Workshops & Classes

Enrollment Open

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). Register here.

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.


How to Acquire a Literary Agent and Beyond
*This class has been postponed until spring*

This class will give writers a basic introduction on how to prepare a manuscript for querying an agent, what to include in the query, and what happens next.

Meet the teaching artist: Ella Marie Shupe is an agent with the Belcastro Agency, seeking adult fiction mysteries, thriller, suspense, and general fiction. She is looking for a unique voice and a strong protagonist full of attitude; she likes dark and intense but wouldn’t turn away something that’s a little on the lighter side. She is also looking for young adult: fantasy, science fiction, action/adventure, contemporary, magical realism, mystery/thriller, and horror.

Have a Class or Workshop Idea?

We pay $250 for a 5-6 week workshop or $150 for a half day “short.” Our participants vary, from emerging to experienced writers, teens to retired adults working in a variety of genres. We are seeking workshops on general and specific themes, open to all genres or genre-specific.

Please submit your workshop proposal here. If your idea doesn’t fit the form, use the “Anything else we need to know” box to share your thoughts.

Enrollment Closed


Elements of Scene

Scenes are dramatized moments that engage characters or speakers in action and dialogue. It is one of the essential building blocks of prose writing and can be vital to plot development. Used by both fiction and creative nonfiction writers, scenes pull readers into the work and help them to “see” the characters and the world the writer has developed. This workshop will focus on the important elements needed to write a strong scene and will provide some tips on how to make scenes in your own writing stand out. Come ready to write a scene or two!

Elements of Scene. Tuesday, January 5, 6:30 to 7:30 PM EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $15 (scholarships are available). Register by January 2.

Meet the Teaching Artist: Meredith Doench is the author of the Luce Hansen thriller series from Bold Strokes Books. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in literary journals such as Hayden’s Ferry Review, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Gertrude. Her nonfiction essay “South Carolina, 2012” was nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize by The Tahoma Literary Review. She served as a fiction editor at Camera Obscura: Journal of Literature and Photography and is a senior lecturer of writing at the University of Dayton in Ohio.


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 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.


Play to Your Long Suit — Discover Your Writing Temperament

Story, Structure, Music, and Imagination are what Gregory Orr calls the natural temperaments of writers. Together we will discover which of the four temperaments is your particular strength and how to deepen and broaden that talent. Further, each temperament has its complement, so we will discuss ways to develop your complementary temperament. For prose and poetry writers.

Discover Your Writing TemperamentMondays, October 5-November 2, 1 to 3 p.m. EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (or pay as you are able).

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.


Playwriting 102

Students who enjoyed the “The Power of Ten”playwriting class will enjoy this workshop where we write and share scenes, monologues, or completed short plays over the course of 4 weeks. Didn’t take the first class? No problem. You’ll be able to join right in. Classes will be a combination of the technique practice, discussion and sharing of material.

Playwriting 102. Wednesdays, September 9-30, 5:30-6:45 p.m. EST, on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (or pay as you are able).

Meet the Teaching Artist: Kelly Bancroft’s plays have been produced in Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Cleveland. She earned an MFA from the NEOMFA program at YSU. She is also a poet and prose writer. A short documentary she co-produced based on one of her plays was a selection of the Cleveland International Film Festival.


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.

Meet the teaching artist: Author of two poetry chapbooks and the fiction collection Ghastly Tales of Gaiety and Greed (Omnium Gatherum, 2020), E.F. Schraeder is an admirer of strange wonders, slights of hand, and carousels who writes poetry and fiction 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.

Believe it or Not? Saturday, August 22 & Sunday, August 23, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST, on Zoom. Register by August 20. Course fee is $15 (or pay as you are able). Please click below to pay online or mail a check to Lit Youngstown/323 Wick Ave. #9/Youngstown, OH 44503.

Building an Author Website

Have you ever searched for the website of an author whose work you love or just discovered? An author website allows you to introduce yourself to readers, so they might purchase-promote your publications or invite you to present. This interactive workshop will help you design a website of your own.

