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.
“Cinema of the Mind” — Flash Fiction Through the Camera’s Lens
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and teacher Robert Olen Butler teaches a moment-by-moment method of writing fiction that shares many similarities with the medium of film. We will learn how to take two of the most important elements of all fiction—desire and emotion—and create compelling flash fiction and short stories using Butler’s “Cinema of the Mind.” We will practice with such flash forms as Triptychs and numbered list flashes since they work well with brief, focused scenes.
“Cinema of the Mind” — Flash Fiction Through the Camera’s Lens. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Saturday, March 7, 9:00 a.m.-noon, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $15 (collected at workshop). Need-based scholarships are available. Register here. Deadline March 1.
Gene Brode is a short fiction writer and fire alarm technician. He’s an avid reader and long time blogger who has been writing fiction since his days at GMU where he studied Spanish language and literature in the mid 90s. He is the founding editor of TransfiguredLit.wordpress.com
Glimpses of My Past: A 7-Week Memoir Workshop
This workshop will follow the model of visual and literary artist Janet Malcolm’s autobiographical article for the New Yorker, inspired by photographs of her past. The first session will include a discussion about the article and writing prompts to get started. Over the next six weeks, participants will write and workshop brief autobiographical “sketches” based on 5-6 personal photos.
Glimpses of My Past: A 7-Week Memoir Workshop. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Tuesdays, March 17-April 28, 6:30-8:00 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $25 (pay at first workshop). Need-based scholarships are available. Register here. Registration deadline March 7.
Meet the teaching artist: Mari Alschuler is a poet and writer who earned her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. She is an Associate Professor of Social Work at YSU. Mari is a Poetry Therapy Practitioner and Psychotherapist in a private practice in Poland. Her poems and short stories have been published in anthologies and national literary journals. She trains people to become poetry therapists internationally.
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!
“Show, Don’t Tell” but also “Less is More”: Using Scene and Summary in Short Story Writing
Most narratives rely on plot to engage readers, and most plots rely on scenes in order to create a solid structure. Scenes can control the pace of a story and introduce character development. However, while scene is very powerful, there is another tool writers can use: summary. Summary can be used in place of scene to accomplish many of the same things, but summary can also be used to influence characters within the story, or the readers themselves.
In this workshop, we will examine several short stories to look for successful examples of using both scene and summary. Writers can bring in their own drafts with the goal of revising them, or will be able to generate drafts. Writers in this workshop will find their own happy mediums between “show, don’t tell,” and “less is more.”
Meet the teaching artist: Specializing in fiction through the NEOMFA program, Bridgid Cassin has worked as writer and editor for Youngstown State University’s New Frontiers research publication while also serving on the staff of the Jenny literary magazine. She has led workshops for Lit Youngstown, Winter Wheat, and the Hoyt Center for the Arts in Newcastle, PA. Bridgid has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and attended the Juniper Summer Writing Institute in 2018. Bridgid previously earned Master’s in English from St. John’s University, and also completed a certificate in Children’s and YA Literature at YSU.
Using Scene and Summary in Short Story Writing. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Wednesday, August 14, 7-9:00 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $15 (pay at workshop). Need-based scholarships are available. Register here: Deadline August 10.
This workshop will focus on submitting poems and short prose (fiction, nonfiction, essay) for literary journals, anthologies and contests. We will discuss how to find print and online publications that might be a good fit, how to write a cover letter, how to track submissions, and how to find and enter contests. Whether you are new to publishing or an old hat looking for a jump-start, join us for this four-week workshop.
Submitting Poems & Short Prose for Publication. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Thursdays, May 23-June 13, 7-8:30 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $25. Need-based scholarships are available. Register here: Deadline May 20.
Karen Schubert is the author of five poetry chapbooks, most recently Dear Youngstown (NightBallet Press). She has published dozens of poems, fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, reviews and interviews in journals including National Poetry Review, Apple Valley Review, diode poetry journal, Waccamaw and Terrain.org.
