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.
Join us for a truly wonderful evening of sidewalk poetry dedication, elegant dining, great conversation, an incredible reading by George Ella Lyon, our Fall Literary Festival keynote reader, and an open mic. Come for any part and stay as long as you like; all are free and open to the public with the exception of dinner (reservations required).
4:30-5:30 Behind St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. & the corner of Walnut & E. Federal St., downtown Youngstown
Dedication: Words Made Visible Sidewalk Project
6-6:45 Dinner, Hilton DoubleTree Ballroom
7:00 Hilton DoubleTree 2nd Floor Lounge
Reading of NEA Big Read Teen & Open Contest Short Short Fiction Winners
Fall Literary Festival Keynote Reading George Ella Lyon
8:30 Open Mic Continue reading →
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.
This is a partial list of Big Read activities; please visit the calendar of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County for the whole beautiful thing!
*Until August 31. Winners will be announced in September. Short Short Fiction Contest
*Wed. Sept. 4 7:00 Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St. First Wednesday Series Reading:Clint Elston & Brandon Noel, open mic emceed by Elizabeth Burnette
*Tues. Sept. 10 6:30-8:00 Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 34 N. Phelps St. City Club of the Mahoning Valley, “Separation of Roots and State: Where are They Now?”
Mexican immigration occupies a complex position in U.S. public opinion. Immigration law has oscillated throughout the 20th century between welcoming Mexican immigrants and vehemently rejecting them. What happens to the country they left behind? What about the loved ones unable to make the dangerous trek to America?
Violeta Aguirre (Vi)
Coordinadora del Alcance Comunitario para Hispanos (Hispanic Outreach Coordinator), Catholic Charities
Programming and Youth Services Director, Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County
Nicole Pettitt, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor / K-12 TESOL Endorsement Coordinator; Chair, Refugee Concerns Interest Section – TESOL, International Department of English, Youngstown State University
*Tues. Sept. 17 First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown 1105 Elm St. An Evening of Immigrant Narratives
5:30 Food for Thought Book discussion, Into the Beautiful North *(change of date & time!)
6:30 Ethnic foods potluck (please bring a dish or drink to share)
7:00 Traveling Stanzas Writing Across Borders, Wick Poetry Center
8:00 Youngstown Immigrant Narratives: Violeta Aguirre, Mia Catherine Allonby, Lidia Cornelio & Ana Marie Wetzl
*Sat. Sept. 21 3:30 YSU Ward Beecher Planetarium
The Sky We Share
Our constellations mainly come from the Greeks, so why do they have Latin names? And what’s up with those Arabic star names, anyway? In this live presentation of the night sky, we will journey through the stars and explore the different ways they take shape across cultures and the ages. Learn of the importance of the stars for navigation, time-keeping, and storytelling.
*Tues. Oct. 1 7:00 St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Book discussion,Into the Beautiful North
*Wed. Oct. 2 7:00 Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.
Lit Youngstown First Wednesday Series Reading:EF Schroeder & Michelle Smith, open mic emceed by Christopher Lesko
*Thurs. Oct. 3 6:00 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave. NEA Big Read Film Series:Magnificent Seven, introduced by Dr. Laura Beadling
*Thurs. Oct. 3 7:00 Downtown Hilton DoubleTree, 44 E. Federal Plaza, 2nd floor lounge Fall Literary Festival gathering in, registration and conversation
*Fri. Oct. 4 Fall Literary Festival
9:00-4:00 YSU Kilcawley Center registration/fee required
5:00-6:30 Dinner, St. John’s Episcopal Church registration/fee required
7:00-8:30 Reading: Steven Caumo, winner of Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship Erica Cardwell & Philip Metres, free and open to the public
*Sat. Oct. 5 Fall Literary Festival
9:00-4:00 YSU Kilcawley Center registration/fee required
4:30 Dedication Words Made Visible sidewalk project
6:00-6:45 Dinner, Downtown Hilton DoubleTree Ballroom registration/fee required
7:00 Reading, winner, short short fiction contest Keynote George Ella Lyon, free and open to the public
*Mon. Oct. 7 6:30 Casa Ramirez, 1578 Mahoning Ave. Hands-on demonstration: making sopes
Free with registration
*Wed. Oct. 9 6:00 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave. NEA Big Read Film Series:Stand and Deliver
(Food for Thought book discussion cancelled)
*Thurs. Oct. 10 5:00-7:00 3rd Floor Maag Library, YSU
Crossings: NEA Big Read YSU Student Art Show Opening Exhibit Oct. 10-27
*Fri. Oct. 11 7:30 St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Reading: Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts hosts Ross Gay & Jason Harris
*Sun. Oct. 13 2:30 Youngstown Playhouse, 600 Playhouse Lane Staged Reading of Into the Beautiful North
Directed by Denise Sculli
*Tues. Oct. 15 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave. NEA Big Read author Luis Alberto Urrea
Special Guests The Labra Brothers
5:00 -5:45 Book signing
6:00 Reading, Q&A with Dr. Timothy Francisco This author visit is co-sponsored by WYSU.