Meet the Teaching Artist: Ashley Dillon is a digital media artist working primarily in sound and moving image. Her current body of work is centered around the rust belt, its people and its history. Through this she explores identity, origins, history and the collective experience of its inhabitants past and present. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from The Dana School of Music (Youngstown State University). She currently lives and works in Youngstown, Ohio.

Building an Author Website, Tuesday, August 18, 6:00-8:00 p.m. EST, on Zoom. Register here by August 16. Course fee is $15 (or pay as you are able). Please click below to pay online or mail a check to Lit Youngstown/323 Wick Ave. #9/Youngstown, OH 44503.

Putting the “I’s’ in Activism: Personal Narrative as a Form of Transformative Resistance

Sharing stories is one of the most fundamental means of communication. In 2020, our reliance on connecting through personal narratives is as strong as ever as we continue to use various social media platforms to share our stories with the world. Speaking out about social injustice is proving to be a powerful way to expose oppressive power dynamics and motivate change. Channeling our experiences into compelling narratives that inspire dialogue helps to heighten our awareness of the complex social issues that plague our communities. In this workshop we will focus on crafting strong, personal narratives about injustice as a form of transformative resistance, with the suggestion that sharing these narratives with your community can be a powerful tool in combating social justice issues.

Putting the “I’s’ in Activism: Personal Narrative as a Form of Transformative Resistance. Sunday, July 12, noon to 3:00 p.m., on Zoom. Three clicks/two registrations: Zoom here and Lit Youngstown here by July 10. Course fee is $15 (or pay as you are able). Please click here to pay via Paypal or credit card or mail a check payable to Lit Youngstown/323 Wick Ave. #9/Youngstown 44503. Thank you!

Meet the teaching artist: Adrianna Lamonge is an educator in Trumbull County and graduate of YSU where she received an M.A. in English. Her nonprofit is Rustbelt Social Justice Education and Activism.

The Power of Ten

Google the question “What can you do in 10 minutes” and you’ll get suggestions from vacuuming a single room to matching socks to cleaning out a junk drawer. In this class, students will read, discuss and write a ten-minute play. It will take students more than ten minutes to write it (4 weeks to be exact) but the performance of the piece will land right in that ten-minute sweet spot. Students will be invited to read or perform their final works.

The Power of Ten: a Playwriting Workshop. Wednesdays, July 8-29, 5:30-6:45 p.m., on Zoom. Course fee is $25 (or pay as you are able). Please click here to pay via Paypal or credit card or mail a check payable to Lit Youngstown/323 Wick Ave. #9/Youngstown 44503. Thank you!

Meet the Teaching Artist: Kelly Bancroft’s plays have been produced in Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Cleveland. She earned an MFA from the NEOMFA program at YSU. She is also a poet and prose writer. A short documentary she co-produced based on one of her plays was a selection of the Cleveland International Film Festival.

Writing a Strong Humanities Graduate School Application

Applying to graduate school in the humanities is confusing and, let’s face it, until you actually have to write these documents, most people have never even heard of them. This class will focus on learning to craft effective personal statements (and other documents) for applying to graduate school.

Writing a Strong Humanities Graduate School Application. Saturday, June 20, 1:00-4:00 p.m., on Zoom. Course fee is $15 (or pay as you are able).

Meet the Teaching Artist: Dr. Laura Beadling earned her Ph.D in American Studies from Purdue University and has taught at YSU in the English Department since 2013, where she is currently an Associate Professor of English and Film Studies. She has served on committees that deal with graduate students in a number of capacities.

Glimpses of My Past: A 7-Week Memoir Workshop

This workshop will follow the model of visual and literary artist Janet Malcolm’s autobiographical article for the New Yorker, inspired by photographs of her past. The first session will include a discussion about the article and writing prompts to get started. Over the next six weeks, participants will write and workshop brief autobiographical “sketches” based on 5-6 personal photos.

