Long River Reading Series: A monthly space for UConn’s literary artists 


With nightfall arriving earlier than expected following the end of daylight savings, members of UConn’s creative writing community took to the Philip E. Austin Building for the Long River Reading Series yesterday evening. A monthly open mic night that has been running consistently for over 20 years, the LRRS welcomes students eager to share various forms of artistry including poems, fiction, visual art, skits and even music in a friendly environment.  

This month, the LRRS hosted UConn student authors Julia Brush, Valeria Diaz and Camryn Johnson. They read original works of poetry and fiction, touching on a variety of subjects and shrouding the room in different emotions.  

A clip from the first episode of the TV series “The O.C.” began the night. After which, Brush read multiple short abstract poems she wrote. 

The room’s atmosphere was casual yet respectful. Between readers, the host, graduate assistant director of creative writing Daniel Healy and the audience conversed, chuckling and making small talk. However, when each reader took the floor, audience members went silent. They listened attentively, showing their appreciation for each reader, pondering and digesting their words.  

Following up Brush was Diaz, who shared an intense work of fiction about talking to and eventually heading to a man’s apartment in the dead of night. After ending on a cliffhanger, it was clear Diaz’s words had made an impact on listeners. 

“It was so raw,” said David Cabeceiras, a third-semester creative writing major. “When somebody gets that real and forces you to live through their hardest moment in their life, it’s just astounding to me. To go up in front of 20 people who you’ve never met and open your heart up to your most vulnerable state is one of the best and strongest things a human being can do.” 

After Diaz finished, the mic was opened to potential audience members. Cabeceiras stepped up to read three original works: a piece of fiction, a poem and a reflection on a walk he took through campus.  

Johnson finished off the scheduled readers with an emotional poem and a psychedelic work of fiction. The mic was once again opened for audience members to read their work. The final piece, an abstract guide to chronic migraines originally published in the WHUS magazine “Exposure Therapy,” was shared. 

“[To me, the Long River Reading Series] means community, fellowship among literary artists – students who may not have known each other and maybe wouldn’t have seen each other – coming out and sharing their work with each other,” said Healy.  

Closely related to the LRRS is the Long River Review, UConn’s student-staffed literary journal of art and literature that has been running since 1997. 

“It’s went from being a student literary magazine to a yearly, nationally-distributed professional literary magazine,” Healy said. 

The next Long River Reading Series will be held on Dec. 7. As always, students will be welcome to showcase their writing and art to a friendly, respectful community of their peers. 

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