Story Sprint: Pop Up Lit Night

January 31, 2019 | 7:30 p.m.

Join three authors for an evening of off-the-cuff writing. Writers will be given one line with which to start a story and one with which to end it. In a mad dash, they will compose their pieces which the audience will then vote on to be the winner. As they work, take a chance on writing some of your very own short shorts for the chance to win a prize! Reserve your free ticket today.


Tara Laskowski, author of the short story collections Bystanders, and Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons, and the forthcoming novel One Night Gone.

Zach Powers, author of the short story collection Gravity Changes, and the forthcoming novel First Cosmic Velocity.

Colleen Kearney Rich, author of the chapbook Things You Won’t Tell Your Therapist

The evening will be emceed by Michael McCarthy, a 20 year media veteran, and former editor in chief of local magazines like DC Modern Luxury and Washington Flyer.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Event begins at 7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public thanks to the City of Fairfax Commission on the Arts.

New Location: Old Town Hall: 3999 University Dr, Fairfax, VA


This is the first of our three Pop-Up Lit Nights this spring. Stay tuned for February’s Love Stories Open Mic & March Murder! Find out more.

Meet the Competitors

Tara Laskowski is the author of the short story collection Bystanders, which won the Balcones Fiction Prize and was hailed by Jennifer Egan in The Guardian as one of the best books of 2017. She is also the author of Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons, tales of dark etiquette. Her debut novel One Night Gone is forthcoming from Graydon House Books in Oct. 2019. She was awarded the Kathy Fish Fellowship from SmokeLong Quarterly in 2009, and won the grand prize for the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards Series. Since 2010, she has been the editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Tara earned a BA in English with a minor in writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University.



Zach Powers is a native of Savannah, Georgia and lives in Arlington, Virginia. His novel, First Cosmic Velocity, will be published in August 2019 by Putnam, and his debut story collection, Gravity Changes, won the BOA Short Fiction Prize and was published in 2017. His work has been featured by American Short FictionTin House online, and elsewhere. He is the Communications Manager at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and teaches writing at Northern Virginia Community College. Get to know him at



Colleen Kearney Rich is the author of the chapbook Things You Won’t Tell Your Therapist (Finishing Line Press, January 2019). She is a fiction editor at Literary Mama and one of the founding editors of So To Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art. Her writing has been published in Wigleaf, Jellyfish Review, Minerva Rising, SmokeLong Quarterly, Harpoon Review, and others.


Meet the Emcee

Michael McCarthy, the communications and marketing director for Fairfax City, has been in media for 20 years. He has been editor in chief of local magazines like DC Modern Luxury and Washington Flyer, and he has served as editorial director for national publishing companies like Active Interest Media and McMurry/TMG. McCarthy’s work has regularly appeared in the Washington Post,Washingtonian and Washington Times. He continues to be heard on WTOP (103.5) each week for a segment about cultural events in the DMV, and he also writes for the Washington Independent Review of Books.