We published our 2019 Annual Report! Thanks to all–you put the light in Lit Youngstown. There were so many to thank, our hearts are full. We hope we haven’t forgotten anyone, but if we did, please let us know.
Join us in thanking Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell for a $500 contribution toward the upcoming Winter Writing Camp, noting “It is a pleasure to support this initiative.” This is HHM’s third year in Winter Writing Camp funding, and we are so appreciative.
We are also profoundly grateful to the Youngstown Foundation for matching contributions made through the Support Fund at the Foundation, and for selecting us as a $500 recipient of the Youngstown Foundation Promotion and Goodwill Fund. The Foundation is a force for good in our community, and it’s terrific to receive this endorsement.
Many, so many! thanks to Ashley Dillon for her editing and graphic design on our new, gorgeous, gorgeous! 5-year commemorative calendar. These are the images for each month, and the calendar includes Lit Yo event dates.
The calendar is a thank you gift for donors of $60 or more or $5.00 per month. Thank you! Please know your support is absolutely essential. Would you like to be a new contributor? Do you feel our work in the literary community brings $5.00 of value each month? More about our first 5 years here and donating here.
Additional calendars are available for $15.00 each.
Additional 2020 Commemorative Calendars
Five years! It’s gone by in a flash. Let’s take a moment to celebrate all we’ve done together. And then let’s have a party!
Since January of 2015 we have hosted nearly 400 writers, celebrating local talent and visiting writers who have won prestigious awards. Local writers from age 6 to their 80s have shared poems and stories at open mics. (Photos: Mary Biddinger & Mary Quade, Lena Carson, Yahia Tahat, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Jimmy Sutman, Marjorie Maddox)
Hundreds of participants have learned about aspects of writing and publishing at workshops and classes taught by local teaching artists, and sessions at Winter Writing Camp and Fall Literary Festival.
Lit Youngstown partnered with the Public Library of Mahoning & Trumbull County to write a successful National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant, and hosted 33 distinct activities culminating in a visit by author Luis Alberto Urrea, pictured here with local musicians the Labra Brothers. Only two Big Reads took place in Ohio this year, including ours! Reader non-writers have a place with us, too, with book discussions and readings such as Urrea’s, to a packed house.
We are grateful so many community partners have worked with us on projects and events, including the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Summer Festival of the Arts, JCC, YWCA, YNDC, Hubbard & Kinsman Public Libraries, Park Vista, Soap Gallery, McDonough Museum, YSU, UUYO, Purple Cat, Lake to River, WYSU, the National Council of Negro Women and many others. Our partners help us extend our reach and give us a chance to support the incredible work they are doing.
In addition, we’ve helped make a modest boost in the local economy by supporting local businesses whenever possible, and by bringing in state and federal grant money and writers who purchase meals and lodging while attending events such as the Fall Literary Festival. (Photo: Fall Literary Festival dinner at the Hilton DoubleTree, photo credit Jill Christman)
Words Made Visible engaged hundreds of writers and artists, culminating in poetry excerpts stamped in sidewalk squares at St. John’s Episcopal Church and by the Commerce Building downtown. (Photo credit: Melanie Buonavolonta & Ashley Dillon)
Many YSU undergraduate and graduate student interns have helped us develop and implement programs and materials, giving the students insights into running an arts nonprofit.
In addition, we have used the literary arts to foster discussions on healthy food access with food policy activist Mark Winne, whose research in Youngstown is featured in his latest book. Our oral history project Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories tells the stories of twelve African-American women in our community. Food for Thought book discussion has taken up themes of food, the American experience, and humankind and the natural world. And we learned about Youngstown’s literary ancestor, Michael McGovern, the Puddler Poet, whose labor poetry had a national following at the turn of the 20th century.
Thank you to everyone who had a presence in our first five years. It has really felt like the building of a community, and we are so grateful.
Turn the Page with us!
