photography connect for you?

ER: I think photography and its relationship to journalism are crucial. National Geographic sparked my interest in photography, but the photos within each article usually served as my motivation to read the contents. There is something about the visceral experience of seeing something that adds a depth difficult to reach through words.

OR: Who are your top three go-to photographers for inspiration?

ER: Ansel Adams is always my number one go to. From a technical perspective, I greatly admire everything he’s done. I sometimes feel lucky that I get to work with modern DSLR cameras, which just makes his photographs all the more impressive to me. Jimmy Chin and Paul Nicklen both photograph for National Geographic and have taken some of the most stunning photos I’ve seen. The lengths they both go to get their shots are astounding. Jimmy Chin and Paul Nicken serve as my motivation to actually get off my butt and go shoot, while Ansel Adams influences aspirations for becoming a better photographer.

OR: How did you develop an interest in photography?

ER: My family had a subscription to National Geographic when I was a kid and even before I was old enough to read the articles, I would flip through each issue just to see their pictures of far off places. I took a few photography courses in high school that focused on developing film shots, but I grew up just as things kind of transitioned over to digital. I’ve always wanted to develop my own film, but it’s a pain in the butt (for me at least), so I committed to digital photography a few years ago. You can do some amazing things with current cameras and editing software, though I try to keep most of my edits simple and capture things as they genuinely exist in the real world.

You can find more of Emanuel Rios’ work on his Instagram.

Posted in Oyez News

Blogging Wins and Losses

by: Melanie Jones

Someone once said to me, “I don’t understand people who consider themselves a writer, but don’t write.” That same day I created a blog and began putting out some work. A lot of it was what I referred to as unpolished rants. I would copy styles from Buzzfeed, like Top Five blah blah. I also wrote rebuttals to the content of other blogs I didn’t agree with, and would link their posts in my own blog.


(photo cred:

The first thing that’s difficult about having a blog is getting a fan-base large enough that you don’t feel like you’re writing for an empty (chat)room. Gaining followers on outlets like Tumblr is difficult. Tumblr is not Facebook, not everyone and their grandma has one so if you are relying on followers from people you already know, that’s not very likely. If your only purpose in writing is to get your work shared, then you are on the wrong outlet. Writing a blog should first be a form of self-expression that is fulfilling and enjoyable for you regardless of followers, notes, and shares. You might get lucky and be featured on a larger-name site and gain followers for one timely, well-written piece, but that’s a small percentage of people who regularly upkeep a blog. 

If that does happen, you aren’t fully in control of what type of followers you may gain. In my unique case I wrote a rebuttal to a man who complained about doing sexual favors for a woman because he didn’t find them pleasurable. Due to the nature of my blog and the crass language, it was reblogged more times than anything else I’ve ever written. I gained several followers. These followers focused on sexual expression and sex in general on their pages, and some even featured pornographic images. My family asked if I was going to delete my account, but it didn’t bother me. I relay this story just so you are aware of the possibilities.

Another thing to consider before starting a blog is the recognition that any content you put on your blog is considered published work. Many literary journals, including Oyez Review, do not accept previously published work, so if you submit something that’s appeared on your blog for consideration by such a literary journal or magazine, it will probably be denied. Editors and staff will search the internet for works to make sure that it does not appear anywhere else. They want to publish content that’s new, and that could actually lead to more people looking at your blog in the end because they like your writing style. If you’d like to still have a blog then I’d suggest not putting your best work on there, especially if you’d like to submit it to a larger publication.

Having a blog can be satisfying. If you’re not in a writer’s group or a program where you can regularly share your work and receive feedback, a blog is a great option to show your pieces to other writers and receive critiques, or start a conversation about your given topic. Either way, there are gives-and-takes with featuring your work on any site or platform, but regardless of this, if you love writing keep doing it, even if you never plan on sharing it at all.

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Roosevelt Spring 2017 MFA Readings Series begins with Rion Amilcar Scott!


Join us on March 20th at 5:00 PM for our first reading event with Rion Amilcar Scott!

Posted in Oyez News