Proof that the magic works…

We are always excited to share in the successes of our Writer’s Room alumni. We recently received a note from writer Pablo Brescia, with news of his latest book of short stories, La derrota de lo real / The Defeat of the Real.
I wanted to let you know that my third book of short stories, La derrota de lo real, (The Defeat of the Real) is out. The beginning of the book happened one afternoon during my last stay at the Betsy. Proof that the Writer’s Room’s magic really works! I just wanted to show my appreciation and hope to be with you again soon!
Best wishes!
Pablo Brescia, Ph.D.

Congratulations to one of our own – Pablo Cartaya!

Miami’s Newest Young Literary Hero Takes On Development

Arturo Zamora is 13 and ready for a relaxing summer. His plans are quickly shattered when his family’s business is threatened by a developer, he loses one of the most important people in his life and he has to find the courage to express his feelings to a girl who has swept him off his feet.

Listen to the interview with Pablo Cartaya on WLRN.ORG.

Welcoming Patricia Smith and Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib for O, Miami

Patricia Smith
Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib






Celebrating O, Miami and National Poetry Month

As part of an ongoing, annual partnership with O, Miami Poetry Festival, The Betsy Writer’s Room is pleased to welcome our first two poets of the festival: Patricia Smith and Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib. Both poets have events around town with O, Miami. For details on this year’s festival, visit their website at






Join O, Miami as we kick off the month of April with a reading & celebration at the North Beach Bandshell. Meet local organizers from a variety of social justice organizations and funnel your energy into tangible action to improve our community.

RSVP required – FREE

Performing Poets
Patricia Smith
Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
Aja Monet
Ashley Jones
Cathleen Chambless

The Betsy Writer’s Room proudly salutes Kevin Young!


We were thrilled to learn that The New Yorker has recently named Writer’s Room alum Kevin Young as the new Poetry Editor of The New Yorker. Young participated in our annual Under the Influence Poetry Reading as part of National Poetry Month with  O, Miami in April of 2016.

“Paul Muldoon, who for a decade has served as the poetry editor of The New Yorker, will step down, the magazine announced on Wednesday. His successor will be Kevin Young, who moved to New York from Atlanta last year to become the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Mr. Young is an esteemed poet and scholar whose work has been published in The New Yorker dating back to 1999. His most recent work, “Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015,” made the 2016 National Book Award longlist.

Read the NY Times article here to learn more about this esteemed poet and scholar. Full story HERE.


FIU Writers on the Bay Series: Sharing Passion for Writing

Source: FIU Panthers Now
Source: FIU Panthers Now

Florida International University’s online publication, Panther Now, recently reported on The Writers on the Bay series, presented in partnership with The Betsy – South Beach, calling it “an opportunity to share passion for writing.” A portion of the post is below.

Kayleen Padron/Staff Writer

Panthers at The Biscayne Bay Campus can experience the creative writing process first-hand at this year’s “Writers on the Bay” reading series, featuring award winning, best-selling author Ann Hood.

The Creative Writing Program, along with the Wolfe University Book Store and The Betsy Hotel, will be sponsoring the event with special thanks to the bookstore manager, Erica Garvey and Deborah P. Briggs of the hotel. Free food and refreshments will be served following the reading.

The program invites four writers every year to the University to the reading series. Julie Wade, an assistant professor of the Creative Writing program, has coordinated the event along with other students and faculty.

“We who teach and study creative writing have the opportunity to share our passion for the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative writing with a larger audience by bringing a diverse group of writers to campus,” said Wade.


Lauren Grodstein, February Writers on the Bay writer in Residence at The Betsy.
Lauren Grodstein, February Writers on the Bay writer in Residence at The Betsy.

The Betsy and FIU Writers on the Bay Series welcome Lauren Grodstein in February for a Reading on Feb. 23 at FIU Biscayne Campus, and a Breakfast Arts Salon on Feb. 24 at The Betsy.

A note from alum, Jodie Hollander

Jodie Hollander photoWe received an update from our Writer’s Room alum, Jodie Hollander, recently – with news of her upcoming poetry collection. Below you can read more about her work and her recent media exposure. We enjoy hearing from our alumnus – please share your updates when you can, too!

Dear Friends,

 I am delighted to share news of my forthcoming poetry collection, My Dark Horses, with Liverpool University Press (Pavilion Poetry Series). This book follows my childhood experience of growing up in a family of classical musicians, while also exploring themes of horses, storms, and the presence of the animal world. The book will soon be out in the world; however, I wanted to first share this news with my family and friends.