*Thurs. Oct. 17 6:00 Main Library, 305 Wick Ave. NEA Big Read Film Series:The Bronze Screen, introduced by Dr. Laura Beadling
(Third Thursday Writers Circle canceled)
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 second Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship is open for submissions.
Each year, we will award one $100 scholarship, and invite the recipient to read their work at the Fall Literary Festival, Oct. 4-5. The winner and runner-up will receive free registration to the Festival. The 2018 scholarship recipient was D.T. McCrea, selected by Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Professor Robert Miltner and alumna Amy Sparks. This year’s judges are to be determined.
If you will be a NEOMFA student in fall of 2019 and would like to compete for the prize, please send a cover letter and 10-page writing portfolio (name on cover letter only) to LitYoungstown@gmail.com. The deadline is June 15.
Lou was an enthusiastic writer and Lit Youngstown volunteer and participant, and we miss him. To honor his spirit, we created this scholarship, and are grateful for contributions to the scholarship fund, which will allow us to offer this award well into the future.
Lou’s daughter Jamie offered us this tribute.
Lou Yuhasz was a writer, a husband, a father, a friend, and above all, a teacher. He graduated from Youngstown State University in 1999, with a BS in Secondary Education, concentrating on comprehensive communication. In his senior year, he was the assistant news editor at the Jambar covering the Academic Senate as YSU made the transition from quarters to semesters. He taught as a substitute for a year for Youngstown City Schools, before taking a job at a large health insurance company.
After ten years, and at the age of 48, Lou’s passion for creative writing and teaching led him to quit his job and join the NEOMFA program. Shortly after beginning school, he was diagnosed with stage II cancer of the esophagus. That didn’t stop him though, and he excelled in his classes.
His passion for his school and the program was contagious, and so was the happiness the NEOMFA brought him. I’ve read a lot of my father’s work throughout my life, but something very special happened when he joined the NEOMFA program.
He was a husband of 26 years, and raised two daughters. His support for his family was unparalleled. His office looked like something out of a Lovecraft novel, with tentacles and gargoyles scattered between the bookshelves housing various scifi and horror novels. He loved to write and tell stories, as well as teaching others the ability to create what they loved. He would be proud and honored to have this scholarship enable people to follow their passion.
Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for presentations, workshops, craft talks and creative readings for our 3rd annual Fall Literary Festival to be held October 4-5 at Youngstown State University. The two-day festival will feature an acclaimed faculty: Nin Andrews (poetry), Christopher Barzak (fiction), Erica Cardwell (essay, creative nonfiction), Jill Christman (creative nonfiction), Michael Croley (fiction), George Ella Lyon (poetry, essay), Philip Memmer (poetry), Philip Metres (poetry, essay). To read more about our visiting writers, please visit the Fall Literary Festival page.
This year’s conference will be centered around themes of cultural identity and representation in writing and publishing. Sessions will be 50 minutes. Proposals may include panel and roundtable discussions, creative readings, or workshops. Group and individual proposal submissions are welcome. Individual proposals and creative readings will be grouped into panels by conference organizers.
Individuals are limited to two proposal submissions, please. Accepted presenters will be required to register for the conference at the early bird registration fee of $40. There will be opportunities to apply for needs-based stipends. The proposal deadline is midnight, May 10.
We seek proposals from a diverse cross section of voices and experiences, and encourage submissions from African American and Black, Latinx and Chicanx, Asian American, disabled, LGBTQ and non-binary, immigrant, native, rural, older, and resource-poor writers. All genres are welcome and encouraged.
Creative writing outreach in prisons, with immigrants, etc.
Responsibly engaging diverse voices and perspectives
Writing about identity and marginalized experiences
Lack of representation in publishing
Navigating the publishing industry as marginalized communities
Writers with disabilities
Creative writing workshop
Creative writing pedagogy
Community-based writing programs
Residencies, conferences and other opportunities
Developing best practices in your craft
Collaboration and mentoring
Literary topics in all genres
Writing for mass media: journalism, blogging, podcasts, radio, etc.
