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Six-week workshop: Voice in Fiction

Enrollment Open

Through Others We Find Our Own: Amplifying Voice in Fiction

Ask many beginning writers what they struggle with and you’ll no doubt get a wide range of responses—getting started, finishing, writing dialogue, world-building, and so on—but invariably “finding my voice” is at the top of everyone’s list. So what do we mean by finding our voice? Well, usually what people mean is that they’re searching for their style, that trademark something that makes their work memorable and identifiable, that element that sets it apart from everything else. And while writing and writing often is the only non-negotiable criteria for achieving this, often the best path to discovering your voice as a writer is learning to create distinctive voices in your work—that is, generating stories and poems that crackle with life. This will be our aim during this six-week course. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, and practice, you will learn different ways through which “voice” can be achieved. You will learn that it isn’t just how someone says something but what they say that contributes to the voice of a particular piece of writing. You will learn how setting details and point-of-view can influence voice and how the very structure of our sentences can speak volumes about character and circumstance. By the end of our time together, you will walk away with not only a completed piece of fiction, to which I will have provided detailed feedback, but also the tools with which to identify and amplify the voices contained in your future work.

Amplifying Voice in Fiction: Saturdays, November 4 to December 6, 10-11:30, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $25. Register here. Please register by November 1.

Meet the Teaching Artist: William R. Soldan holds a BA in English Literature from YSU and is a graduate of the NEOMFA program. His writing appears or is forthcoming in publications such as New World Writing, Jellyfish Review, Kentucky Review, Thuglit, The Literary Hatchet, (b)OINK, The Best American Mystery Stories 2017, and many others.


Words Made Visible Sidewalk Project

Congratulations to the writers of these excerpted works, which will be stamped into Youngstown sidewalks:

“The Field’s Red Wheat” by Jeanne Bryner
“Chant of Change” by David Lee Garrison
“Stars of the Front Yard” by Jeffrey Murphy
“Why the Window Washer Reads Poetry” by Laura Grace Weldon

Our gratitude to poet and judge Mary Quade, artist and signmaker Michael Staaf, the City of Youngstown, and the Ohio Arts Council.

We will add details of the whens and wheres of the project and dedication soon!

Aug. First Wed. Reading at Suzie’s

Join us Wednesday August 2 at 7:00 at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts in downtown Youngstown, as we welcome three visiting poets. Open mic to follow, emceed by Brandon Noel of The Makeshift Poets.


Jen Ashburn is the author of the full-length poetry collection The Light on the Wall, and has work in Chiron Review, Grey Sparrow, The MacGuffin, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Whiskey Island, and other journals. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Chatham University. Originally from southern Indiana, she spent four years in Japan and greater Asia, and now lives in Pittsburgh.

Roger Craik, Emeritus Professor of English at Kent State, has written four full-length poetry books: I Simply Stared (2002), Rhinoceros in Clumber Park (2003), The Darkening Green (2004), and Down Stranger Roads (2014); as well as two chapbooks. His poetry has appeared in national poetry journals such as The Formalist, Fulcrum, The Literary Review, The Atlanta Review and The Mississippi Review. He has been a Fulbright Scholar to Bulgaria and Romania.

Jason Irwin is the author of A Blister of Stars (Low Ghost, 2016), Watering the Dead (Pavement Saw Press, 2008), winner of the Transcontinental Poetry Award, and the chapbooks Where You Are (Night Ballet Press, 2014), and Some Days It’s A Love Story (Slipstream Press, 2005). He grew up in Dunkirk, NY, and now lives in Pittsburgh.


¡Hasta la Vista, Amiga!

Lots of people stopped by at the Summer Festival of the Arts to give a liz (2)farewell hug to our founding co-director, Liz Hill. Liz is moving to lovely Ajijic, on Lake Chapala, Mexico, where her husband Matt will serve as the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

We are sad to see her go, and we are so grateful for the countless hours of work Liz has done to get us going in the right direction. A lot of what we do is behind the scenes, and Liz has kept the books, written grants, developed our bylaws and our board. She also orchestrated the Slice of Life Storytelling Night at the YWCA, and the publishing of Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories, both meaningful projects that led to profound insights into our community.

We will miss Liz’s generous spirit, bean soup, and wit; on our way to the AWP conference in D.C. we stopped for a coffee, and got out of the car a bit stiff from the long ride, which led Liz to sing, “The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.”

We are also a little jealous. Look at Ajijic, how beautiful! Good journey, friend. We hope to keep Lit Youngstown going in a way that makes you proud.

Food for Thought: Closing the Food Gap

The last three books in our food-themed book series will be non-fiction, but very different in tone and content: from serious to humorous to scholarly, all fascinating and

This month we will read and discuss Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty by visiting writer Mark Winne (who will read Wed. April 5 at 7:00 at St. John’s Episcopal Church). A review in Beacon Press notes

In Closing the Food Gap, food activist and journalist Mark Winne poses questions too often overlooked in our current conversations around food: What about those people who are not financially able to make conscientious choices about where and how to get food? And in a time of rising rates of both diabetes and obesity, what can we do to make healthier foods available for everyone?

… Using anecdotal evidence and a smart look at both local and national policies, Winne offers a realistic vision for getting locally produced, healthy food onto everyone’s table.

Haven’t read the book yet? No worries. Come join us. 5:00-6:00, Thurs. April 13 at Cultivate Co-op Cafe, 901  Elm St. (No potluck: the cafe will be open and serving.)

The evening will coincide with Lake to River Co-op’s Online Market pick-up night. The monthly gatherings are free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.

Here are the rest of our monthly selections:

May 11: Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese by Eric LeMay
June 8: Salt: A World History by Mark Kulansky

Spring Workshop Enrollment Open!

Announcing our Spring 2017 Menu of Workshops!beautiful-you

Is there a road you didn’t travel? Thinking about writing the family story? Looking for advice on the nuts and bolts of editing prose? And who told you not to copy, anyway? Get your creative on in one of our spring workshops.

Visit our workshop page for more information and to register.

Storygami! Writer Visits Youngstown

Two first-rate poetry, fiction and non-fiction writers grace our stage Wednesday Jan. 4 at 7:00, at Purple Cat Productions, 220 W. Boardman St., downtown. If you took the summer class on writing in short forms, you know we’re in for a great evening.

Bring your work if you’re inspired to read at the open mic emceed by Lit Youngstown intern and YSU student Sarah Davis.


Molly Fuller was a semifinalist for the Jeanne Leiby Memorial chapbook award from The Florida Review and a finalist for the Key West Literary Seminar’s emerging writer award. Her prose and poetry can be found in NANO Fiction, Union Station Magazine, Potomac, and 100 word story and her flash sequence “Hold Your Breath” is in the White Pine Press anthology, Nothing to Declare. She was also the co-winner of Lit Youngstown’s Storygami contest at the 2016 Summer Festival of the Arts in Youngstown. Fuller is a Teaching Fellow in the Literature program at Kent State University.

Robert Miltner’s collection of prose poetry, Hotel Utopia, won the Many Voices Project book prize from New Rivers Press. His collection of flash fiction, And Your Bird Can Sing, was published by Bottom Dog Books. Recent nonfiction can be found in DIAGRAM, The Los Angeles Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Pithead Chapel and Great Lakes Review. He teaches at Kent State University and in the NEOMFA.