 If you are interested in pre-ordering a copy of my book, you can buy it from Liverpool University Press here: 

Recently I did a short interview about my the book for NPR Lake Effect, you can listen here:

Finally, should you find yourself in the UK during the month of May, I’ll be launching my book in Liverpool on May 9, and have readings scheduled in Liverpool, York, Oxford, Cambridge, London, and Brighton. My website,, will stay updated with information about times and locations.

I want to thank you all for your love and support of my writing over the years. This feels like a big step out into the literary world, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without your love and support!

 Sending best wishes to all as we venture into 2017!

Jodie Hollander,
Writer’s Room Residency, January 2014


From “Nickel in the Machine” by Gemma Sieff

Photo by Sarah MK Moody
Photo by Sarah MK Moody

The Betsy Hotel

By Gemma Sieff
January 15, 2017
The porch of the Betsy Hotel, a slender silhouette on the main drag of Miami’s South Beach, is flanked by wicker chairs well positioned for watching the slow rollerbladers, slower Rolls-Royces, and Jessica Rabbits flaunt their curves on Ocean Drive. The hotel’s Writer’s Room, which has been hosting distinguished poets, playwrights, novelists, musicians, and visual artists since 2012, is snug and uncluttered (a suite might abet procrastination). The first room on the ground floor, it is more bungalow than aerie, conjuring Hemingway in Kansas City—as a cub reporter he sometimes slept in a towel-cushioned bathtub at the Muehlebach Hotel—getting closer to Key West. Writers and nice hotels have long been simpatico—Oscar Wilde was arrested at the Cadogan in London, Truman Capote claimed to have been born at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans (technically untrue, though it accommodated him in utero), and Tennessee Williams loved New York’s Hotel Elysée so much he checked out in a casket. The Betsy sits squarely in this tradition but is enhanced by personal history: the poet Hyam Plutzik (1911–1962), author of Apples from Shinar and Horatio (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1961), was the hotelier’s father.
The Betsy designates the space a respite for writers in Miami, and means it both ways: a writer who’s just visiting (such as the novelist Richard Ford) as well as the writer who resides nearby (the poet and musician Oscar Fuentes). The room’s bookshelves hold an eclectic and ambitious mix of titles: poetry by Robert Lowell, Richard Wilbur, C. K. Williams, Hayden Carruth, and Galway Kinnell; Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings, translated by W. H. Auden and acquired in a book swap; Rattapalax, a journal of international writing; Harold Robbins’s vintage page-turner The Betsy. The artist and writer Donald Daedalus, who stayed for a week this past February, is bookish in new-media ways. He was comparing analog and digital archival processes (“analog is tables of contents, card catalogues, and a locked library door; digital is cloud storage and corrupt data; moisture is a problem for both”) for one project and e-publishing a 700-page collection of essays about walkways for another. “I’m interested in non-linear texts,” he told me, “book forms other than the codex.”
Gemma Sieff is a writer and editor based in New York.

Original post at

Young-Adult Fiction Author Greg Neri to speak at FIU

The Betsy and FIU proudly host author Greg Neri as part of The Betsy Writers for Young Readers Series, now in its 3rd year.

Neri will speak to FIU students at the main campus on January 24th, with a Breakfast Salon to follow at The Betsy – South Beach.

For information on this and all Writer’s Room events, visit our website at




Welcoming visual artist Anita Glesta to The Betsy Writer’s Room

Still image from Watershed, by Anita Glesta

The Betsy and Florida International University welcome International visual and installation artist Anita Glesta.  Glesta will be working with FIU in January 2017 to take footage of sea level rise and other pertinent imagery, as well as to collaborate on ideas and data that will be  integrated into her video project, Watershed, which has been projected in various venues internationally.


You may recognize the artist’s name and work from her recent installation in Miami at one of the fairs. You can see works and read a review of that work here: REVERIE

The Betsy plans to project Glesta’s video work, WATERSHED onto the new Betsy Orb, and has invited the artist to discuss her work at a Breakfast Arts Salon.

Learn more about the artist at her website, Check our calendar of events for details with this and other visiting artists during the 2016-17 season!

Sydney Hodkinson at The Betsy

December, 2016 – Photo of Michael Klotz, Professor at FIU and Violist for the Amernet Quartet, with noted composer Dr. Sydney Hodkinson, The Betsy Writer’s Room artist in residence, and faculty at Stetson University – in LT Steak and Seafood at The Betsy Hotel.

Syd was in town for a few days (with his lovely wife, Betty) for a performance of one of his string quartets at Miami Beach Urban Studios at Florida International University. It was a reunion for a number of attendees who were alums of the Eastman School of Music, where Dr. Hodkinson taught for many years. michael-klotz-and-sydney-hodkinson-12-2016