Author Archives: lityoungstown

First Wednesday: Cris Harris & Kellie Kirksey

The First Wednesday Readers Series presents memoirist Cris Harris & poet and wellness practitioner Kellie Kirksey. Co-hosted by Johanna Slivinske. Open mic to follow. Wednesday, May 5 at 7:00 PM EST. Watch on Facebook Live, or register for the Zoom room.

Cris Harris is the author of I Have Not Loved You With My Whole Heart, a memoir about growing up in a household wrestling with faith, addiction, violence and the AIDS epidemic. He teaches writing and experiential education at an independent school outside of Cleveland. Recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for nonfiction, Cris’s essays have appeared at Post Road, Proximity Magazine, The New Engagement, Nowhere Magazine and the Indiana Review.

Kellie Kirksey is a global traveler, speaker, poet, tree hugger, yoga teacher, holistic psychotherapist, family lover, drummer, dancer, spa promoter, heart centered hypnotherapist, live happily life consultant, essential oil enthusiast, wellness promoter and has presented workshops and wellness circles both nationally and internationally.

Fall Lit Fest 2021 Registration Opens

Are you a reader, writer, editor, publisher, or educator of the literary arts? We hope you will join us for the 5th annual Fall Literary Festival in Youngstown, Ohio, October 7-9.

This year’s conference theme is “Our Shared Story” and we are thrilled to host visiting writers Ross Gay (poet & essayist, Indiana University), Jan Beatty (poet & memoirist, Chatham University), Matt Forrest Esenwine (children’s author, New Hampshire), Bonnie Proudfoot (novelist & poet, Hocking College), & Mike Geither (playwright, Cleveland State University).

Seventy-three presenters from throughout the U.S. will present on many aspects of reading, understanding, writing, editing and publishing creative works. Please visit the Fall Literary Festival page to register and learn more, as we continue to add details and information. Hope to see you there!

This event is made possible with major funding from The Centofanti Foundation.

Lit by the Imagination

Happy National Poetry Month to those who celebrate! We love seeing poems springing up everywhere, like flowers and puddles and a good pair of wellies. To celebrate, we are sponsoring a new series, Lit by the Imagination, poems and prompts curated by Nin Andrews. We’ve created a Facebook page so you can find them all in one place.

Here are the month’s features. So many thanks to them for their wonderful poems and poetry ideas, and we hope you have fun writing. Many of these poets were included in the New Book News series, and we have tagged their readings here.

April 1: Jessica Jacobs, Nickole Brown, Denise Duhamel
April 2: Leona Sevick
April 3: Stephanie Strickland
April 4: Jeff Friedman
April 5: Kelli Russell Agodon

Continue reading

A Great Villain Kills It (Zoom)

A Great Villain Kills It

This workshop is focused on addressing villainy: crafting believable villains, looking at how they direct the story, and using 3-dimentional baddies vs evil for evil’s sake. The goal will be for writers to craft or improve on a villain in a piece of fiction they are working on.

A Great Villain Kills It. Adults & teens. Saturdays, June 5-26, 10:00 AM to noon EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (scholarships are available). Please register here before June 1.

Meet the teaching artist: N.P. Stokes holds a Bachelor’s in English from Youngstown State University. He is writer of realism, creative fiction, and poetry, as well as literary criticism. His works have been published in The Penguin Review, and he is the prose editor for Volney Road Review. 

Summer Mini Writing Camps! Limited Seating

Thanks to the generous offer of a few local backyards, we are going to meet in person for two summer mini writing camps. Seating is strictly limited, and we will follow safety protocols in place in June. Rain or shine. Kids under 12 are welcome with an adult. Thank you, and see you soon! We’ll have fun writing activities and snacks. We’re looking forward to writing with you!

Summer Mini Writing Camp 1
Saturday, June 12 1:00-4:00 pm. Limit 20. Register here.

Summer Mini Writing Camp 2
Saturday, June 26 1:00-4:00 pm. Limit 30. Register here.

