Lit 16 Reading with Candice Marie Benbow, Aaron Foley, Chantal V. Johnson, and Alejandro Varela

Join Robert Jones Jr., Kiese Laymon, and Deesha Philyaw in celebrating four debut authors––Candice Marie Benbow, Aaron Foley, Chantal V. Johnson, and Alejandro Varela—and their must-read works! Loyalty is honored to be one of the bookstore partners for the Lit 16 and to host the virtual launch event of this new reading series! This event will be held digitally via Crowdcast and is free to attend. Click here to register for the event. You can also order any of the books below to be automatically added to the event's registration list. There will also be an option to snag the book during the event. Don't miss the rest of the books and authors on the Lit 16 roster!


Aaron Foley is the founding director of the Black Media Initiative at the Center for Community Media at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Previously, he was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, chief storyteller for the City of Detroit, and editor of BLAC Detroit Magazine. He is also an author and veteran freelance journalist, having contributed to This American Life, The Atlantic, Columbia Journalism Review and more.

Candice Marie Benbow is a multi-genre theologian who situates her work at the intersections of beauty, faith, feminism and culture, giving voice to Black women’s shared experiences of healing and journeying toward wholeness. Reimagining how faith can be a tool of liberation and transformation for women and girls, she challenges Black women to think critically about how they see God, themselves and the world.

Chantal V. Johnson is a tenant lawyer and writer. A graduate of Stanford Law School and a 2018 Emerging Writer Fellow at The Center for Fiction, she lives in New York.

Alejandro Varela (he/him) is a writer based in New York. His work has appeared in The Point Magazine, Boston Review, Harper's Magazine, The Rumpus, Joyland Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, The Offing, Blunderbuss Magazine, Pariahs (an anthology, SFA Press, 2016), the Southampton Review, The New Republic, and has received honorable mention from Glimmer Train Press. He is a 2019 Jerome Fellow in Literature. He was a resident in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s 2017–2018 Workspace program and a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Nonfiction. Alejandro was an associate editor at Apogee Journal from 2015 to 2020. His graduate studies were in public health. His first book, The Town of Babylon, is out 3/22/2022. His second book, The People Who Report More Stress, is forthcoming (Astra House, 2023).

Please note Loyalty has a zero tolerance policy for harassment or intimidation of any kind during this virtual event. 

Event date: 
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
Boys Come First By Aaron Foley Cover Image
ISBN: 9781953368256
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Belt Publishing - May 31st, 2022

The Town of Babylon: A Novel By Alejandro Varela Cover Image
ISBN: 9781662601033
Availability: Not In Store - Available to Special Order
Published: Astra House - March 22nd, 2022

Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who've Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn't Enough By Candice Marie Benbow, Melissa Harris-Perry (Foreword by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593238462
Availability: Not In Store - Available to Special Order
Published: Convergent Books - January 18th, 2022

Post-traumatic By Chantal V. Johnson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316264235
Availability: Not In Store - Available to Special Order
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 5th, 2022