Category Archives: Prose

First Wednesday: Cris Harris & Kellie Kirksey

The First Wednesday Readers Series presents memoirist Cris Harris & poet and wellness practitioner Kellie Kirksey. Co-hosted by Johanna Slivinske. Open mic to follow. Wednesday, May 5 at 7:00 PM EST. Watch on Facebook Live, or register for the Zoom room.

Cris Harris is the author of I Have Not Loved You With My Whole Heart, a memoir about growing up in a household wrestling with faith, addiction, violence and the AIDS epidemic. He teaches writing and experiential education at an independent school outside of Cleveland. Recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for nonfiction, Cris’s essays have appeared at Post Road, Proximity Magazine, The New Engagement, Nowhere Magazine and the Indiana Review.

Kellie Kirksey is a global traveler, speaker, poet, tree hugger, yoga teacher, holistic psychotherapist, family lover, drummer, dancer, spa promoter, heart centered hypnotherapist, live happily life consultant, essential oil enthusiast, wellness promoter and has presented workshops and wellness circles both nationally and internationally.

Fall Lit Fest 2021 Registration Opens

Are you a reader, writer, editor, publisher, or educator of the literary arts? We hope you will join us for the 5th annual Fall Literary Festival in Youngstown, Ohio, October 7-9.

This year’s conference theme is “Our Shared Story” and we are thrilled to host visiting writers Ross Gay (poet & essayist, Indiana University), Jan Beatty (poet & memoirist, Chatham University), Matt Forrest Esenwine (children’s author, New Hampshire), Bonnie Proudfoot (novelist & poet, Hocking College), & Mike Geither (playwright, Cleveland State University).

Seventy-three presenters from throughout the U.S. will present on many aspects of reading, understanding, writing, editing and publishing creative works. Please visit the Fall Literary Festival page to register and learn more, as we continue to add details and information. Hope to see you there!

This event is made possible with major funding from The Centofanti Foundation.

A Great Villain Kills It (Zoom)

A Great Villain Kills It

This workshop is focused on addressing villainy: crafting believable villains, looking at how they direct the story, and using 3-dimentional baddies vs evil for evil’s sake. The goal will be for writers to craft or improve on a villain in a piece of fiction they are working on.

A Great Villain Kills It. Adults & teens. Saturdays, June 5-26, 10:00 AM to noon EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (scholarships are available). Please register here before June 1.

Meet the teaching artist: N.P. Stokes holds a Bachelor’s in English from Youngstown State University. He is writer of realism, creative fiction, and poetry, as well as literary criticism. His works have been published in The Penguin Review, and he is the prose editor for Volney Road Review. 

Summer Mini Writing Camps! Limited Seating

Thanks to the generous offer of a few local backyards, we are going to meet in person for two summer mini writing camps. Seating is strictly limited, and we will follow safety protocols in place in June. Rain or shine. Kids under 12 are welcome with an adult. Thank you, and see you soon! We’ll have fun writing activities and snacks. We’re looking forward to writing with you!

Summer Mini Writing Camp 1
Saturday, June 12 1:00-4:00 pm. Limit 20. Register here.

Summer Mini Writing Camp 2
Saturday, June 26 1:00-4:00 pm. Limit 30. Register here.

Teen Writers Workshop

Teen Writers Workshops are informal, respectful gatherings for writing and creative expression. All experience levels welcome. Teens only, please. Attend any number of workshops after registering here.

Meet the teaching artist: James Winter is an Associate Professor of English at Kent State University. His work has won the CRAFT Short Fiction Prize, a Pushcart Special Mention, an Honorable Mention for the J.F. Powers Prize, and was a finalist for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize. He has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and published in One Story, Salamander, PANK Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, and Dappled Things, among others.

Many thanks to James for leading this workshop! Carrie George will return in June.

