Mother Courage: Stories of Holding Ground

Sometimes we don’t go out and seek a battle – it finds us: in a Cracker Barrel Restaurant, in our neighborhood, in our rose garden, or in our own house, right in front of the guinea pigs. And before we know it, we’re taking a stand on gay rights, the politics of skin color and environmentally friendly pest control. Join us this Mother’s Day as we examine moments of holding firm, refracted by the lens of motherhood. We’re not saying all these stories are about mothers. But mothers are present, as they so often are, when we’re bravely standing our ground.

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The Storytellers

Cyn Vargas

Cyn Vargas' short story collection, On The Way, (Curbside Splendor, 2015) received positive reviews from Shelf Awareness, Library Journal, Heavy Feather Review, Newcity Lit, Hypertext Magazine, Necessary Fiction and others. Her prose and essays have been published in the Chicago Reader, Word Riot, Split Lip Magazine, Hypertext Magazine, Midnight Breakfast, Birds Thumb, and elsewhere. She received a Top 25 Finalist and Honorable Mention in two of Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers Contests, is the recipient of the Guild Literary Complex Prose Award in Fiction, two Ragdale Writers Residencies.

Mary Bowers

Mary is a Chicago-based writer and designer whose essays and articles have appeared in Inc., Hip Mama, Word Riot, Windy City Times, and the anthology "And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents, and Our Unexpected Families." She's in the Creative Writing MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles and working on a novel.

Nabeela Rehman

After six years of studying the circadian clocks of fungi, Nabeela M. Rehman obtained a PhD in biochemistry from Dartmouth College. She lives with her husband, three children, and an impressive collection of multicultural recipes in Willowbrook, Illinois. Nabeela’s fiction short stories have appeared in Chicago Parent, The Islamic Monthly, Black Lantern Publications, Chautauqua, Petrichor Review, Critical Muslim and Literary Mama. She is a member of the La Grange Art League and her oil paintings can be seen at the league gallery. Nabeela is currently an adjunct professor of pharmacology at University of Illinois, Chicago campus.

Sandra McCollum

Sandra McCollum’s work as an educator evolved into teacher training, management and representing the New Orleans Public Schools as the liaison with the corporate community, while simultaneously working as an adjunct professor of the Humanities at more than one University. She has also been the recipient of two Fulbright-Hays Fellowships to Thailand and Brazil. Sandra has been involved with GeNarrations, a theme based writing program at The Goodman Theatre, for the last four years. She has performed her narratives at the Goodman Theatre, the Three Cat Productions, and Fillet of Solo. Her articles have been published in periodicals, sports journals, genealogical publications, and reprinted by The Hill, considered a top political website by both US lawmakers and the White House.

About the Neighborhood Series

There is nothing like listening to a good story with great company and sharing drinks and food around the table. For over 17 years, 2nd Story has been offering up just that at venues throughout Chicago and beyond. Instead of finding one single new home for ourselves, we are always on the lookout to sow seeds in a variety of neighborhoods across the city. In pursuit of our vision of fostering community through the experience of sharing stories, we will host shows, workshops, and other events in each neighborhood. If you have a favorite neighborhood venue that you think would be great for 2nd Story, we'd love to hear about it. Drop us a line at!