It was a tremendous honor and pleasure to represent Lit Youngstown at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference in Washington, D.C., in February. Our fellow panelists were Kelly Fordon of Literary Detroit, Janine Harrison of the Indiana Writers Consortium, Lee Chilcote of Literary Cleveland, and David Hassler of the Wick Poetry Center in Kent, Ohio. Our presentation was about ways that community-based literary arts organizations are responsive to communities.
With profound thanks to the Raymond J. Wean Foundation and to these twelve women in our community, we invite you to a reception celebrating the publication of Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories.
Tuesday, December 13 at First Presbyterian Church, 201 Wick Avenue Youngstown.
Parking lot is behind the church; enter on Wood Avenue due to construction on Wick.
Light refreshments will be served. Doors open 6:30 pm, program and staged reading from the book, 7 pm.
If you wish to support the YWCA of Youngstown’s Make A Wish Gift program, bring a new book for a reader aged 1-18.
PLEASE RSVP DIRECTLY to email@example.com if you plan to attend.
If you’d like to buy a book, they are available for purchase at Flutterby Books in Hubbard and Three Sheep Gallery on Market St. The public libraries in Warren and greater Youngstown will have copies in circulation as soon as they are processed. For more options, please visit this page on our website or send us a note at LitYoungstown@gmail.com.
We are grateful to the Youngstown Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) for their support of this project and their introductions to six of the women.
The project would not have been possible without the energy and talents of the team that worked together to create the book.
Lit Youngstown’s YSU student interns, who helped with the interviews, transcriptions, writing and editing: Samuel Amazing, Adrianna Mayes, and Samantha Ensminger.
Lit Youngstown writers and editors: Allison Davis, Kris Harrington, Sean Posey, Karen Schubert, and Molly Toth.
Cover design: Amy Freels, University of Akron Press.
Interior design and layout: Cassandra Twoey.
Portraits of the women: photographer Melanie Rae Buonavolanta.
The book was printed locally by City Printing.
We also appreciate the support, encouragement, and networking offered by members of our wider community, especially Louisa Berger, Gary Davenport, Davita Fitzgerald, Rosemary Fuller, Eres McKee, Carole and Jimma McWilson, and Melissa Papini.
Special thanks to David Hassler of the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State for sharing his experience with taking oral histories to the printed page.
— Liz Hill, Project Coordinator
Two fine young graduates of the NEOMFA come down from the North Coast. Monday Nov. 7 at 7:00, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts downtown.
NEOMFA Alumni Reading! Come for the comraderie! Bring your work if you’re inspired to read at the open mic emceed by Lit Youngstown intern and YSU student Samantha Ensminger.
James De Monte is an English professor at Lakeland Community College near Cleveland. His first book, Brotherhood, was longlisted for Shakespeare and Company’s Paris Literary Prize before being published by Blue Cubicle Press last year. His short fiction has appeared in Fjords Review and Chagrin River Review, among others. He lives a short walk from the Cuyahoga River with his wife and son and is at work on a second book.
Tobin F. Terry is an Associate Professor of English and department co-chair at Lakeland Community College. As a graduate of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program, Tobin received the Alpha Omega Dukes Memorial Promising Fiction Writer Award. Before coming to Lakeland, Tobin taught English at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and the University of Akron, and served as copy editor at the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama. Tobin was a fiction editor for the second issue of Barn Owl Review, is Communications Director Emeritus for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, and is an editor for Chagrin River Review. His most recent work appeared in Emerge Literary Journal.
We are feeling the love, here! Thank you to our fall fundraiser contributors.
“Good luck with the fundraiser!” Anonymous
The College Club of Buffalo
“Thanks for all you do! Super excited for the Phenomenal Women book!” Allison Davis
“Good luck on your fundraiser.” Adam Earnheardt
“Keep up the good work!” Barbra Estrada
Robyn Armeni Isaac
“Congratulations on all the amazing work you are doing!” Jessica Jewell
Christine & Elliot Legow
“In honor of Beth’s birthday.” Donald Martin
“In honor of my grandmothers & mother who surrounded me with books.” Karen Schubert
“I can hardly believe all you have accomplished in two years.” Karen Willyoung
Patrons ($500 or more)
The Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation
Raymond J. Wean Foundation
One chilly noon in January of 2015, a small group met at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts to discuss the idea of starting a literary arts organization. From that hopeful beginning, we have grown into a thriving non-profit organization with ongoing programming and numerous activities and collaborations.The hundreds of people working with us—visiting writers, teaching artists, workshop participants, board members, YSU interns, audience members, funders and volunteers—have created a Lit Youngstown community, and are proof to us that a literary arts organization has a place in Youngstown.
In order to remain a sustainable organization with a strong presence in the community, we are asking for your support.For every donation (and for each additional gift of $25) to our Fall Fundraiser, you will receive an entry into our fall drawing to win one of three prizes:
- Painted silk scarf by Tracy Segreti and complementary bronze earrings handcrafted by Robyn Maas.
- Hand-turned curly ash bowl by Davey Jones (pictured below), finished with food-grade mineral oil and beeswax. Signed and numbered.
- Bag of books written by local authors featured in our First Wed. reading series.
