Unlocked: Reconsidering Home & Place

Reading by Back Porch Collective in collaboration with Giuseppe Paradiso and Jussi Reijonen

The Back Porch Collective, appropriately named, held their first gathering on a Boston back porch. The writers hail from places as far flung as Albania, Britain, Cuba, India, Atlanta, and Miami, and one of their number is currently overseas. Their initial desire was to meet together, share work, enjoy an evening, and discuss issues that mattered to them. They quickly developed a rapport, and when a musician joined in to cap off the night, the group knew something special had happened.

On June 18, the collective will read at the Middle Gray Gallery/Cafe in collaboration with musicians Giuseppe Paradiso and Jussi Reijonen. We hope you'll join them and continue to expand the artistic community they first got together to find.

The Writers & Artists

Jonathan Escoffery earned his MFA in Fiction from the University of Minnesota, where he was a DOVE Fellow, a 2014 Anderson Center Fellow, and the Fiction Editor at Dislocate. He has taught Creative Writing courses at the University of Minnesota, Roxbury Open Studios, and at GrubStreet in Boston where he is the Program and Advocacy Manager. His writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, an AWP Intro Award, and has appeared in The Caribbean Writer, The Best Emerging Poets of 2013, Salt Hill Journal, The Coffin Factory’s MFA Corner, Middle Gray Magazine, Radioactive Moat, and elsewhere. For info on his various projects, check out www.jonathanescoffery.com

Dariel Suarez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, and now resides in the Boston area. He is the author of the chapbook In the Land of Tropical Martyrs, published by Backbone Press. Dariel earned his M.F.A. in fiction at Boston University, where he was a Global Fellow. He’s one of the founding editors of Middle Gray Magazine and has taught creative writing at Boston University, the Boston Arts Academy, and Boston University’s Metropolitan College. He is currently a fiction instructor at GrubStreet. Dariel’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals and magazines, including Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, Prairie SchoonerThe Florida ReviewSouthern Humanities Review, and The Caribbean Writer, where his work was awarded the First Lady Cecile de Jongh Literary PrizeHis short story collection, A Kind of Solitude, was a finalist for the New American Press Fiction Prize. Dariel is currently finishing revisions on a novel about a Cuban political prisoner, titled The Playwright’s House. www.darielsuarez.com

Sarah Colwill-Brown’s work has appeared in Solstice Literary Magazine, The Conium Review, Audience, and other places. She has served on the editorial team for Post Road magazine and The Conium Review, and is currently Managing Editor at Pangyrus magazine. By day, she is Chief of Witty Banter at GrubStreet, the nation’s leading creative writing center. Hailing from Yorkshire, England, her goal in life is to introduce the word “sozzard” to the American vernacular.


Shubha Sunder's fiction has most recently appeared in Crazyhorse, where it won the 2015 Crazyhorse Fiction Prize; Narrative Magazine, where it was a winner of "30 Below;" Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Bangalore Review. She received a 2016 Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and has been awarded scholarships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers' conference. She lives in Jamaica Plain and is at work on her first novel, set in her hometown of Bangalore, India.

Ani Gjika is an Albanian-American poet, literary translator, and author of Bread on Running Waters (Fenway Press, 2013), a finalist for the 2011 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and 2011 May Sarton New Hampshire Book Prize. A native of Albania, Gjika moved to the U.S. at age 18 and earned an MA in English at Simmons College and an MFA in poetry at Boston University. Her other honors include awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, the Banff Centre International Literary Translators Residency, the Robert Fitzgerald Translation Prize and a Pushcart nomination. Gjika's poetry appears in Seneca Review, Salamander, Plume, From the Fishouse and elsewhere. Her translations from the Albanian appear in World Literature Today, Ploughshares, AGNI Online, Catamaran Literary Reader, Two Lines Online, From the Fishouse and elsewhere.

