Columbia Selects: MFA Readings at the KGB Bar

Join us Thursday, January 3, at 7 pm, for another spectacular reading with Columbia Selects! Selected by the Columbia Writing Program, our readers are sure to enchant and amaze.

Columbia Selects is curated by Bryan VanDyke and Emily Austin.


Our lineup this month:


Catherine Pond '13 received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University in 2013 and is currently a PhD candidate in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. Her work has appeared in journals such as Boston Review, The Iowa Review, Bennington Review, and elsewhere. In 2018, her story “In the Absence of Rain” won Third Place in Narrative’s Winter Story Contest and her poem “This Rain” was featured in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2018. She lives in Los Angeles. 


Rachel Ephraim '11 teaches fiction for Bard College and is the women’s workplace manager for Instarlodge, a creative co-working space in Germantown, NY. She’s completed residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Milkwood International, and while receiving her M.F.A. at Columbia, Rachel had the pleasure of being a reader in The New Yorker’s fiction department. She just completed her first novel, The Old House, which was inspired by the purchase of her 1695 Hudson Valley home. Rachel’s fiction has been published in the Apple Valley Review, The Barcelona Review, Listening Party and Word Riot amongst other journals. 


Sharif El Gammal-Ortiz '11 holds a PhD in English from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. His dissertation, Disturbing the Page: Aligning Spirit Symbols in Kamau Brathwaite’s Poetry, explores how the synchronization of symbols on the pages of Brathwaite’s Sycorax Video-Style creates poems that pose as conglomerates of history and theory, while Brathwaite’s highly esteemed reputation as a historian of the Caribbean often amplifies his incantatory powers as a poet. Sharif’s poems, reviews and essays have appeared in The Caribbean Writer, The Acentos Review, SAND, Caribbean Studies, Callaloo, and elsewhere. He lives in Carolina, Puerto Rico.


What is Columbia Selects? The first Thursday of each month the Columbia MFA program hosts a reading series featuring Writing Program alumni. These fresh talents are finished with or near to finished with their first books, but do not yet have a book contract and/or an agent. In recent years, many of our featured writers have achieved critical and commercial success. This is your chance to glimpse who you'll be reading in 2020!


Come for the talent. Stay for the camaraderie and cocktails.
For more info send an email to

Event Time & Date

Date: Past Event
Location: KGB Bar
85 E. 4 St.
New York, NY 10003