The Rough Draft Writer’s Retreat: Meet the Panelists

Each month, a group of local writers, readers, and Rough Draft regulars reviews and votes on applications for the Rough Draft Writer’s Retreat series. Here’s a brief look at the panelists.


Sari Botton

Sari is a writer living in Kingston; Essays Editor for Longreads; editor of the award-winning anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving NY and its New York Times-Bestselling follow-up, Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for NY; and operator of Kingston Writers' Studio


Ryan Chapman

Ryan Chapman is a Sri Lankan-American writer originally from Minneapolis. His work has appeared online at The New Yorker, GQ, Bookforum, BOMB, Guernica, and The Believer. He is a recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and the Millay Colony for the Arts. His first novel, Riots I Have Known, was published by Simon & Schuster in May, 2019.


Author of the essay collection How to Manage Your Girlfriend's White Guilt, Duval is a journalist and touring comedian from Harlem who maintains Will Smith's 1998 drama Wild Wild West is a vastly superior film to the widely celebrated Black Panther.  Seriously.  (He'll explain it to you in person.) He now lives in Kingston.

Duval Culpepper


Kevin lives in Kingston and teaches French political thought and history at Bard College. His book, Democracy and the Virtues of Violence, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Kevin Duong


Sara is a writer whose work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, Longreads,  Bookforum, The Boston Globe MagazinePsychology Today and many other publications. She is the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single, published by PerigeePenguin in 2014. She lives in Kingston. 

Sara Eckel


Sara is a writer whose work has appeared in a number of print, online, and audio publications, including The Washington Post, Taste, Travel and Leisure, and The Splendid Table.  She is the editor of Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original, which was published by UNC Press in 2018, and the co-author of The Phoenicia Diner (forthcoming from Clarkson Potter, spring 2020). Sara teaches courses on foodways, food writing and oral history at Gallatin School for Individualized Study at NYU, and at Wallkill Correctional Facility via the NYU Prison Education Program. She lives with her husband, Chef Chris Bradley, and their toddler twins in Kingston.

Sara B. Franklin


Dara is an author, book-coach and workshop facilitator with the TMI Project in Kingston. Her first book, Great Space of Desire; Writing for Personal Evolution, is a memoir and creative guide for writers wishing to tell their own stories. Her personal essay “Changing My Mind About Pig's Feet and Cornrow” was published on Longreads.com. As a writing coach and workshop facilitator, Dara is deeply committed to creating transformational writing and learning experiences for individuals of diverse ages, cultures and cognitive backgrounds.

Dara Lurie


Sam wrote, produced, and hosted the live series Radio Happy Hour in New York City from 2009 to 2011, which featured musicians like Norah Jones, Tunde Adebimpe, The Hold Steady, Andrew WK, The Born Ruffians, Thao Nguyen, Jolie Holland, and dozens more. He has also developed unscripted television for Lucky 8 TV, Animal Planet, Discovery, Vulcan Media, TED, Sundance, Gloria Steinem, and more. He was a writer on Animal Planet’s Ocean Warriors, TWC’s Three Scientists Walk Into a Bar, and other TV series, and is a co-producer and story writer on the feature documentary, The Interpreter. He is currently in development on two scripted television series. 

Sam Osterhout


Dan is an author of mystery and horror novels including: The Stone ChildThe Ghost of GraylockThe Haunting of Gabriel AsheThe Book of Bad Things, and the Shadow House series. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island and grew up in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. In addition to winning multiple State Book Awards, Dan's scary stories have been chosen by the American Library Association as Best Books for Young Adults, and also as selections by the Junior Library Guild. His work has been translated into French, Greek, Polish, Russian, Farsi and more. After spending almost two decades in New York City, Dan now lives in Saugerties, New York. 

Dan Poblocki


Summer Smith was a publicist at NYC publishing houses Penguin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Bloomsbury for over a decade before becoming a freelance book publicist. She has worked with Junot Diaz, Amos Oz and Jesmyn Ward among many other bestselling and award-winning writers. She is now the Director of Communications for the City of Kingston. 

Summer Smith


Buddy is an artist, writer, and aerobics teacher in Kingston, and the author of Rainbows: the Funnest, Coolest Book About Beating Depression. This self-help series is a visually-driven guide to mood turnaround.

Buddy Valentine


Amanda and Anthony are co-owners of Rough Draft Bar & Books. Amanda is a former magazine editor and now writes for various publications including Health, Time, Buzzfeed, WebMD, and Runner’s World. Before moving to Kingston and opening Rough Draft, Anthony was a public high-school teacher, administrator, and coach in Brooklyn. Both Amanda and Anthony are avid readers, coffee drinkers, and beer lovers, and Rough Draft is their dream of bringing their favorite things together in one place.

Amanda and Anthony Stromoski