Teen Writers Workshop

Teen Writers Workshops are informal, respectful gatherings for writing and creative expression. All experience levels welcome. Teens only, please. 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.

Writing Partner Speed Dating

Writing Partner Speed Dating

Writing partners can be an essential tool in a writer’s belt; they keep you accountable, share in your grievances, and help you improve your skills. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the benefits of having a writing partner, how to build a bond with another writer, and different strategies of keeping in touch with each other. Afterwards, we’ll host a “speed dating” session, where you’ll have the chance to meet your new ally in writing.

Writing Partner Speed Dating. Adults & teens. Friday, June 18, 5:00 to 7:00 PM EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $15 (scholarships are available). Please register here before June 15.

Meet the Teaching Artist: McKayla Anne Rockwell is a Youngstown-born writer currently attending and teaching at YSU. She has several short publications and ample experience working with Youngstown-based literary journals, including Volney Road Review and Jenny Magazine.

New Book News: Quintin Collins, Meg Kearney & Chloe Martinez (YouTube Live)

New Book News! We celebrate these poets and the publication of their new books Sunday, April 25 at 7 PM EST. Join us on Lit Youngstown’s YouTube channel for a live reading and conversation.

Quintin Collins (he/him) is a writer, editor, and Solstice MFA Program assistant director. His work appears in various publications, and his second collection, Claim Tickets for Stolen People, winner of the Wheeler Prize, is forthcoming in 2022.
The Dandelion Speaks of Survival (Cherry Castle Publishing)

Meg Kearney is author of An Unkindness of Ravens and Home By Now, winner of the PEN New England L.L. Winship Award; The Ice Storm (chapbook, 2020); three verse novels for teens, and an award-winning picture book, Trouper.
All Morning the Crows, winner of the Washington Prize (The Word Works)

Chloe Martinez is a poet and scholar of South Asian religions. She is the author of Ten Thousand Selves (The Word Works, forthcoming 2021). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Waxwing, Shenandoah, The Common and elsewhere. She teaches at Claremont McKenna College.
Corner Shrine, winner of the Backbone Press Chapbook Competition (Backbone Press)

New Book News: Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Shara McCallum & Nicole Santalucia (YouTube Live)

New Book News! We celebrate these poets and the publication of their new books Sunday, April 11 at 7 PM EST. Join us on Lit Youngstown’s YouTube channel for a live reading and conversation.

Teri Ellen Cross Davis is the author of Haint, winner of the 2017 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. She’s a Cave Canem fellow, member of the Black Ladies Brunch Collective. She lives in Maryland.
A More Perfect Union, winner of The Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize, Mad Creek Books/Ohio State University Press

From Jamaica, Shara McCallum is the author of six books, published in the US and UK, including Madwoman, winner of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Poetry. McCallum is a professor at Penn State University and faculty member in the Pacific University Low-Residency MFA Program.
No Ruined Stone (Alice James Books)

Nicole Santalucia is the author of Because I Did Not Die (Bordighera Press). Her work has appeared in publications such as The Best American Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, The Rumpus, as well as others. She teaches at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.
The Book of Dirt (NYQ Books)

Food for Thought: Parable of the Sower (Zoom)

Abby Aguirre of the New Yorker makes note of the relevance and warnings in Octavia Butler’s novel: “Octavia Butler’s tenth novel, Parable of the Sower, which was published in 1993, opens in Los Angeles in 2024. Global warming has brought drought and rising seawater. The middle class and working poor live in gated neighborhoods, where they fend off the homeless with guns and walls. Fresh water is scarce, as valuable as money.”

We will talk about this book on Wednesday, April 14 at 6:00-7:00 PM EST. Copies are available from the Mahoning County Public Library, Trumbull County Public Library, Maag Library via OhioLink, and the YSU Barnes and Noble. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us. Register for the Zoom room here.

We’ll meet Wednesday, May 12 to discuss the last title in this series of books by Black authors, An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones (novel). After a summer hiatus, we will resume the conversation in September with a new series on writer-as-subject (fiction, biography, autobiography). Titles will be announced in time for summer reading.