650’s mission is to promote writers and writing through live performances that celebrate the spoken word. It’s a literary forum for true personal stories—two pages and 650 words long, read aloud by the writer before an audience.
650 places a strong emphasis on the craft of writing—word choices, sentence structures, the arc of the narrative. Our submission-based events are developed around broad themes that invite a wide range of expression. An editorial committee curates and sequences the content of each show and, where necessary, our editors collaborate with writers to further refine their work. At the collegiate level, we work with educators to develop related writing curriculums and to mentor young writers.
Writers featured in our live events are coached and rehearsed in order to present them and their work in the best possible light. Individual readings are professionally recorded for our video archive and YouTube channel, and many writers are showcased and promoted in e-blasts, podcasts, broadcasts, and printed anthologies. Writers retain the rights to their work and have unrestricted access to their videos.
In the digital arena, people are far more available for spoken word than ever before, and in a publishing environment with a shrinking number of opportunities to showcase new voices, 650 is a high quality platform for aspiring and established writers alike. The website is a growing, searchable database offering access to writer biographies, news, backlists, and direct links to each writer’s work. Click here for upcoming topics and submission guidelines.
If you love language and craft and enjoy a good story, you’ve come to the right place.
Who Are We?
650 founder and editor Edward McCann is a writer whose features and essays have been published in national magazines and literary journals (American Baby, Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, Gardener, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, Milieu, The Sun and more). An award-winning television writer/producer and longtime contributing editor at Country Living, Ed is a member of New York City based Artists Without Walls and Irish American Writers & Artists. He’s written the text for partner Richard Kollath’s design books; his blog, My Rescue Mutt, chronicles his adventures with Willie, an eleven-pounder from central Louisiana, and he’s recently completed a memoir about the search for his missing nephew. His essay, “Pregnant Again,” was selected for the anthology, Listen To Your Mother, published by Penguin Books in April, 2015.
650 co-founder and executive producer Richard Kollath is an artist and designer who began his career as a university painting, drawing, and art history instructor. After nearly a decade of arts research in India and Pakistan, Richard formed his own company to create design features for many national magazines (American HomeStyle, Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, House Beautiful and others). A longtime contributing editor at Country Living and the author of several published books, Richard has frequently been featured as a design expert on network television and on the Lifetime, Discovery, and QVC cable channels. For over twenty years, Richard and Ed have produced books, magazine features, television segments, and events from their studio and office in New York’s Hudson River Valley.
650 Editor and Literary Ombudsman Steven Lewis is a columnist at Talking Writing, a member of the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute faculty, and a longtime freelancer whose work has been published widely, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, LA Times, Ploughshares, Spirituality & Health and many others.. His books include Zen and the Art of Fatherhood, The ABCs of Real Family Values, Fear and Loathing of Boca Raton (a Hippie’s Guide to the New Sixties). His new novel, Take This, was published by Codhill Press in Summer 2015. He lives, writes, and kayaks in the Hudson Valley and North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
650 Chief of Operations Jane Kaupp leads strategic marketing and communications for 650. With twenty years of experience marketing mass consumer brands such as NBC News, CNBC, BusinessWeek, Wired, Golf Digest and Woman’s Day, Jane brings to 650 her expertise in brand positioning, new product launches, audience and sales development, communications, social media, event sponsorships, and partnerships. Jane holds a B.A. in English Creative Writing from City University of New York at Hunter College. She lives with her husband and two children in a cottage near the beach on Long Island, NY.
650 Communications Director Gretchen Reed has three decades of experience in advertising, marketing and public relations. Having worked with a wide variety of corporate clients including Intel, Volvo, New Balance, and Nestle, she’s currently helping to save the land for life as Director of Marketing & Communications at Mohonk Preserve. Gretchen is responsible for strategic marketing, branding and PR for New York’s largest nonprofit nature preserve, but as former English major and librarian, Gretchen is thrilled to be associated with Writers Read.
650 Director of Photography Kevin O’Connor is a graduate of Digital Media Production from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Media production is Kevin’s passion, and his work in the film and broadcast industries include “Lovers and Madmen” and “Noisemakers”, both of which have been recognized for their storytelling and production value. Kevin has worked at Atlanta’s prestigious WSB-TV and with radio great Jim Metzner; a recent graduate the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation’s Technology Apprenticeship Program, he’s currently a freelance media producer in New York City and the tri-state region.
650 Chief Audio Engineer Jesse Chason is a graduate of the Music Industry program at SUNY Oneonta where focused on audio production. His production company, Glass Wave Productions provides audio and media services throughout the Hudson Valley and the New York tri-state area. Jesse manages audio at many live events and theaters and composes audio content for commercial licensing, producing, recording music, post production mixing and mastering. He also manages the studio at “The Photographers Place.”
650 videographer Adley Atia is committed to digital storytelling. As a video news editor at NY1 News, he assembles all the audio and visuals and works with reporters on deadline to create compelling stories that affect New Yorkers. A former intern at the renowned Prospect Park arts festival “Celebrate Brooklyn” and a graduate of the Digital Media Production program at the State University of New York at New Paltz, Adley spends some of his downtime playing piano or saxophone with friends—and putting his DSLR to use shooting video and stills for 650.
