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The Frunchroom Returns With Seven-Reader Lineup, Including A Rare Duet

 The crowd at The Frunchroom listens to a reader tell a South Side story during the second night of the storytelling series' second anniversary show April 27.
The crowd at The Frunchroom listens to a reader tell a South Side story during the second night of the storytelling series' second anniversary show April 27.
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Holly Donovan

MORGAN PARK — The Frunchroom live-literary series will feature an expanded group of seven South Side-centric readers as it returns at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to the Beverly Woods Restaurant.

Nareman Taha and Itedal Shalabi are among those set to take the stage in the Caravan Room at 11532 S. Western Ave. in Morgan Park. The native South Siders founded Arab-American Family Services in south suburban Bridgeview and will read as a duo.

“We always try to have an eclectic mix of readers, but this will be something we’ve never done before not just in featuring two more readers than usual, but also having the two of them work as a team,” said Scott Smith, The Frunchroom's organizer and emcee.

Smith, a Morgan Park resident, has again partnered with the Beverly Area Arts Alliance to produce the show. This organization is also responsible for the Beverly Art Walk, the Uprising Craft Market and Local Art on Tap.

The alliance will again provide retro-inspired, arts-driven decor. Here's a list of who will be featured:

Amara Eniya is a public policy consultant who serves as the president of Blue 1647, an entrepreneurship and technology innovation center. She is also the executive director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and serves as policy director for the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. Eniya ran for mayor of Chicago in 2015.

Cole Lavalais has lived in Beverly for the last 20 years and opened the Chicago Writers Studio in February in her neighborhood on the Far Southwest Side. Her first novel, "Summer of the Cicadas" debuted in May 2016.

• Kathleen Leahy is a native South Sider with a master’s degree in education. She teaches in Roseland, and her writing tends to focus on mental health, class mobility and Midwestern family dynamics.

Lyletta Robinson has authored the ChicagoNow blog “I Hate My Developer” since 2005. In it, she discusses a mixture of Woodlawn neighborhood issues, personal and unemployment stories along with South Side observations. She describes herself as “an opinionated woman with a gardening problem.”

Ernest Wilkins is a “cultural anthropologist” at Red Bull Media House and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in GQ, Pitchfork and Deadspin. Previously, he was a reporter and producer for Chicago Tribune’s RedEye, where he served as Chicago’s Wingman from 2011 to 2015.

• Nareman Taha and Itedal Shalabi's Arab-American Family Services is a non-profit social service agency. Since 2001, the group has served as a catalyst for social change by actively seeking to confront the myths and taboos that have kept some Arab-Americans from obtaining the assistance they need.

For more information, visit thefrunchroom.com or at beverlyarts.org.