Home

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!

Impact

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 returns to the streets of New York City! We are working with the Department of Transportation, the New York City Housing Authority, and a range of literacy partners to help families building their own at-home libraries. We are providing free books to visitors in public plazas and cultural hubs as well as residents in housing developments in The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. Swing by, say hello, select a free book of your choice, or grab one for a booklover in your family. Watch a short video here about the impact our Bookmobile had during the pandemic, and stay tuned for additional dates and partnership programs scheduled for this summer.

With Literacy Inc.:
  • When: Wednesday, August 17Time TBD
  • Where: Marconi Park, 115th Street, Jamaica, NY
  • What: South Jamaica Queens NYC Reads Initiative Back to School Event; More information to come!

For highlights of recent bookmobile activations, and more upcoming deployments, go here.

SERIOUSLY ENTERTAINING: “Between the Lines” on September 13                      Buy tickets here.

Seriously Entertaining returns this fall to Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater in New York City. Join us on September 13 for “Between the Lines,” featuring four writers sharing stories on the evening’s theme. Purchase advance tickets here.

Our June show spotlighted Tony Award–nominated playwright and writer Sarah Ruhl, author and essayist Zakiya Dalila Harris, writer and creative director Jen Winston, and debut novelist David Santos Donaldson shared heartfelt and compelling stories about “Being and Becoming.” Watch a replay of the livestream here.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel where you can watch past Seriously Entertaining performances.

The SpeakEasy Podcast

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.

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.

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 as well as 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.

Storytelling Workshops

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.

Student Matinees

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” to “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.

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.literary arts programs.

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.

SERIOUSLY ENTERTAINING: Through the Years

Seriously Entertaining is taking a break for the summer, but 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

On Loving a Place

Again and again, I saw individuals’ commitment to the neighborhoods they call home.

Writers and Storytelling: Larry Olmsted

Larry Olmsted is an award-winning journalist who has been a visiting professor at Dartmouth College, where he taught nonfiction writing. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Real Food / Fake Food and Getting into Guinness, a history of the Guinness Book...

The SpeakEasy Storefront on Bookshop.org

House is 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-Wykoff in Brooklyn and beyond have allowed us to help families to 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!