Freerange Nonfiction for Woodstock Animal Sanctuary


The most recent installment of Freerange Nonfiction, held this past Wednesday at Piano’s, featured little nonfiction and few of the animals its name and that night’s beneficiary, the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, might suggest. If you’re lucky enough to have attended Freerange events in the past, you’ll know that this is both unsurprising and irrelevant — this Sarah Lawrence alumni-created collective is known for attracting some of the most impressive writing resumes around, from bestselling novelists to New Yorker editors, so no matter what the content or occasion, there’s quality work to be found.

1. Host and Freerange founder Mira Ptacin helps Puddles pick a winner. 2. Alison Smith, providing backstory before her selection from Name All the Animals.

Wednesday night was no exception, featuring the prose of three stellar lit ladies (be still, my feminist heart) who read from published work. Alison Espach opened the evening with two excerpts from her novel, The Adults, an elegantly sculpted tale of life as a teenage girl. Next was a far more somber-yet-redemptive turn by Alison Smith, reading from her memoir, Name All the Animals, which is about life after her brother’s death.

1. The youthful Alison Espach, reading from The Adults. 2. Hannah Tinti takes on a challenge, reading from her short story collection, Animal Crackers, with an extra appendage.

After host and Freerange Nonfiction founder Mira Ptacin’s self-admittedly hormonal tears and a brief intermission, the night turned from an unexpected homage to the power of prose into a much more ridiculous and raucous affair. Raffle winners were selected by a man in a Puddles the Dog costume. The final reader, Hannah Tinti, read from her short story collection, Animal Crackers, while wearing an elephant nose.

All proceeds for the evening typically allow for Freerange to break even, but this time around they helped the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary (whose inspiring videos can be seen here) save the lives of farm animals that have been abused. To learn more about Freerange, visit their website and be sure to check out their online publications of interviews and creative nonfiction pieces.

The Adults

by Alison Espach

Name All the Animals

by Alison Smith

Animal Crackers

by Hannah Tinti

–-Sarah Lerner is a freelance event coordinator for the L Magazine. She contributes art and film reviews to Time Out New York.

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