5th Annual Fall Literary Festival October 7-9, 2021 Youngstown, Ohio Conference Theme: “Our Shared Story” Visiting Writers: Ross Gay, Jan Beatty, Bonnie Proudfoot & Mike Geither
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for Our Shared Story, 5th annual Fall Literary Festival, October 7-9 in Northeast Ohio, featuring Ross Gay, Jan Beatty, Bonnie Proudfoot & Mike Geither.
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.
Darlene Montonaro of Cleveland and David Swerdlow of New Wilmington, Pa. will read from their work for the First Wednesday Readers Series, Wednesday, February 3 at 7:00 PM EST, live on Lit Youngstown’s Facebook page. Register here to attend on Zoom and/or read in the open mic. Co-hosted by Iris Davis Hall.
Darlene Montonaro’s poetry has appeared in a number of literary magazines including Calyx, Slipstream, Earth’s Daughters, Blueline, and The Comstock Review. She served for twelve years as the Director of the Poets’ & Writers’ League, and in 2016 was awarded a Creative Workforce Fellowship from Community Partnership for Arts and Culture.
David Swerdlow’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Iowa Review, etc. He’s published two books of poetry: Bodies on Earth (2010) and Small Holes in the Universe (2003). His first novel, Television Man, came out in 2019. Swerdlow teaches at Westminster College.
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.