About Us

Literary Manhattan is a community of lifetime literature students who recognize the interdependence of the literary lifecycle, from the moment of inspiration to the moment of publication and beyond.

We exist to support, promote, unite, educate, inspire and learn from the literary community, to reveal the enriching power of literature as it already exists on every corner of New York.

We seek to foster a sense of community that evolves the personal experience of reading to also include a social interaction, both online and offline.

We encourage everyone, especially those disenfranchised by more traditional ways of learning, to identify and follow their own literary experience, not only through the written words of others, but their own.

Board of Directors

Michael's Portrait

Michael del Castillo

Chairman of the Board of Directors


After graduating from Mercer University, Michael studied for one year at Oxford University. He then moved to New York and worked at the Library Hotel in Manhattan, where the idea for Literary Manhattan was born. He earned his M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and splits his time between Literary Manhattan and reporting on financial technology with CoinDesk. He is a founding board member of Pen Parentis.

Aaron's Portrait

Aaron Siewert

Vice President
Website Content Manager

Shortly after earning a degree in Marketing from the University of Arizona, Aaron backpacked across Europe in 2004, where he expanded his love of international literature. In addition to being on the Board of Directors for Literary Manhattan, Aaron worked in Midtown for seven years, and ran the New York City Marathon in 2013. He has recently moved to his hometown of Phoenix, AZ where he continues his pursuit of excellence in New York literature.

Nephi's Portrait

Nephi Mata


Born in Manila, Nephi graduated from Metro Manila College before transferring to BYU Hawaii to study International Cultural Studies, with focus in Communications. He spent one year in Florida working with Disney before moving back to New York City in 2006. He loves outdoor adventures and craft beers. Nephi currently works for an innovative young company providing state of the art meeting spaces to Fortune 500 companies.

Eric's Portrait

Eric Chase

Director of Research and Development

Eric is a graduate of the University of Maine, and is extremely passionate about literature, performance, playwriting, history, and art. He works as a production manager for special events, galas, and corporate events. He works regularly with Dysfunctional Theatre Company, Emerging Artists Theatre Company and the filmmakers at Land of Nod, Inc. He is a licensed tour guide and operates the Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl.

Jorene Rene's Portrait

Jorene René

Director of Technology



Jorene is the founder of Prosper Agency, a digital design company based in New York City. Previously, he worked at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, the oldest law firm on Wall Street, which also helped Literary Manhattan get its non-profit status.

Joe Danielewicz's Portrait

Joe Danielewicz

Social and Engagement Editor


Joe is a veteran broadcast and online journalist. He has applied his professional talents to news projects commissioned by large social media enterprises in New York City; worked as a TV producer for multiple networks in Washington, DC; and served as a reporter covering South Asia from New Delhi, India. Joe lives in Brooklyn but loves all of the city’s boroughs. He is an alumnus of Miami University (Ohio) and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

Advisory Board

M.M. De Voe's Portrait

M.M De Voe

Pen Parentis

M. M. is a Manhattan-based writer who has won awards and published short fiction in nearly every genre. She also won multiple Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grants for the Pen Parentis Literary Salons, which she started in 2009 as a platform for writers who are also parents. In 2013, the organization Pen Parentis, Ltd, was incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit to provide resources to authors who are parents to help keep them on creative track. De Voe continues to serve as their founding director, while also working on a novel and raising two ingenious city-kids and an urban rabbit.

Steven Drukman's Portrait

Steven Drukman

Award Winning Playwright

Steven is an award-winning playwright and former writer for The New York Times and many other publications, his best known plays include: Another Fine Mess (Pulitzer Prize nomination for Drama), The Prince of Atlantis (published in “American Theatre” magazine), In This Corner (Best Play, San Diego Critics Circle) and Going Native. His work has been produced or developed at the Manhattan Theatre Club and many other venues. He’s taught playwriting nationally and internationally, and is a professor at NYU.

Kentaro Okuda's Portrait

Kentaro Okuda

Literary Map NYC



Born in Japan, Kentaro moved to New York City in 2000 to study at New York University’s prestigious Interactive Telecommunications Program, which Forbes Magazine called “New York’s secret tech weapon.”

Rocco Staino's Portrait

Rocco Staino

Empire State Center for the Book

Rocco is the chairman at Empire State Center for the Book, which administers the New York State Writer’s Hall of Fame. He is a contributing editor for School Library Journal, Huffington Post, and in November 2014 became the host of StoryMakers on KidLit.TV. He is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York.