Children’s and YA writing and publishing
Comics & graphic novels
Film & new media
Hybrid & short forms
Older writers publishing
Strategies for teaching and researching writing
Engaging and sustaining a writing life
Our second Fall Literary Festival is in the books. Thank you, thank you, writers, editors, teachers, students, committee and board members, community partners! Thank you Courtney Kensinger for the wonderful pics, and to our hosts at St. John’s Episcopal Church of Youngstown and Kilcawley Center, Youngstown State University.
We are putting together another stellar faculty of visiting writers and aiming for Oct. 4-5, 2019, for our 3rd annual Fall Literary Festival. Hope you can join us.
Join the 100+ writers and editors already registered for two days of literary goodness! We have invited an incredible faculty of accomplished visiting writers, and dozens of excellent presenters. There will be two days of creative readings, workshops, craft talks, panels on publishing, editing, writer and all kinds of topics.
More information on the festival and registration is here.
Please join us in thanking our community partners the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, Nancy Beeghly, Liz Hill, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, the Purple Cat, Sojourn to the Past, St. John’s Episcopal Church, YSU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, YSU Department of Women & Gender Studies, YSU English Department.
The Fall Literary Festival is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.
Save the dates! This year’s festivals will feature workshops, craft talks, a publishing panel, and readings by these accomplished visiting writers.
Please join us in thanking our community partners for helping to make the festival possible: the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, the Purple Cat, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, Sojourn to the Past, St. John’s Episcopal Church, YSU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, YSU Department of Women & Gender Studies, YSU English Department.
Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria. Her work has received grants and
Lesley Nneka Arimah
awards from Commonwealth Writers, AWP, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky was published by Riverhead in April 2017. She currently lives in Minneapolis.
after majoring in English in college to writing and publishing fiction. In 2009, she published her first novel for teens with HarperCollins. Freaked is the story of a teenaged boy obsessed with the Grateful Dead. She followed with a second novel in 2010 entitled Stranded, a mystery set in Iowa surrounding the discovery of an abandoned baby.
John Kerstetter, the author of Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story (Random House 2017), received his medical degree from the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, and his MFA degree from Ashland University in Ohio. He
served as a combat physician and flight surgeon for the U.S. Army and completed three combat tours in Iraq. His writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, River Teeth, and other literary journals.
Jacqui Lipton, LL.B., M.F.A., Ph.D. is a law professor and writer as well as the director of Authography LLC, a company dedicated to helping authors and artists meet their personal and professional goals. She writes regular columns on legal issues for authors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Bulletin, Savvy Authors, and Luna
Station Quarterly. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Ph.D. in law from Cambridge University. Her forthcoming book, LAW & AUTHORS: A LEGAL HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS will be published in 2019 by University of California Press.
Dave Lucas is the author of Weather (Georgia, 2011), which received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry. He is a co-founder of Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery and of Cleveland Book Week. In 2018 he was appointed the second Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio.
Craig Paulenich is the author of two books of poetry, Drift of the Hunt (Nobobdaddies Press, 2006) and Blood Will Tell (BlazeVOX [books], 2009) and editor (with Kent Johnson) of the anthology, Beneath A Single Moon: Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry (Shambhala Press, 1991). His poems have appeared in The Georgia Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Kansas Quarterly, the Minnesota Review, the South Carolina Review, Southern Poetry Review, Artful Dodge, and many others. He has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes. He earned an MFA in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh, a Ph.D. in English at Bowling Green
State University, and is Professor of English at Kent State University-Salem. He is a co-founder and faculty with the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, the nation’s only creative writing consortium. He’s currently working on a book of poems about John Brown. He and his wife, Karla, live on a 27-acre farm outside Guilford Lake, Ohio.
Judith Vollmer is the author of five full-length books of poetry, including most recently The Apollonia Poems, awarded the University of Wisconsin Press Four Lakes Prize in 2016 and published last year. She has received fellowships and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the American
Academy in Rome; and the Brittingham, the Cleveland State, and the Center for Book Arts publication awards. Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Poetry International, Poet Lore, The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire, Prairie Schooner, The Women’s Review of Books, among many others. She teaches in the MFA Program in Poetry & Poetry in Translation at Drew University.
Thank you to our presenters, participants, hosts, volunteers and funders for a truly enjoyable and memorable day. Plans are already underway for next year’s Festival, September 22, 2018. Hope you can make it.