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Writers Speak: From the Horrors of Gilgo Beach

Mon, 02/12/2024 - 15:15
Vanessa Cuti, a novelist, reads on Feb. 21 at Stony Brook Southampton. Anthony DiPietro, a poet, is next up, on March 20.
Anthony DiPietro photo by Julie Brigidi

It may be a new dawn for charmless misogynists in this country, but for a thriller based on the notorious Gilgo Beach murders along Suffolk's South Shore, it's probably for the best that the author chose not to focus on the grim likes of the "real life" accused sadist, Rex Heuermann, but rather tells the story through the eyes of a woman looking for love, or at least a marriageable partner.

She does this at her job with a police department's tip line, of all places, where she befriends a sex worker and goes on to uncover the twisted secret lives of any number of officers as she tries to solve the case. 

The novel is "The Tip Line" (Crooked Lane Books), the first from Vanessa Cuti, and she'll read from it on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. on the Stony Brook Southampton campus for the revived Writers Speak series from the Lichtenstein Center's M.F.A. program in creative writing and literature. The author, in point of fact, has an M.F.A. from Stony Brook University.

The free series comes at a pace of once a month — frequent enough to keep you interested, infrequent enough to give each one the air of a happening. Following, on March 20, will be Anthony DiPietro, described in his jacket copy as "a gay sex poet and arts administrator originally from Providence, Rhode Island." He, too, has an M.F.A. from Stony Brook, and he'll be reading selections from "kiss & release," out this week from Unsolicited Press. 

"If a poetry book could sleep around, get divorced, and fall in love with a hookup," in the words of his website, "that book would be 'kiss & release.' "  

April 10 brings the South Fork's most famous farmer, Scott Chaskey, and his latest collection of essays, "Soil and Spirit: Cultivation and Kinship in the Web of Life" (Milkweed Editions), and the series wraps up for the spring with a May 1 reading by students in the  M.F.A. program.

Writers Speak is held in the Rakoff Studio, upstairs in Chancellors Hall. The readings open with receptions at 6:30 p.m. More information can be found at

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