“A literary mixtape with perfect flow and variety”
— The New York Times
Watch our livestream shows here.
From College Readiness programs in East Harlem to storytelling workshop in Atlanta, Georgia, SpeakEasy serves youth where they live.
The SpeakEasy Podcast
Co-founders Amanda Foreman & Lucas Wittmann host a Seriously Entertaining program featuring some of today’s most dynamic storytellers
SpeakTogether in the Schools
Storytelling performances, spoken word workshops, after-school mentoring, and College Readiness sessions for teens
The SpeakEasy Bookmobile
Bringing books to readers in New York City and beyond, from plazas in The Bronx to the Boys & Girls Club in Jackson, Mississippi
Inspiring talks by authors for teens and teachers around the country, sharing the power of storytelling with books and educational toolkits
ON STAGE: Experience SpeakEasy’s programs via YouTube, livestream & podcast. Sign up for updates about future shows here.
IN SCHOOLS: If you are an educator or know someone who works with teens, please invite them to join our Teacher Network here.
ON THE STREETS: Our Bookmobile delivers free books to “book deserts” in New York City and beyond. Want to partner? Get in touch!
House of SpeakEasy Celebrates 10 Years
Take a look back at House of SpeakEasy’s origin story in this short video produced on the occasion of the organization’s 10th Anniversary Gala on April 13, 2023 in New York City.
- Ten years
- Hundreds of authors
- Thousands of students & teachers
- 25,000+ new books delivered for free
Thank you to all the donors and sponsors who helped us get to this milestone.
Join us on June 6 at Joe’s Pub for our final Seriously Entertaining of the season! Come see war reporter and CEO of The Reckoning Project: Ukraine Testifies Janine di Giovanni, acclaimed writer and translator Daniel Nieh, award-winning novelist and professor Ivy Pochoda, and New York Times-bestselling science writer Eliot Schrefer dazzle the audience with stories tied to the theme “All That Glitters.”
Check back here often for show lineups and updates about upcoming events. And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to watch past performances!
Impact: SpeakTogether in the Schools
Help us continue to deliver our programs to those who need them most. 100% of our donations go directly toward serving our mission of connecting authors and audiences, students and communities.
ON THE STREETS: The SpeakEasy Bookmobile
The SpeakEasy Bookmobile is looking forward to the launch of multiple planned spring season give-aways in The Bronx, East Harlem, and Far Rockaway! Working with literacy and community partners, we’re helping families build their own at-home libraries and providing free books to residents in housing developments in partnership with NYCHA. Thank you for swinging by and saying hello—and taking a free book of your choice!
Watch a short video here about the impact we’ve had, and stay tuned for updates about exciting new partnerships for our spring 2023 season.
For more on the Bookmobile:
Check out highlights of recent bookmobile activations here.
Episode #2: The Razor’s Edge
Featuring three storytellers living at “The Razor’s Edge”: Man Booker Prize–shortlisted Madeleine Thien showing us both sides of the blade; poet and Pulitzer Prize–finalist Elizabeth Alexander giving us “The Light of the World;” and bestselling author James Rebanks sharing a love letter to his father from The Shepherd’s View.
From page to stage, students who participate in SpeakEasy’s Storytelling Workshops work closely with published authors and performers to learn about craft and voice, shaping their very own personal stories in the process. Over the course of several months, writers develop a bond with the students and witness them transform from tentative writers to powerful performers, culimnating in a final performance in front of peers and teachers.
Watch a short video featuring students from Williamsburg High School of Arts & Technology who found the confidence to step up to the mic.
Inspired by our Seriously Entertaining cabaret shows at Joe’s Pub in the East Village, our Student Matinees use the same storytelling model to bring dynamic speakers into schools across New York City, inspiring teens to imagine being the authors of their own stories. Since 2017, SpeakEasy has featured acclaimed writers speaking on a range of themes relevant to students’ experience, such as “The Road Less Travelled” and “You Only Live Once.”
Watch a short video about what this opportunity meant to authors who participated at Fordham High School for the Arts in The Bronx.