Stacy Mattingly is coauthor with Ashley Smith of the New York Times bestseller UNLIKELY ANGEL, an Atlanta hostage story adapted and released last fall as a feature film, CAPTIVE. Stacy holds an MFA in fiction from Boston University, where she was a Marcia Trimble Fellow, a Leslie Epstein Global Fellow, and recipient of the Florence Engel Randall Graduate Fiction Award. In 2012, Stacy founded the Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop, a group of poets and prose writers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has been leading the workshop since that time. She has taught at Boston University and Grub Street and helped lead the first Narrative Witness exchange (Caracas-Sarajevo) for the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. Stacy’s work has appeared in Oxford American, Asymptote Journal (blog), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and elsewhere. She is writer-in-residence at the Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and has recently completed a first novel, set in the current-day Balkans. www.stacymattingly.com

Giuseppe Paradiso started his musical studies on drums at the age of five. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, USA, and from the Italian conservatory of music “N. Piccinni” in Bari, where he also studied piano and composition.

His performances at multiple festivals, major venues and universities include the “Equinox Music Festival” at Berklee College of Music, where he premiered a composition in solo percussion commissioned by the same festival; “Les Journee de la Percussion” at Conservatoire Superior de Paris (Paris, France) as a soloist; “Newport Jazz Festival” (Newport, RI); “Panama Jazz Festival” (Panama City, Panama); “Festival Duni” (Matera, Italy); “Festival Paleariza” (Reggio Calabria, Italy); Northeastern University (Boston, MA); Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston (Boston, MA); Berklee Performance Center (Boston, MA); and The Austrian-Canadian Cultural Centre (Calgary, Canada). He has collaborated internationally with several orchestras such as Orchestra Sinfonia della Provincia di Bari and countless artists in the United States and Europe. 

 As a leader, he recorded in 2012 his album featuring original music, “Otherness Collection,” with his international band “Meridian 71,” based in Boston. Giuseppe appears also on several recordings, radio programs and TV in the United States and Europe, such as the Spanish TVE LA2 “Entre Dos Aguas,” a documentary produced by seven-time Latin Grammy Award winner Javier Limón.

In 2013, he co-founded the “IN MOMENTUM Concert Series,” a monthly ongoing series focused on improvisation, involving multiple collaborations in a constantly growing community and providing a unique environment to enhance freedom in artistic creation. 


Born in Rovaniemi, a small town on the Arctic Circle in northern Finland, fretted/fretless guitarist and oudist Jussi Reijonen is truly the product of a world with few frontiers. Having grown up moving back and forth between Finnish Lapland, the Middle East, and East Africa, and currently living in Boston MA, USA, Jussi has spent his life soaking up the sounds, scents and shades of Nordic, Middle Eastern, African, and now American culture, which are all reflected in his music.

Along his path, Jussi has worked – as bandleader, sideman, composer or arranger – with numerous front row artists both in and outside his native Finland, and has performed extensively in Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, France, Lebanon and the United States. He has had the honor of working with Jack deJohnette, Dave Weckl, Pepe de Lucía, Javier Limón, David Fiuczynski, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba, Arto Tunçboyaciyan, Hüsnu Senlendirici and the New York Gypsy All-Stars, Bruno Råberg, Christiane Karam, The New York Arabic Orchestra, Finnish Idol winner Ari Koivunen, and multi-platinum-selling Finnish-Portuguese vocalist Anna Abreu, among others. 

Reijonen’s original music draws from a wide pool of influences and experiences gathered growing up on four different continents; in both his original compositions and his playing, the open spaces and silences of Scandinavia effortlessly rub shoulders with the maqamat of the Arab world and the rhythmic richness of India and West Africa, creating a truly enchanting musical mosaic.

Jussi’s Independent Music Award-nominated debut album "un" was released to great critical acclaim in early 2013 on the unmusic label.


Join us and listen to these talented writers and musicians while enjoying some drinks and a bite or two!

No Cover

Dinner Service and Bar Available until 8:30pm