Waterline Writers

Waterline Writers in on hold until we are past the COVID-19 era. To say we are disappointed is putting it mildly, but our community’s safety is our top priority. As we continue evolving into this new normal, we hope to offer more robust online programming. Follow Waterline Writers on our platforms for our latest updates and announcements. Stay safe, and happy writing.

Waterline Writers is a seasonal reading series featuring local authors from the suburbs of Chicago. Happily held inside the crown jewel of Batavia, Water Street Studios. We encourage everyone to attend their Second Friday art openings.

Waterline Writers has featured over two hundred different authors, poets, and performers from all over the country. Every one of our events is different.

Readers are selected by submission. We strive to create a wholistic environment each event, choosing complementary styles and themes for a balanced and pleasant evening. Please, if submitting, send us your best work. Multiple submissions are okay.

We are a reading series dedicated to excellence and quality. Since its inception in 2012, Waterline Writers has earned its reputation as the premier reading series of the Fox Valley.

The events are held once in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. All of our events begin at 7pm, followed by an Open Mic at 9pm. Doors do not open to the public until 6:30pm. Readings are traditionally held in the main art gallery.

We pay our featured readers, as well as offer them the opportunity to sell their collected works and be filmed on public access television. To do all of this, we ask you to please bring a suggested donation of $5. Your donation makes all of this possible.

Writers of all genres are welcome to submit.

This series is currently curated and hosted by Cathy Borders and Michelle Donfrio.


Waterline Writers is the brainchild of Anne Veague and Kevin Moriarity. Their inspiration came from their of Batavia’s art scene but couldn’t believe the absolute lack of literary events. Now, today, Waterline Writers has becomea staple in the local literary community. Not only because of the exceptional readers and performers, but also because of the chance to meet and connect with other writers and readers in the community.

Published authors have sold many books and unpublished writers have found the support to self-publish or submit to online or traditional publishers. New writers’ groups have formed and stars have risen. Writers working in isolation have found a home for the other quiet introverts interested in writing. They’ve noticed that an audience for their work provides satisfaction, recognition, and direction.

In 2018 Anne and Kevin stepped down to pursue other passions, now Cathy Borders from The Republic of Letters has taken over as Creative Director, and in 2019 Michelle Donfrio came aboard. They hope to carry out the legacy of Waterline Writers’ pristine reputation and also to find new voices and grow the community.

Water Street Studios

We don’t have members. Admissions ($5/$3 for students) make it possible to give each featured writer $25 and to cover our minimal expenses. However, if you like Waterline Writers and have benefitted from your connection with us, please become a member of Water Street Studios, where memberships start at $25! And let us know if you do! It means a lot to us—and them!

📸 :: Chuck Bennorth.

Waterline Team

Creative Director

Cathy Borders is a book midwife, editor, and Creative Director at the Republic of Letters. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in New York and a BA in literature from the University of Iowa. She’s the author of the forthcoming chapbook, Robin Williams Is My Uncle, and the novel, A Suburb of Monogamy. She founded both micropresses, Omnia Vanitas Review and RoL’s Analog Books. She thinks of writing differently, as something much more interesting, and much more important than a thing you produce for money. She is grateful for the opportunity to join and grow Waterline Writers.

For more of Cathy’s work and writings visit her website :: CathyBorders.com.

Co- Creative Director

Michelle Donfrio has her Masters in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University and a BA in English Writing. Her writing experience is varied; she has worked as a freelance journalist, television writing intern, and a literary journal editor. She currently works as a Communications Specialist for a grocery retailer and as a Republic of Letters seasonal teacher. Her creative writing has been published in literary journals such as Nonbinary Review and Poydras Review.


Barbara Barrows is a poet, actor & artist living in Batavia with her kid and various pets. By day, she is a media researcher working at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She is an integral part of both Waterline Writers and Teen Writers and Artists Project and heartily encourages you to support T-WAAP, an amazing resource for young writers and artists.

Hear Barbara’s readings from February 2017May 2014August 2013November 2012.

📸 :: Chuck Bennorth.

Ray (R.G.) Ziemer was born and bred on the south side of Chicago, but today makes his home on the West Branch of the DuPage River. He is a teacher, a construction worker, and a writer. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in local journals and his novel The Ghost of Jamie McVay is available from Black Rose Writing. Ziemer participates in the Naperville Writing Group and others. He is pleased to be part of Waterline Writers.Watch Ray’s readings from February 2015March 2015October 2015February 2016March 2017 and March 2018.

📸 :: Chuck Bennorth.


Bennorth Images is a husband-wife photography team who take photos for Waterline Writers. Chuck and Denise Bennorth work together as Bennorth Images, capturing photos for many organizations throughout the art community in the Fox River Valley. Their company motto is “Beautiful memories should be priceless, not expensive.”

Chuck Bennorth teases he’s a frustrated writer who has discovered he is better at taking photos of writers than he is at writing. Denise Bennorth is a retired teacher who finally has time for her passions of writing and photography. Her blog Randomocity is mostly memoir with a sprinkling of recipes, her favorite photographs, and anecdotes of life with Chuck, their six children, and two dogs.If you’d like to use any of the photos the Bennorths have taken (for free!), please give them photo credit, and let them know at bennorthimages@gmail.com.

Cover image :: An Abundance of Fruit by Severin Roesen courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.