Category Archives: Readings

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, 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.

General Information

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.

First Wednesday Features Fine Poets (Zoom & FB Live)

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.

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.

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