Literary Picnic

UPDATE: This event has been postponed. Please check back soon for the revised date and time. If you've already RSVP'd, the revised date and time will be sent to you via email. For questions and concerns, please feel free to contact us at

Pioneer Works and Tables of Contents join forces to present readings by our current Narrative Arts residents, Janani Balasubramanian, Jordan Kisner, and Aynsley Vandenbroucke accented by literary inspired dishes on the lawn of Nolan Park 8B at Governors Island. Governors Island is accessible via ferry from Manhattan and Brooklyn. For more, visit


  • September by Aynsley Vandenbrouke
  • Excerpts from Thin Places by Jordan Kisner
  • Notes on brown dwarfs by Janani Balasubramanian


  • Oyakodon (chicken and egg over rice) with plantains and onion ash
  • Avocado salad with pomegranate
  • Brown Dwarf Cake
  • Seltzer

Unfortunately dietary restrictions cannot be accommodated for this event, as dishes are drawn from readings and will be prepared in advance. If you have any food allergies, please alert us ASAP, so we can confirm if we can accommodate.

Janani Balasubramanian is an artist and researcher working at the intersections of contemporary art and science. Janani's work is rooted in years-long collaborations with scientists, through which they discover how artistic inquiry can meet, expand, and provoke new thought in relation to a given scientific discipline. They are currently a resident artist at Pioneer Works, the brown dwarf astrophysics group at the American Museum of Natural History, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Jordan Kisner is the author of the essay collection Thin Places, named one of the best books of 2020 by NPR. She is a contributing writer for The Atlantic, a columnist for the Paris Review, and her work appears in the New York Times Magazine, The Believer, n+1, Pitchfork, and others. She is also the creator of the LitHub podcast Thresholds. She is a 2021 Black Mountain Institute Fellow, and has received support from the Millay Colony, Art OMI, and others. She teaches creative writing at Columbia University.

Aynsley Vandenbroucke is obsessed with the movement of ideas, the choreography of language and experiences. Abrons Arts Center, Danspace Project, and The Chocolate Factory have presented her performances. Her writing has been published by PAJ- A Journal of Performance and Art, Seneca Review, and The Brooklyn Rail. She teaches at Princeton University where she’s developed interdisciplinary courses with titles like: Body and Language; Uncertainty; Power, Structure, and the Human Body; and Stillness. She co-founded Mount Tremper Arts in the Catskill Mountains and was co-curator there until 2014.

Tables of Contents brings together readers and eaters, using food as an entry point for experiencing books, music, art, and culture. Founded by chef Evan Hanczor in 2012, Tables of Contents has presented dinners inspired by classic fiction (like The Sun Also Rises and Their Eyes Were Watching God) and curated collaborations with over 100 renowned writers and artists in cities ranging from Brooklyn to New Orleans to Milan. Our first publishing project, the Tables of Contents Community Cookbook, was released in February 2021. Learn more at or find us on IG at @tables.of.contents.