Category Archives: Fiction

Food for Thought: The Nickel Boys

The Nickel Boys is the next book in our discussion series, this year centered around Black writers. Join us on Zoom, Wednesday, February 10, 6:00-7:00 PM EST.

Constance Grady of Vox makes note of Coleson Whitehead’s startling story built around true history. “Nickel Boys is more than the sum of its parts, and its parts are beautifully constructed to begin with. But as beautiful and thoughtful as it is, it never lets you forget that it is built around a true atrocity, around something that should never have happened. It’s a book that rests on top of almost 100 unmarked graves.”
Register in advance for this meeting here.

The Nickel Boys is available from the Mahoning County Public Library, the Trumbull County Public Library, Maag Library via OhioLink, and the YSU Barnes and Noble. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us.

March 10 (novel) We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
April 14 (graphic novel) Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
May 12 (novel) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Fall Lit Fest 2021 Call for Proposals

5th Annual Fall Literary Festival
October 7-9, 2021
Youngstown, Ohio
Conference Theme: “Our Shared Story”
Visiting Writers: Ross Gay (poet & essayist), Jan Beatty (poet & memoirist), Matt Forrest Esenwine (children’s author), Bonnie Proudfoot (novelist & poet), & Mike Geither (playwright)

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for Our Shared Story, 5th annual Fall Literary Festival, October 7-9 in Northeast Ohio. This year’s conference will be centered around the theme “Our Shared Story,” a conversation about writing, publishing, community outreach, and literary inclusion. The conference aims to  sustain and enhance community by allowing its members to share a stake in its narrative: its story—past, present, and future. 

For more information, please visit our Fall Literary Festival page.

Food for Thought: The Thing Around Your Neck (Zoom)

In The Thing Around Your Neck… Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but also America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.

Read more here.

Copies of this book can be obtained from the Trumbull County Public Library, and the YSU Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, January 13, 6:00-7:00PM EST. Register here. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us.

February 10 (novel) The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
March 10 (novel) We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
April 14 (graphic novel) Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
May 12 (novel) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Interview with James Winter


After the November First Wednesday Reading featuring James Winter, intern Cassandra Lawton interviewed him about his writing process and tips for writers.

Watch the reading here.

What is your writing process like?

I find with my fiction, which tends toward the historical, I read and research pretty thoroughly before I start a draft. For example, my story “Beyond Love” tells of the horrors a terrorist bomber suffers while detained in a Jordanian prison and eventually, Guantanamo Bay. As a basis of research, I studied Guantanamo: An American History by Johnathan Hansen, Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedu Ould Slahi, My Guantanamo Diary by Mahvish Khan, Inside the Wire by Erik Saar, and others, but most importantly, peer-reviewed, psychological analyses of Islamic terrorists that showed that many are educated, financially stable family men radicalized in the wake of personal, domestic failures. I found this fascinating when writing “Inheritance,” a story about IRA terrorists. Their characterization by historian Tim Pat Coogan as well as undercover interviews in SPIN magazine and scholarly journals like the UK’s Studies in Conflict & Terrorism depict most of “The Lads” as having barely graduated high school. They are part of a legacy, and instead of keeping activities secret from their spouses, many IRA wives know the organization in detail and provide emotional, and at times physical aid.

Continue reading

Building Upon Your Natural Writing Style Workshop

Building Upon Your Natural Writing Style

**This workshop is now full. If you register, we will add your name to a waiting list. Thank you!**

Whether you write prose or poetry, you have your own natural skill set – it may be for storytelling, or for writing a lyrical line, or perhaps you have a gift for generating strong images. This workshop is designed to explore and develop ways to stretch and build upon what comes naturally to you and to find new ways to complement your own writing style. Generative prompts and exercises will encourage you to experiment and share your writing in a relaxed and supportive way.

Building Upon Your Natural Writing Style. Mondays, January 11-February 8, 1-3 PM EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (scholarships are available). Register here by January 8.

Meet the Teaching Artist: Marion Boyer is a poet and essayist with four published poetry collections; her most recent book is The Sea Was Never Far. Boyer is an emeritus professor and has conducted poetry workshops for Lit Youngstown’s Winter Writing Camp, Wisconsin’s Washington Island Writers Festival, Lit Cleveland, and the Kalamazoo Poetry Festival.

New Writers Circle Opens!

We’re trying out a new format for the Writers Circle. We sure do miss meeting with a few dozen of you around a cluster of tables to talk and share ideas. We’ve tried a few online formats, to limited success, so let’s try something completely different.

Sign in here with your google account (simple to open one). Post poems, short fiction, long fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, plays or screenplays. Give and receive gentle, constructive feedback. Open year-round. Many thanks to board member Josh Nauman for building the page. Questions? Check out the FAQ, or let us know.

Writing for Happiness Workshop

Writing for Happiness

Many folks write anticipating joy, but instead encounter doubt, fear, or defeat. 2020 was an especially difficult year to cultivate space for creating what we love. With a new year comes new possibility. In this session, we will invigorate writing habits, pursue happiness, and open our eyes to the ways writing can change us… and the world. 

Writing for Happiness. Saturday, January 23, 1 to 2 PM EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $15 (scholarships are available). Please register here by January 18.

Meet the Teaching Artist: Annmarie Kelly-Harbaugh is the author of Here Be Dragons: A Parent’s Guide to Rediscovering Purpose, Adventure, and the Unfathomable Joy of the Journey, a memoir about the sweet and wonderful misery of raising children with someone you love. She lives in Shaker Heights with her husband, their three kids, and an assortment of dying houseplants.