650 Technical Advisor Conrad Trautmann is Senior Vice President of Technology and Operations for Cumulus Media, Inc., parent company of the Westwood One Radio Network. Conrad’s decades of experience in radio production and engineering helps us maintain the highest quality sound. He’s overseen the production of large scale radio events such as the Olympics in Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens, Torino, Beijing, Vancouver, London and Sochi, as well as coverage of all political conventions and elections since 2000. Other major events he’s been responsible for include the radio production and national distribution of the Grammy Awards, the NFL regular season and Super Bowl, the Academy of Country Music Awards and the NCAA Sweet 16 and Final Four. Also an award-winning and accomplished author, Conrad has been a steady contributor of technical articles since 1988 to Radio World and Radio Magazine. He’s been recognized as one of the nation’s most admired radio engineers six times by Radio Ink magazine. He’s certified by and served five years on the national board of directors of the Society of Broadcast Engineers and also has held the position of Chairman of SBE Chapter 15 in NYC. In July 2013 he was recognized as Engineer of the Year by SBE Chapter 15.
650 Technical Advisor Stephen Kaupp is is co-founder and president of monarch + viceroy, a management consulting company serving clients in greater New York City. With more than twenty years of small business expertise, Stephen is an seasoned business-builder, dedicated to operational strategy and productivity for small and medium-sized businesses. Well-versed in the joys and challenges of entrepreneurial life—day-to-day operations and planning for long-term growth—he launched monarch + viceroy consulting services to help companies evolve and emerge.
650 Director Emeritus of Digital Media Production Gregory Bray is an award-winning Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the StateUniversity of New York at New Paltz. Instrumental in the June, 2014 launch of Writers Read, he teaches ‘Seminar in Digital Filmmaking,’ ‘Impacts of Television and Digital Culture,’ ’90 Minutes to Die: Film Noir,’ ‘Writing for Digital Media,’ and ‘Milestones in Documentary,’ and other theory and production courses. An independent media maker, Greg’s work has appeared on numerous networks including PBS and Current TV. He’s produced radio pieces for WAMC Northeast Public Radio, and earned several awards for his documentary ‘A Horse Connection,’ which has been distributed by Snag Films. Greg’s recent book was published through Atropos Press, and forthcoming articles are slated for The Journal of Popular Culture and MacFarland Press. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Broadcast Education Association, and is the Videography Director for the annual Woodstock Film Festival.
650 Editorial Committee
Rachel Aydt is a freelance writer/editor who’s worked on staff at various magazines including American Heritage and Cosmopolitan. An Assistant Professor at the New School University since 2002, her features and essays appear in anthologies and publications including Parents, the New York Times’ Motherlode blog, the Huffington Post, Redbook, and others.
Laura Shaine Cunningham is a “trans genre” author of books, plays and articles, best known for her memoir Sleeping Arrangements and her play, Beautiful Bodies. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Observer and many other publications.
Angela Davis Gardner, professor emerita at North Carolina State University, is a novelist who has won more than thirty awards for her teaching and writing. She has also taught at Meredith College, UNC- Chapel Hill, and Guilford College and has worked as a journalist and editor. Her critically acclaimed novels include “Butterfly’s Child,” “Plum Wine,” and “Felice”.
Joseph Goodrich has worked extensively in the theater as an actor and playwright, and his plays have been produced in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Portland (Maine), New Orleans, Chicago, and at colleges and universities across the country. His work runs the gamut from opera libretti to comic books.
Steven Lewis is a novelist and columnist at Talking Writing, Literary Ombudsman for Writers Read, and a member of the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute faculty. A longtime freelancer, his work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, LA Times, Ploughshares, Spirituality & Health and many others. His new novel, Take This, was published by Codhill Press.
David Masello is executive editor of Milieu, a national print magazine about interior design. Previously, he was senior editor at Town & Country magazine and deputy editor of 24thLetter.com, a startup website devoted to international news and culture. In addition to staff positions at Country Living, Art & Antiques, Travel & Leisure, Departures, and Avenue magazines, he was the founding editor in chief of The Out Traveler and was a hardcover nonfiction editor at Simon & Schuster.
Honor Molloy is a playwright and novelist and the author of the autobiographical novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage. She wrote the libretto for The Three Christs a music / theatre collaboration with Corey Dargel. Her dramatic work has been produced by New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, the Public Theatre, HERE, Dixon Place, Chicago’s Seanachai Theatre Company, Sydney’s Mardi Gras Arts Festival, and Inishbofin Arts Festival, among others.
When graphic designer Diane Fokas isn’t volunteering her time and talent for 650, she designs logos, branding, and corporate identity campaigns for a select international clientele. Visit her company’s website – Doen Creative – to see some of her work.
Intermission-bartender-for-hire Chris Dennison holds a masters degree in Jazz History at Rutgers-Newark. He spends his days playing piano, but you can find him in the evenings bumming around Astoria or working high-end private catering gigs in top secret locations (no, really – he can’t even tell his mother). Chris owns his very own washable tuxedo, made from recycled soda bottles and invulnerable to mud, cranberry vodka, jet fuel, deer blood and anything else that might find its way onto his lapel. Chris is ready to work, and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org