Glimpses of My Past: A 7-Week Memoir Workshop. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Tuesdays, May 19-June 30, 6:30-8:00 p.m., on Zoom. Course fee: $25 (or pay as you are able). Click here to pay via Paypal or credit card. Thank you so much and we look forward to spending some evenings with you.

Meet the teaching artist: Mari Alschuler is a poet and writer who earned her MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. She is an Associate Professor of Social Work at YSU. Mari is a Poetry Therapy Practitioner and Psychotherapist in a private practice in Poland. Her poems and short stories have been published in anthologies and national literary journals. She trains people to become poetry therapists internationally.

Writing as the Character in Poetry

Whether humorous, intense, dramatic, or morbid, poets use persona as the speaker in poems to bring the reader into an imagined experience, new take on a story, or an entirely new world. The workshop will help to develop a strong sense of imagined-self in poetic characters with techniques lent from fiction and acting to open the imagination and create the strongest personas possible. This is a fun, generative workshops. Writers will go home with at least six new pieces. Writers of all genre are welcome!

Writing as the Character in Poetry. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Saturday, May 2, 1:00-4:00 via Zoom. Course fee: $15 or pay-as-you-can. Register here. Pay here via PayPal or credit card. Thank you! (set up as a donation). Thank you so much and we look forward to spending an afternoon with you.

Meet the teaching artist: Jessica Fischoff is the Editor and Owner of [PANK], Editor and Owner of American Poetry Journal, author of the little book of poems, The Desperate Measure of Undoing (Across the Margin, 2019) and Editor of the upcoming Pittsburgh Anthology (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2020). Her thoughts on editing appear in Best American Poetry and The Kenyon Review. Her writing appears in Diode Poetry Journal, Fjords Review, The Southampton Review, Yemassee, and Prelude.

“Cinema of the Mind” — Flash Fiction Through the Camera’s Lens

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and teacher Robert Olen Butler teaches a moment-by-moment method of writing fiction that shares many similarities with the medium of film. We will learn how to take two of the most important elements of all fiction—desire and emotion—and create compelling flash fiction and short stories using Butler’s “Cinema of the Mind.” We will practice with such flash forms as Triptychs and numbered list flashes since they work well with brief, focused scenes.

“Cinema of the Mind” — Flash Fiction Through the Camera’s Lens. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Saturday, March 7, 9:00 a.m.-noon, St. John’s Episcopal Church,  323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $15 (collected at workshop). Need-based scholarships are available. Registration deadline March 1.

Meet the teaching artist: Gene Brode is a short fiction writer and fire alarm technician. He’s an avid reader and long time blogger who has been writing fiction since his days at GMU where he studied Spanish language and literature in the mid 90s. He is the founding editor of



“Show, Don’t Tell” but also “Less is More”: Using Scene and Summary in Short Story Writing

Most narratives rely on plot to engage readers, and most plots rely on scenes in order to create a solid structure. Scenes can control the pace of a story and introduce character development. However, while scene is very powerful, there is another tool writers can use: summary. Summary can be used in place of scene to accomplish many of the same things, but summary can also be used to influence characters within the story, or the readers themselves.

In this workshop, we will examine several short stories to look for successful examples of using both scene and summary. Writers can bring in their own drafts with the goal of revising them, or will be able to generate drafts.  Writers in this workshop will find their own happy mediums between “show, don’t tell,” and “less is more.”

Meet the teaching artist: Specializing in fiction through the NEOMFA program, Bridgid Cassin has worked as writer and editor for Youngstown State University’s New Frontiers research publication while also serving on the staff of the Jenny literary magazine. She has led workshops for Lit Youngstown, Winter Wheat, and the Hoyt Center for the Arts in Newcastle, PA. Bridgid has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and attended the Juniper Summer Writing Institute in 2018. Bridgid previously earned Master’s in English from St. John’s University, and also completed a certificate in Children’s and YA Literature at YSU.

Using Scene and Summary in Short Story Writing. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Wednesday, August 14, 7-9:00 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church,  323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $15 (pay at workshop). Need-based scholarships are available. Register here: Deadline August 10.

