Believe It or Not? Writing Surreal, Weird, and Speculative Worlds (Zoom)

Believe it or Not? Writing Surreal, Weird, and Speculative Worlds

If your writing contains out-of-this-world elements or the suspension of disbelief is key to your project, this workshop is designed to help you craft plausible speculative fiction. From space invaders, underworld adventures, to the supernatural, we will examine examples and strategies that make the impossible believable. Bring a concept or project overview to discuss. Fiction. Adults and teens, all experience levels welcome.

Believe it or Not? Adults & teens. Tuesdays, March 30-April 20, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (scholarships are available). Please register here before March 27.

Meet the Teaching Artist: An admirer of strange wonders, sleights of hand, and carousels, E. F. Schraeder writes poetry and fiction that is often inspired by not quite real worlds. Schraeder’s work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Pulp Modern, Mystery Weekly Magazine, and other journals and anthologies.

Take Our Survey, Please!

How are we doing? What can we do better? What should we keep doing? What should we start doing? We would love to hear your ideas. Thank you so much for taking this 10-15 minute survey, giving us a chance to hear from you.

After you complete the survey, click into a new window to win a $50 gift card from Belt Publishing! We love the work they’re doing, and we think you will, too. We’ll announce two drawing winners April 30.

Workshop: Writing About Identity and the Fractured Self (Zoom)

Writing About Identity and the Fractured Self

In this workshop we will read and write pieces dealing with identity and how we understand our sense of self via an array of topics related to the fractured identity including heritage, sense of place etc. Examined works include those of Scott Russell Sanders, Mary Karr and Mark Doty.

Writing About Identity and the Fractured Self. Adults & teens, all experience levels welcome. Saturdays, March 20-April 17, 10:00 AM to noon, on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (scholarships are available). Please register here before March 13.

Meet the Teaching Artist: Anastasios Mihalopoulos holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and English from Allegheny College. His thesis in creative nonfiction was titled, Distillations: Essays on Science and Singularity in the Self. He attended the Writing Workshops in Greece (WWIG) and is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing through the Northeast Ohio MFA program.

Fall Lit Fest Seeking Book Fair Participants

Welcome, presses, journals, programs, organizations and literary businesses! We look forward to hosting you. The book fair will be open Friday and Saturday, October 8-9, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Book fair tables will be secure overnight Friday.
There is no book fair table fee; however we ask that each person staffing tables register for the conference at the presenter rate of $45 (hardship scholarships are available). Book fair participants are welcome to schedule special events during the conference, such as a book signing, a discount hour, a drawing, or a manuscript pitch. We will include your events on the schedule. Please reach out to with any questions. To register, please click here.

PenPal Project Seeking PenPals!

Sending out love to the 23 sets of PenPals we have matched, along with their parents who help make it all happen. We have a great opportunity for kids between the ages of 8-11 to be matched with a PenPal. Our contact in Germany is helping us to match kids from throughout Germany and also Wisconsin.

Our PenPal parents tell us their kids love getting a letter just for them. For more information and to register (any age 4-12), please click here.

Teen Writers Workshop (Zoom)

Teen Writers Workshops are informal, respectful gatherings for writing and creative expression. All experience levels welcome. Teens only, please. Monday, March 8, 7:00-8:30 PM EST. Attend any number of workshops after registering here.

Meet the teaching artist: James Winter is an Associate Professor of English at Kent State University. His work has won the CRAFT Short Fiction Prize, a Pushcart Special Mention, an Honorable Mention for the J.F. Powers Prize, and was a finalist for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize. He has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and published in One Story, Salamander, PANK Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, and Dappled Things, among others.

Many thanks to James for leading this workshop! Carrie George will return in June.

Food for Thought: We Need New Names (Zoom)

Uzodinma Iweala praises NoViolet Bulawayo’s first novel in her New York Times review. “Bulawayo is clearly a gifted writer. She demonstrates a striking ability to capture the uneasiness that accompanies a newcomer’s arrival in America, to illuminate how the reinvention of the self in a new place confronts the protective memory of the way things were back home.”

Wednesday, March 10 at 6:00 on Zoom. Register here.

Copies are available from the Mahoning County Public Library, the Trumbull County Public Library, Maag Library via OhioLink, and the YSU Barnes and Noble.

Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us.

April 14 (graphic novel) Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
May 12 (novel) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Nickole Brown & Jessica Jacobs Poetry Writing Workshop (Zoom)

Coming Back to Your Senses: Writing with Awareness

With so much of our lives spent in the disembodied world online, this poetry intensive will focus on reconnecting you to your senses, encouraging greater awareness of yourself and your environment, and strengthening your poems by helping them sing with the texture of the well-observed world. Through a combination of close-readings of writers both old and new, generative exercises, and traditional workshops, this generative session will help writers refresh their senses and descriptive powers through a deep practice of awareness and an unflinching dedication to scrubbing away one’s preconceived notions of a thing in order to see it anew.

Sunday, March 28, 7:00-8:30. Limited seating. Register for this free workshop here.

Nickole Brown is the author of Sister and Fanny Says. She lives in Asheville, NC, where she volunteers at several animal sanctuaries. To Those Who Were Our First Gods, a chapbook of poems about these animals, won the 2018 Rattle Prize, and her essay-in-poems, The Donkey Elegies, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2020. In 2021, Spruce Books of Penguin Random House published Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire, a book she co-authored with her wife Jessica Jacobs, and they regularly teach generative writing sessions together as part of the SunJune Literary Collaborative.

Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), winner of the Devil’s Kitchen and Goldie Awards, and Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), a biography-in-poems of Georgia O’Keeffe, winner of the New Mexico Book Award and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Chapbook Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal, she lives in Asheville, NC, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, with whom she co-authored Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books/PenguinRandomHouse).

March First Wednesday Features Adam Hughes (Virginia) & Renay Sanders (Cleveland) (Zoom & FB Live)

Join us for a reading of poetry, followed by an open mic. Co-hosted by Jonie McIntire. Watch on Facebook Live or register for the Zoom room here. Wednesday, March 3, at 7:00 PM EST.

Adam Hughes is the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently Allow the Stars to Catch Me When I Rise (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Deep Cries Out to Deep (Aldrich Press, 2017). Born and raised in Central Ohio, he now resides in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where he is pursuing an MFA at Randolph College. He can be found on twitter @adamhughespoet1.

Renay Sanders has published poems in the Hessler Street, Writing Knights and Poet’s Haven anthologies, the chapbook Dancing in Place and the story “Cemetery Run” in the Women of Appalachia Project 2019. A native Clevelander, her poems are inspired by the characters she encounters in life and the beauty of the Cuyahoga Valley where she now resides.