The Flash Fiction workshop will focus on experimentation and practice of flash fiction forms as well as the questions—what is flash fiction, how is its power achieved? During this five-week course students will examine and write stories that fall into five flash fiction categories: flash fiction (1000-1500); sudden flash fiction (750 words); microfiction (100 words); the six-word story; and the final class will be on marketing. There will be reading and writing assignments in and outside of class.
Flash Fiction Workshop. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Tuesdays, March 5-April 2, 7-8:30 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $25. Need-based scholarships are available (LitYoungstown@gmail.com). Registration Deadline March 1.
Please bring paper/notebook and pens, or an ipad or laptop to class.
Arya F. Jenkins is a writer/teacher/editor. Her flash fiction has been published in numerous journals and zines such as Anti-Heroin Chic, Black Scat Review, Brilliant Corners, Cider Press Review, The Feminist Wire, Front Porch Review, KYSO Flash, The Matador Review, Metafore Literary Magazine and Mojave Literary Review. Her fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2017 and her fiction and flash fiction garnered three nominations in 2018. She has published two poetry chapbooks and her short story collection Blue Songs in an Open Key was published by Fomite Press November 2018. Blue Songs in an Open Key is available via www.aryafjenkins.com.
Arya has taught creative writing at Fairfield University and Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. She has worked as an editor for numerous writers, and as a newspaper, magazine and book editor.
Join us for an enjoyable, high-energy day of writing and storytelling Saturday, February 16, 2019, 9:30-3:00, at St. John’s Episcopal Church and the main library on Wick Ave. Seats are limited so register soon, but if you are unable to attend, please let us know right away. The deadline is February 1 or when all seats are full.
Word play, blackout poetry, writing the fantastical, adding mystery to your story, free writing and many more topics and activities will be on the menu, as well as cookies & open mic for those who would like to bring a poem or story to share.
The Winter Writing Camp is co-hosted by St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, with sessions for all writers, from kindergarten up, and all levels of experience. Participants under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Free registration includes lunch. Free childcare all day for children 5 and under. It is allowable for adults to bring small, non-disruptive children into sessions, but we hope that offering childcare will give adults a moment to enjoy uninterrupted time with older children.
If you have a disability, please let us know when you register. We’d like to the make the day as enjoyable as possible for you.
We will meet at 9:30 at St. John’s, where each participant will receive a schedule and list of sessions. Please park in the lot at St. John’s or the library, or behind St. John’s on Walnut St. by the MVR. As we will be walking between buildings, weather-wise outerwear and footwear are recommended.
Questions? Let us know: Info@LitYoungstown.org.
Join us in thanking our sponsors who make this day possible: the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation; Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell, Ltd.; the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley; Maureen Reardon; Crist & Rosemary Weaver; the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown & Cultivate: a Co-op Café. Thank you!
Join us at the Lakeland Literary Festival! Lit Youngstown is pleased to be invited to participate in the book fair at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio. We will leave at 7:00 a.m. from our office at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Like to ride up with us? Please let us know: LitYoungstown@gmail.com.
Celebrate the many exciting forms of literature with noted writers. The Lakeland Literary Festival is being held Nov. 30, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in HIVE in the H-Building.
Acclaimed writers and poets will present a variety of workshops in areas such as non-fiction, fiction, poetry, translation and publishing. There will also be a book fair with many presses, magazines and organizations.
This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required for the workshops. Register here.
The event will begin with a continental breakfast and then the workshops will run from 9-10 a.m., 10:15-11:15 a.m. and 11:30-12:30 p.m. Lunch will be available for purchase from food trucks on the campus. After lunch, at 1 p.m., keynote speaker Dave Lucas, Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio will speak. The event will close with a poetry reading by winners of the 31st Annual Poetry Competition, slated from 2-3 p.m.
For more information, contact Assistant Professor James DeMonte at email@example.com or call 440.525.7458.