Karen Schubert, Co-Founding Director, is a Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts grad, the author of The Compost Reader (forthcoming from Accents Publishing, 2020) and five chapbooks, most recently Dear Youngstown (NightBalletPress 2019). Her poetry and creative nonfiction have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. Her awards include an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts and Vermont Studio Center. She’s been dreaming up Lit Youngstown for a few years and is thrilled over how much we’ve been able to do in such a short time.
Cassandra Lawton, Outreach Coordinator, is a student in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. She received her bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies and her master’s in Social Work from Michigan State University. Her career goal is to bring creative writing and its healing effects into therapeutic and community spaces, with a focus on expressive therapy and community outreach. Cassandra predominately writes fiction and is currently working on a high fantasy novel focusing on the bond between two sisters.
Lit Youngstown’s Board of Directors:
Nin Andrews’s (2020) poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, Agni, The Paris Review, and four editions of Best American Poetry. The author of seven chapbooks and seven full-length poetry collections, she has won two Ohio individual artist grants, the Pearl Chapbook Contest, the Kent State University chapbook contest, the Gerald Cable Poetry Award, and the Ohioana 2016 Award for poetry. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux, called Someone Wants to Steal My Name. Her book, The Last Orgasm, will be published by Etruscan Press in 2020.
Tricia D’Avignon (Chair) (2019) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts emphasis in Photography from Youngstown State University and her Masters in Urban Planning Design and Development from Cleveland State University. Currently, she works locally as an urban planner. She enjoys visiting other rustbelt cities with a group called Rustbelt Young Urban Preservationists to explore new cities, learn about their history, and photograph historic structures. Tricia spends her free time working on house projects, attending arts and music events, and volunteering with the Handels Neighborhood Association and Mill Creek Metro Parks.
Liz Hill (Co-Founder, Co-Treasurer) (2015) is a writer and spiritual director who has led workshops in creative process, discovering authentic voice, storytelling, and un-journaling. She has a masters in non-profit management from Regis University, and has held leadership positions in a number of book-related non-profits in her previous home, Denver Colorado. She coordinated the Youngstown Stories project which culminated in publication of the book Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories.
Anthony L. Manna, Ph.D. (2020) is a retired professor from Kent State University where he taught children’s literature, young adult literature, writing, and educational drama and served as a co-director of Kent State’s National Writing Project. A recipient of Kent State University’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the International Literacy Associations’s Arbuthnot Award for outstanding university teaching, he has taught in schools and universities in Turkey, Greece, Albania, and the US. Manna established and co-directed the Virginia Hamilton Conference on multicultural literature for youth. Manna is a former member of the executive board and former director of publications and editor for the Children’s Literature Association. He is co-author of award-winning picture books— Mr. Semolina-Semolinus: A Greek Folktale and The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece—and the collection Folktales from Greece: A Treasury of Delights. His illustrated middle grade fantasy—Loukas and the Game of Chance—was a 2019 Book Excellence Award Finalist and 2020 eLit Awards Gold Medal Winner.
Reaghan McCann (Co-Treasurer) (2020) received their B.S.A.S. in Hospitality Management from Youngstown State University in 2018 as well as a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership. They are currently pursuing their M.L.I.S. in Museum Studies at Kent State University with hopes of conducting research and teaching about objects through inquiry. They volunteer as a docent for the Butler Institute of American Art and currently work for the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. Through getting to know a tenacious group of volunteers in their previous role as a volunteer coordinator, they were inspired to give more time towards volunteering in the creative community. They are a member and volunteer for the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, whose motto translates to “Let the love of learning rule humanity.” Phi Kappa Phi supports multiple literacy initiatives and provides support for the continuing education of all members. When not studying, McCann enjoys finding challenging works of art and hiking in new places.
Tommy Mihalopoulos (NEOMFA, 2020) holds a bachelor’s of science in Chemistry and English with a creative writing emphasis from Allegheny College. At Allegheny he completed a thesis in creative nonfiction titled, Distillations: Essays on Science and Singularity in the Self as well as a thesis in organometallic chemistry. He was awarded the Kirk Caroselli English Scholarship to attend the Writing Workshops in Greece: Thessaloniki & Thasos (WWIG) and has served as an intern chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing with an emphasis in creative nonfiction through the Northeast Ohio MFA program at Youngstown State University.
Nicole Robinson’s (2016) poems have appeared in Great River Review, Columbia Journal, CALYX, and elsewhere. She’s received an Individual Excellence Award for poetry from the Ohio Arts Council and has over ten years of experience leading poetry and creative writing workshops in shelters, hospitals, prisons, and other community organizations. She serves on the steering committee of the Northeast Ohio Healing Arts Alliance. Robinson received her MFA in poetry from Ashland University and she is currently the Narrative Medicine Coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital where she leads workshops for children, families, and staff.
Joshua Nauman (2020) is a graduate of Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing. He is currently pursuing an M.L.I.S. degree at Kent State University to become an archivist. His creative work has been featured in YSU’s undergraduate literary magazine the Penguin Review.
Penny Wells (2019) was born in Dallas, graduated from Brown University, and taught in Youngstown City Schools for over 35 years. In 2009, she created the nonprofit Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past, which takes high school students to the Civil Rights sites in the South where they visit historical sites, meet leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and learn the lessons of the Movement. They return home with an action plan to implement in their schools and community. These students were able to get the Ohio General Assembly to pass their Ohio Nonviolence Week bill into law in 2013. They organized the First Annual Nonviolence Parade and Rally in downtown Youngstown. There are now a full week of activities during Nonviolence Week, which is the first full week in October every year.