Please consider celebrating Lit Youngstown at 5 with a contribution to help keep us going strong. For donors of $50+ (or $5.00+ monthly installments), we have a special commemorative calendar with some of our favorite images from the last five years. Major donors of $500 and higher are listed on our website.
Please click here for more information on how to contribute by check, Paypal, credit card, monthly installment or via the Youngstown Foundation.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for contributing any level of support. Mark your calendar for a big thank you party January 25!
Executive Director Karen Schubert
Board of Directors: Elaine Arvan Andrews, Tricia D’Avignon, Tim Francisco, Anne Garwig, Liz Hill, Courtney Kensinger, Nicole DiPiero, Nicole Robinson, Elizabeth Skeels, Penny Wells
P.S. Many people have told us they would have paid more for a class or event. We keep our pricing low to be as inclusive as possible, and your donation will help keep us going in these hard times. Thank you!
Plans are underway for the 3rd annual Winter Writing Camp! This free, all day writing workshop for all ages and experience levels will take place Saturday, February 8 from 9:30 to 4:00. Registration will open in January!
We received many fine entries, and a big thank you to all of the writers who sent work our way. Thanks also to judges Anne Garwig, Liz Hill, Erin Phemester & Taylor Swan.
Congratulations to Open Contest Winner, “The Rickshaw Ride” by Marlene H. Mikan of Canfield and Runner-up, “Water Torture” by R.W. Franklin of Boardman.
Teen Contest Winner, “A Gerbil, a Stepmom and a Second Chance” by India Gatts of Austintown and Runner-up, “Love’s Cliff” by Jordan A. Mccusker of New Springfield.
Marlene H. Mikan, R.W. Franklin and Jordan A. Mccusker will read Saturday, October 5 at 7:00, before Fall Literary Festival keynote speaker George Ella Lyon. India Gatts will read Friday, October 4 at 7:00 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, before Erica Cardwell and Philip Metres.
Each month, we send a single e-newsletter to our subscribers letting them know what we’re up to, and linking to other literary happenings around the Valley. Interested? Join the list here. We’ll never share your information, and it’s easy to unsubscribe if you change your mind.
September and October are filling up so richly, we’re going to dedicate a square to all that’s going on, between the NEA Big Read (centered around Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea), the Fall Literary Festival, a reading by poet and native Youngstowner Ross Gay, and our usual Lit Yo activities.
We’ll add to this calendar as pieces come together. All events are free and open to the public with no reservation required, unless otherwise indicated.
A few years ago, NPR sponsored a 3-minute fiction contest for stories that could be read in 3 minutes or less (fewer than 600 words). Nin Andrews was teaching a workshop and assigned the contest as a writing prompt. She sent one in, herself, and we were thrilled when Luis Alberto Urrea mentioned her story on air.
In honor of Mr. Urrea’s visit, and in conjunction with the NEA Big Read, we thought it would be fun to have a contest of our own. Two winners and two runners-up will be invited to read at the Fall Literary Festival October 5 at 7:00 before Festival keynote reader George Ella Lyon.
The contest is open to teens and adults who are current residents of Mahoning, Trumbull, Mercer and Lawrence Counties. One entry per person, please. Stories will be judged anonymously, and must be entered by August 31. Winners will be announced in September.
The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County (PLYMC) with Lit Youngstown received a grant of $15,000 to host the NEA Big Read in Mahoning County. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.
Our selected book is Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea, also the September book in our Food for Thought book discussion series. Mr. Urrea will visit the Valley this fall, and there will be many activities relating to the book and its themes in a month-long calendar of events. Numerous electronic and hard copies will be available at the public library and branches, and at the two Barnes & Noble bookstores. The Youngstown Rotary will stock each of their Little Free Libraries with a copy, as well.
We are so grateful to the professional, hardworking staff at the public library for their partnership, to the NEA and Arts Midwest for selecting our proposal (one of only two in Ohio and 78 nationwide), and to the many community partners who agreed to host an event during our Big Read. We’ll share the calendar as soon as the ink dries.