SpeakTogether in the Schools
“Kids need to know how much you care before they care about how much you know.” Middle grade teacher and longtime friend of SpeakEasy Torrey Maldonado is the author of the YA novels Tight and What Lane? Torrey performed on stage at Joe’s Pub in the fall of 2019 and at outdoor readings with the Bookmobile in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In 2019-2020, he led multiple after-school workshops for teens at Union Settlement’s College Readiness program in East Harlem, part of House of SpeakEasy’s “SpeakTogether in the Schools” initiative.
Watch a short video with Torrey about the magic of storytelling and why SpeakEasy’s programs are unique.
Students in Their Own Words
SpeakEasy offers a range of programs, including in-person student matinees, storytelling workshops, and mentoring opportunities in NYC high schools and after-school programs. Since 2015, SpeakTogether has been connecting published authors directly with students, ensuring that their books are made freely available. Writers work closely with the next generation of storytellers to provide unique insights into what it means to be a writer and help students hone the critical thinking skills necessary for the pursuit of higher education.
Watch a short video to hear about the impact our programs are having directly from teens.
Connecting Writers with Students
“Just getting the opportunity to be with successful people and hearing really intimate things about them was very inspiring—and being able to ask questions on a personal level and in smaller groups was incredible.” Students from longtime partner Edward R. Murrow High School were joined by novelists, memoirists, and poets, including Ellen Hagan, Jerad Alexander, and Samira Asma-Sadeque, for a special storytelling performance.
Watch a short video with the authors and students who participated.
Engaging with Young People
“I never had this opportunity as a kid—I never had writers coming to my school. And I think that would have really been a game changer for me.” Last fall in The Bronx, award-winning authors, poets, and educators such as Alex Segura, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, and Charlie Vázquez performed at a matinee for students at one of our new partner schools: Fordham High School for the Arts.
Watch a short video to hear what it meant for the authors who performed.
Join our Teacher Network
Our “SpeakTogether” program empowers high school students by connecting them directly with authors to help find their voices and share their stories. We complement existing curricula with creative arts toolkits inspired by our in-person student matinees and storytelling workshops.
“The stories the authors share with students are full of heart, imagination, and transformative action. Those ideas get translated into the toolkits and become a topic of classroom conversation.” — NK Iguh, Manager of Education & Equity
Join our Teacher Network to learn more and access our educational enrichment materials, including audio & video recordings, writing prompts & activities, and recommendations for further reading.
Thank you to our partners, supporters & donors
Watch a short video about our impact during the pandemic from co-founders, Amanda Foreman & Lucas Wittmann. As House of SpeakEasy approaches its tenth anniversary, we are grateful for the support of our donors and partners. With your help, we made an even deeper impact in the communities we serve.
We count on your support. Please continue to help by making a tax-deductible donation today.
Become a Member
Join today to receive perks like discounted tickets to Seriously Entertaining shows at Joe’s Pub, special invitations to V.I.P. events, access to premium content, signed books, free totes, and more. Your membership dues make it possible for us to connect authors with students in under-resourced schools and ensure that they receive free copies of authors’ books via the SpeakEasy Bookmobile.
SERIOUSLY ENTERTAINING: Through the Years
We invite you to watch highlights from past editions of our flagship program, which The New York Times calls “a literary mixtape [with] perfect flow and variety.” Our monthly cabaret series features authors taking the stage and screen to riff and ruminate informally, dinner-theater-style, on the evening’s theme.
Watch Seriously Entertaining programs on our YouTube channel, via livestream, and through our podcast. Sign up for updates about upcoming shows here.
House of SpeakEasy Blog
The SpeakEasy Storefront on Bookshop.org
House of SpeakEasy is proud to participate in the #BlackoutBestsellerList & #BlackPublishingPower campaigns by highlighting books by Black writers, poets, and illustrators, many of whom have participated in our programs. Read more about the campaign here.
Visit our storefront on Bookshop.org to view the list of titles by past and upcoming SpeakEasy performers.
The SpeakEasy Bookmobile has delivered over 15,000 free book bags and school supplies to communities across New York City in partnership with NYC Department of Housing and the Department of Transportation. Our regular visits to Fordham Plaza in The Bronx, Corona Plaza in Queens, and Myrtle-Wyckoff in Brooklyn and beyond have allowed us to help families build their own home libraries.
Check out some of the most popular titles on Bookshop.org and purchase your own copies to help support our work in the streets!