Chicago Deep Dish May 2024

Deep Dish is a reading series of Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction and Fantasy! It is a crazy good event, with some incredible authors working in and out of this genre. This event was held on May 16, 2024 at Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago, IL.

Featured Readers

Tina Jenkins Bell is a published fiction writer, playwright, academic, freelance journalist, and literary activist. Bell has had numerous short works published in journals and anthologies, including “To the Moon and Back,” Hypertext Journal, which was nominated for an Illinois Arts Council award and “Swimming,” Jet Fuel Review, which was selected as best small fiction by Somber Press and also recently nominated as best short fiction on the web. More recently, “The Visit,” Re-Living Mythology, received a favorable write up in the Publisher’s Weekly. In 2023, National League of American Pen, Inc. competition, Bell’s work was a Top Ten Finalist. A playwright, Bell’s two plays, Cut the Baby in Half and A Conversation with Lorraine Hansberry and Gwendolyn Brooks, a collaborative piece were produced as staged readings at the Green Line Performing Arts Center and the Chicago Humanities Festival, respectively. Bell conducts writing workshops regionally. She is a co-founder of FLOW (For Love of Writing) and has collaborated with numerous writing and arts organizations, authors, and bookstores to offer literary programming in Chicago’s underserved communities. Bell currently working on the novel, Down and Dirty in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her play Death of a Marriage was recently accepted by Definition Theater’s Amplify New Plays Program.

Alex Kingsley (they/them) is a writer, comedian, game designer, and amateur mycologist. They are a co-founder of the new media company Strong Branch Productions, where they write and direct sci-fi comedy podcast The Stench of Adventure and other shows. Their short fiction has appeared in Translunar Travelers Lounge, Radon Journal, The Storage Papers, and more. In 2023 they published their short story collection, The Strange Garden and Other Weird Tales. Their debut novel Empress of Dust will be published by Space Wizard Science Fantasy in Fall 2024. Alex’s sci-fi play “The Bearer of Bad News” premiered in LA in 2022 produced by the Annenberg Foundation, and their sci-fi play Unplanned Obsolescence premiered in Philadelphia in 2023 as part of Cannonball Festival. Alex’s SFF-related non-fiction has appeared in Interstellar Flight Magazine and Ancillary Review of Books. Their games can be downloaded pay-what-you-will at

Rapid Fire Readers

Jared Dennis holds an M.F.A. from the Theatre School at DePaul and a certificate from The National Theatre Studio, London. Jared is the Artistic Director of Promethean Theatre Ensemble. Our Peace is his first published book.

Gary Henderson is a writer and performer living in Uptown. Primarily an actor, Gary has been in multiple productions across Chicago for the last twelve years, but has been writing poetry, fantasy, short plays, and screenplays all the while. His first published work–a series of poems– was featured in Emerging Voices, a student periodical for Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, NE from ’05-’07. Dozens of his 2-minute plays were performed for Red Theater: Lincoln, a student-run theatre group based in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Gary attended The Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film. While in Lincoln, he also wrote a play, Persephone, for the theatre company Jesters & Prophets.

Jeremiah John is a writer, activist, poet, musician, and coder; he’s the author of the forthcoming Montag Press novel Thinspace. He performs as scifi Americana as Solomon: the spaceman man born and reborn into a cycle of vengeance and punishment. He also served six months in federal prison for his nonviolent act of civil disobedience to close the notorious School of the Americas. He lives in Chicago with his partner, two small children, and a mid-size cat.

Allison Manley writes book reviews and speculative fiction. Her creative work has been published in Oyez Review, The Chicago Reader, Not Deer Magazine, and The Gateway Review. Her book reviews have appeared in the Independent Book Review, the Southern Review of Books, and Third Coast Review. She likes dogs, beer, and body horror.

Connor Nevitt (he/him) is a senior at the University of Illinois Chicago, majoring in English with a focus on creative writing. He is a writer that began by filling up many notebooks with stories by hand as a kid. He has always enjoyed immersing himself and others in the fantastical worlds of speculative fiction. He also has experience bringing his work to life through film and theatre. He hopes to take the lessons from those past projects and is always striving for growth.

Darius Vinesar is a writer with a love for the fantastical. He’s currently working on a fantasy series set in an alternate world during a late Victorian-esque era with guns, cane-swords, airships, and an ancient and dangerous magic system that uses writing. As the Managing Director of the SLF, Darius is dedicated to making sure the organization is running smoothly and efficiently from day to day. Darius is also an editor and producer for the podcast, Mohanraj and Rosenbaum Are Humans, a show sponsored by the SLF. On Saturdays, Darius hosts the SLF’s weekly co-writing sessions.

Locus Magazine once called John Weagly “a new writer worth reading and following.” As a playwright, over one hundred of his plays have received productions by theaters on four continents. A collection of his short speculative plays, TINY FLIGHTS OF FANTASY, has been taught at Columbia College. You can find more of his short stories in the collections THE UNDERTOW OF SMALL TOWN DREAMS and DANCING IN THE KNEE-DEEP MIDNIGHT.

Video Playlist

Deep Dish Gallery