For the Birds! And for You

IMG_5623Each summer, we raffle a large piece of art and split the purse with the artist. Thanks so very much to Youngstown sculptor Tony Armeni for collaborating with us on this gorgeous piece. Word is, with an Armeni in your back yard, the birds show up in top hats.

Tickets are 2 for $5.00, available here, at  Cultivate Cafe where the sculpture will be on display, at our events, from our board members, or by mailing a check to us at Lit Youngstown/323 Wick Ave. #9/Youngstown/44503.

Your donation helps us fund our programs, and we’re so grateful. Good luck! If you win, we’ll come and take a picture.

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Call for Proposals: Fall Literary Festival

Literary Festival Logo Design

Second Annual
Fall Literary Festival
September 21-22, 2018



This year’s festival will feature accomplished visiting writers, a book fair, and panels on many aspects of the literary arts. Proposals are now being accepted. Registration will open July 15 with an early bird rate.


Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for presentations at our annual Fall Literary Festival to be held September 21-22, 2018 at Youngstown State University in Ohio.

The two-day festival will feature an acclaimed faculty of visiting writers including Nin Andrews, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Jeanne Dutton, John Kerstetter, Jacqueline Lipton, Dave Lucas, Craig Paulenich, and Judith Vollmer. Events will include a book fair, readings, craft talks, workshops and panel discussions.

General Information
Sessions will be 50 minutes. Proposals may include panel and roundtable discussions, readings, or workshops. Group and individual proposal submissions are welcome. Individual proposals will be grouped into panels by the conference organizers.

Conference presenters must register for the conference. Accepted presenters will be offered the presenter rate of $35.

Please click here to access the Proposal Submission Form.

Presentation Topics
We seek proposals from a diverse cross section of voices and experiences. All genres are welcome and encouraged.

Possible topics for proposals include:

  • Navigating the publishing industry
  • Creative readings
  • Creative writing pedagogy
  • Balancing writing with work, family, and social groups
  • Community-based writing
  • Creative writing outreach
  • Residencies, conferences and other opportunities
  • Developing best practices in your craft
  • Collaboration and mentoring
  • Responsibly engaging diverse voices and perspectives
  • MFA programs
  • Writing about identity and marginalized experiences
  • Literary topics in all genres
  • Writing for mass media: journalism, blogging, podcasts, radio, etc.
  • Comics & graphic novels
  • Film & new media
  • Hybrid & short forms
  • Storytelling
  • Strategies for teaching and researching writing
  • Engaging and sustaining a writing life

Please click here to access the Proposal Submission Form.

Proposals will be accepted until Saturday, June 30, 2018. Acceptances will be announced by July 15, when registration will open.

First Wednesday: Melissa Barger & William Heath

Join us for a reading of poetry and historical fiction at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., 7:30. Doors open at 7:15. Open mic emceed by Amanda Miller.

MelissaMelissa Barger has been writing for half her life. She is employed with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and is revising a Young Adult Historical Fiction novel set in Youngstown during the summer of 1863.

William Heath was born in Youngstown and grew up in Poland. He heathis the national-award-winning author of novels: The Children Bob Moses Led, Blacksnake’s Path, Devil Dancer; poetry: The Walking Man; history: William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest; and interviews: Conversations with Robert Stone. He will be reading some recent poems set in the Steel Valley.

Writers Circle May 17

*New Time*

pexels-photo-268283Would you like some gentle feedback on new work you’ve written?

The Lit Youngstown Writers Circle will meet in our office at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. at 6:00, Thursday, May 17. Come to the door on the right, under the arch, and ring the buzzer.

We welcome facilitator Kelly Bancroft. Bring 5 copies of one poem or story excerpt, maximum 5 pages.

Voices from the Rust Belt: Anne Trubek

anne trubekThe YSU Center for Working Class Studies and Lit Youngstown present Anne Trubek, Monday, May 14 from 6-7:30 at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, 151 W. Wood St.

Anne Trubek, founder of Belt Publishing & Belt Magazine and editor of recently released Voices From The Rust Belt will talk about the history of the company she founded with a small grant in 2012.

Since then, Belt has emerged as a leading voice in telling the complex story of the ‘Rust Belt’ by way of the very people who live within it or have been shaped by it.

The New York Times:Belt Magazine is dedicated to exploring the reawakened regional identity symbolized by abandoned industrial landscapes, corner taverns and unfancy beer, while also giving writers enough space to push past the Shinola-like clichés.”

The event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be provided.

More on Anne and Voices:

The Woman Who Is Telling The Story Of The Rust Belt
Our Collective Ignorance About the Rust Belt Is Getting Dangerous (Time Magazine)

Food for Thought: Camp Olvido

camp olvidoLawrence Coates, historical fiction writer, was a First Wednesday Series reader and is the author of Food for Thought selection The Garden of the World. His novella, Camp Olvido, was recently optioned for a film. Read more about the book here.

We will meet at Cultivate Cafe, 901 Elm St., on Wednesday, May 9, from 6:00-7:00 pm. If you would like to order a bite to eat, please arrive well before the counter closes at 6:00.

We are at the end of a series of books that explore the American experience. Peruse the rest of the titles here. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us.

Ginny Taylor on #OccupiedWarren

Lit Youngstown’s intern Josh Naumann asked Lit Youngstown board member Ginny Taylor about her upcoming visual-literary art collaboration with #OccupiedWarren.

JN: When is the event, and what time during the day?

JT: #OccupiedWarren is a 2-day temporary art exhibit in Warren’s Garden District, June 8 (5-7pm) and June 9 (12-5pm).  The project is hosted by Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (TNP) and the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County (FACT). What’s really interesting about this exhibit is that the art is themed around blight, abandonment, and revitalization, and it’s being displayed in an abandoned, non-salvageable house that will be demolished in the future along with any of the art created on the walls or within the rooms.

So some of the art will be transient, some will probably be removed. The timing of this event also coincides with the Warren Art Hop which is happening on Saturday, June 9, so Warren will be alive with art this weekend!

What kind of art will be at the event? Paintings, sculptures, a mix of everything?

Yes! The artists are free to choose whatever medium they want. Some of the art will be painted on the walls. Other pieces will be sculpted into and out of the walls. Other pieces are free standing. My work focuses on mixed media art journaling, which I’m creating on sketchbook paper and on some of the ceiling tiles from the house. The exhibit is really going to be quite diverse, interesting, eclectic, and exciting.

Will the art reflect on life in the Warren area, or is there a broader range?

I believe the art will reflect what’s happening in Warren, but by extension the Rust Belt area which includes the Mahoning Valley. The topics of blight, population loss, industry and job loss, and how we transition from what we once knew into what we might become as a culture and society are universal themes. The project is also modeled to some extent on the highly successful Rooms to Let: CLE produced by the Slavic Village Community Development Corporation. What’s unique about #occupiedwarren is that there is a theme of blight to revitalization.

I remember you said the house has been long abandoned; is there a history behind that house?

I don’t know the history of the home, other than at some point, it was remodeled into apartments, so there’s a kitchen on the second floor. From some of the papers organizer James Shuttic salvaged from the house (and I’ll use in my work), it’s evident that people who lived there paid bills, read newspapers, wrapped children’s birthday gifts, liked Currier and Ives calendars. Pretty normal everyday people living their lives like everyone else.

What is something you want the event to express to those who visit?

While I can’t speak for what other artists are doing because it’s going to be a surprise when we all see how each of us has interpreted the house and the theme, I want the event to express hope. That despite really trying times for our area, we as a community are in the process of a transition, moving from what we once were into what is now emerging. And the arts and small businesses are helping to create this new renaissance for Warren.