Writing Partner Speed Dating

Writing Partner Speed Dating

Writing partners can be an essential tool in a writer’s belt; they keep you accountable, share in your grievances, and help you improve your skills. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the benefits of having a writing partner, how to build a bond with another writer, and different strategies of keeping in touch with each other. Afterwards, we’ll host a “speed dating” session, where you’ll have the chance to meet your new ally in writing.

Writing Partner Speed Dating. Adults & teens. Friday, June 18, 5:00 to 7:00 PM EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $15 (scholarships are available). Please register here before June 15.

Meet the Teaching Artist: McKayla Anne Rockwell is a Youngstown-born writer currently attending and teaching at YSU. She has several short publications and ample experience working with Youngstown-based literary journals, including Volney Road Review and Jenny Magazine.

Food for Thought: Parable of the Sower (Zoom)

Abby Aguirre of the New Yorker makes note of the relevance and warnings in Octavia Butler’s novel: “Octavia Butler’s tenth novel, Parable of the Sower, which was published in 1993, opens in Los Angeles in 2024. Global warming has brought drought and rising seawater. The middle class and working poor live in gated neighborhoods, where they fend off the homeless with guns and walls. Fresh water is scarce, as valuable as money.”

We will talk about this book on Wednesday, April 14 at 6:00-7:00 PM EST. Copies are available from the Mahoning County Public Library, Trumbull County Public Library, Maag Library via OhioLink, and the YSU Barnes and Noble. Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Join us. Register for the Zoom room here.

We’ll meet Wednesday, May 12 to discuss the last title in this series of books by Black authors, An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones (novel). After a summer hiatus, we will resume the conversation in September with a new series on writer-as-subject (fiction, biography, autobiography). Titles will be announced in time for summer reading.

Believe It or Not? Writing Surreal, Weird, and Speculative Worlds (Zoom)

Believe it or Not? Writing Surreal, Weird, and Speculative Worlds

If your writing contains out-of-this-world elements or the suspension of disbelief is key to your project, this workshop is designed to help you craft plausible speculative fiction. From space invaders, underworld adventures, to the supernatural, we will examine examples and strategies that make the impossible believable. Bring a concept or project overview to discuss. Fiction. Adults and teens, all experience levels welcome.

Believe it or Not? Adults & teens. Tuesdays, March 30-April 20, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (scholarships are available). Please register here before March 27.

Meet the Teaching Artist: An admirer of strange wonders, sleights of hand, and carousels, E. F. Schraeder writes poetry and fiction that is often inspired by not quite real worlds. Schraeder’s work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Pulp Modern, Mystery Weekly Magazine, and other journals and anthologies.

Workshop: Writing About Identity and the Fractured Self (Zoom)

Writing About Identity and the Fractured Self

In this workshop we will read and write pieces dealing with identity and how we understand our sense of self via an array of topics related to the fractured identity including heritage, sense of place etc. Examined works include those of Scott Russell Sanders, Mary Karr and Mark Doty.

Writing About Identity and the Fractured Self. Adults & teens, all experience levels welcome. Saturdays, March 20-April 17, 10:00 AM to noon, on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (scholarships are available). Please register here before March 13.

Meet the Teaching Artist: Anastasios Mihalopoulos holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and English from Allegheny College. His thesis in creative nonfiction was titled, Distillations: Essays on Science and Singularity in the Self. He attended the Writing Workshops in Greece (WWIG) and is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing through the Northeast Ohio MFA program.

Teen Writers Workshop (Zoom)

Teen Writers Workshops are informal, respectful gatherings for writing and creative expression. All experience levels welcome. Teens only, please. Monday, March 8, 7:00-8:30 PM EST. Attend any number of workshops after registering here.

Meet the teaching artist: James Winter is an Associate Professor of English at Kent State University. His work has won the CRAFT Short Fiction Prize, a Pushcart Special Mention, an Honorable Mention for the J.F. Powers Prize, and was a finalist for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize. He has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and published in One Story, Salamander, PANK Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, and Dappled Things, among others.

Many thanks to James for leading this workshop! Carrie George will return in June.