Please donate before December 1 to be in the drawing, which will be held at our December 7 reading.
We are also seeking ten patrons willing to donate at the $500 level. At any level, your gift is tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law, and it is very much appreciated.
Our energy and motivation come from a deep belief that writing, reading, and storytelling, and being in the company of others engaged in these pursuits, strengthens our community and enriches our quality of life.
Our 2016 First Wednesday reading series featured faculty from YSU, Akron, and Bowling Green, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mercyhurst, and Hiram; students from Youngstown State, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts and Canfield High School; readers from the fields of history, nursing and psychology; and essays written by incarcerated students. At our open mic after the readings, community members from age 12 to 70 shared their own writing. We also hosted readings at several art venues.
Our outreach work included reading food poems with adults with disabilities from the Purple Cat at Gallagher’s Lunchbucket, and book giveaways and community writing projects at several street fairs and festivals.
We collaborated with Selah Dessert Theater on the Strand Project, soliciting original monologues and staging their performance with local actors. Board member Kris Harrington spearheaded this project which played to a sold-out house and received rave reviews.
We have offered numerous writing workshops, with modest enrollment fees that have invited wide participation while allowing us to pay a stipend to teaching artists. We’ve also offered some free classes thanks to support from the Andrews Foundation.
Our newest project is Food for Thought, a food-themed book club and potluck, a collaboration with the Lake to River Food Co-op.
In mid-December, we will host a reception releasing our book Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories, at the beautiful, historic YWCA. The stories came from our interviews with twelve African American women between the ages of 64 and 101, with deep roots in Youngstown. Support from the Wean Foundation has allowed us to hire a professional photographer, layout editor and cover editor, and to have the book printed locally at City Printing. Co-director Liz Hill spearheaded this project, and we can’t wait to share these insightful stories with the community.
In February, we will take Lit Youngstown on the road, leading a panel with other literary organizations from the Great Lakes area at the prestigious Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Washington, D.C.
Our established programs will continue. The 2017 reading series will feature novelists, non-fiction and short story writers and poets from as far away as Iowa and Maryland, and many talented writers from home. Our workshop series will run in spring, summer, and fall, featuring a variety of topics taught by experienced teaching artists. The second Strand Project’s call for dramatic monologue submissions has gone out, and our book-potluck club will continue to meet each month until summer.
How You Can Help
As our programming increases, so do our expenses, as well as the time it takes to run the organization. Our wonderful Board of Directors and dedicated Co-Directors have donated many hours to establish our programming and organization. We are grateful for support and encouragement from The Wean Foundation and the Andrews Foundation.
But we need your help to remain sustainable and continue to provide great programming. Your gift will help to support:
- Marketing and outreach programs, to bring our offerings to a wider audience
- Travel stipends to bring inspirational visiting writers from the region and beyond
- Workshop scholarships to allow broader and more diverse participation
- Development opportunities so our volunteers and staff can learn from other exemplary organizations and continue to offer top-notch programs.
We are grateful for support at any level. In addition, we are seeking Patrons willing to support us with a donation of $500. Giving at this level will help to ensure sustainability in some of our longer term goals.
- Salary for a part-time director. A paid director will increase our opportunity for advocacy, research and development, including grant writing and connecting with literary arts centers around the country.
- Rented space to allow us to hold classes or other events in one location with better parking and accessibility.
We thank you for being a supporter. We have gotten so far because of you.
With sincere thanks,
Karen Schubert & Liz Hill, Co-Directors
We have two interns this semester: Adrianna Mayes, a YSU English major, and Sam Amazing, a fiction writer in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts. Their talents, experience and enthusiasm will be a great addition to our team dynamics.
Adrianna Mayes is from Warren.
About herself, she writes, “I am an English Major at YSU and hope to pursue my Ph D. in the future. I write articles for Odyssey at YSU and I also write a miscellaneous blog. I am currently minoring in Theatre and I have a passion for acting. I enjoy writing in many forms, reading prose and poetry, viewing films and attending concerts (mainly rock n’ roll). I enjoy learning about history and I love to travel. I am married and live with my husband and our wonderful dog. Someday I would like to teach at a University and own a record store. Until then, I’m truly enjoying the journey!”
Sam Amazing has a BA in English from Hiram College, and a BS in secondary education from YSU. He is currently receiving his masters degree in fiction writing through in the NEOMFA program through YSU. This is what brought him into contact with Lit Youngstown. Sam spends much of his time writing, and under the pen name Samuel Eden has had several stories published online, dabbled in self-publishing on Amazon.com, and maintains a writing advice blog–The Hemlock Notations–at samueleden.com. Right now his biggest project is a play, The Last Stand on Mango Street, being produced for the upcoming CSU playwrights’ festival. He lives in Warren with his insightful, beautiful, and funny (did he mention funny?) wife Sarah and their two cats and dog.
Lit Youngstown will represent at the Winter Wheat writing conference in mid-November on the campus of Bowling Green State University. Liz Hill and Karen Schubert will present at two sessions, amid a wide range of writing and publishing topics, and excellent readings.
Consider joining us, if you can get away for one, two or three days. To find out more, visit the Winter Wheat website here. You can pre-register online.