Submitting Poems & Short Prose for Publication

This workshop will focus on submitting poems and short prose (fiction, nonfiction, essay) for literary journals, anthologies and contests. We will discuss how to find print and online publications that might be a good fit, how to write a cover letter, how to track submissions, and how to find and enter contests. Whether you are new to publishing or an old hat looking for a jump-start, join us for this four-week workshop.

Submitting Poems & Short Prose for Publication. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Thursdays, May 23, May 30, June 13 & June 27, 7-8:30 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church,  323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $25. Need-based scholarships are available. Register here: Deadline May 20.

Karen Schubert is the author of five poetry chapbooks, most recently Dear Youngstown (NightBallet Press). She has published dozens of poems, fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, reviews and interviews in journals including National Poetry Review, Apple Valley Review, diode poetry journal, Waccamaw and


Instructor – Arya F. Jenkins

 The Flash Fiction workshop will focus on experimentation and practice of flash fiction forms as well as the questions—what is flash fiction, how is its power achieved? During this five-week course students will examine and write stories that fall into five flash fiction categories: flash fiction (1000-1500); sudden flash fiction (750 words); microfiction (100 words); the six-word story; and the final class will be on marketing. There will be reading and writing assignments in and outside of class.

Flash Fiction Workshop. Teens & Adults. All experience levels welcome. Tuesdays, March 5-April 2, 7-8:30 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church,  323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $25. Need-based scholarships are available ( Registration Deadline March 1.

 Please bring paper/notebook and pens, or an ipad or laptop to class.

Arya F. Jenkins is a writer/teacher/editor.  Her flash fiction has been published in numerous journals and zines such as Anti-Heroin Chic, Black Scat Review, Brilliant Corners, Cider Press Review, The Feminist Wire, Front Porch Review, KYSO Flash, The Matador Review, Metafore Literary Magazine and Mojave Literary Review. Her fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2017 and her fiction and flash fiction garnered three nominations in 2018. She has published two poetry chapbooks and her short story collection Blue Songs in an Open Key was published by Fomite Press November 2018. Blue Songs in an Open Key is available via

 Arya has taught creative writing at Fairfield University and Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. She has worked as an editor for numerous writers, and as a newspaper, magazine and book editor.



Join Rikki Santer in exploring ways that poetry and film can be in conversation with each other.  In this workshop, Santer will present film clips and poems to demonstrate how the movies have influenced and inspired poets throughout the last century.  She will also provide prompts that will guide participants to “read” a movie with more complexity as well as create poems in response to the cinema.  

Saturday March 10, noon to 3:00, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. $15.

Santer is a Columbus, Ohio, award-winning poet and educator who developed and taught a film studies curriculum to high school students and adults for seventeen years.  She has published film reviews and studied film at New York University, The Ohio State University, Antioch University, The University of Montana, and Wesleyan University and currently serves on the advisory board of Film Columbus.  She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Kent State University and a master’s of fine arts in creative writing from The Ohio State University.  Her poetry has been published widely and Nightballet Press released her fifth poetry collection, Make Me That Happy.  (


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.

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.

The Hard Way on Purpose: Writing the Beauty of Unglamorous Places

Now more than ever, it is vital for writers of the Rust Belt to represent our sense of place with passion and insight. As politicians, commentators and the entertainment elite try to define us for their own purposes, we must observe and project the reality of our communities and the lives we live here. In this workshop, we will discuss techniques for writing about place, with an emphasis on the postindustrial landscape of Northeast Ohio. The session will include a writing exercise; participants should bring a notebook or laptop.

The Hard Way On Purpose: Friday, August 18, 3:00-4:30, St. John’s Episcopal Church,  323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $15.

Meet the Teaching Artist: David Giffels is the author of The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches From the Rust Belt (Scribner 2014), nominated for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the memoir All the Way Home (William Morrow/HarperCollins 2008), winner of the Ohioana Book Award. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the, Parade, the Wall Street Journal,,, Redbook, and many other publications. He also was a writer for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head. He is an associate professor of English at University of Akron, where he teaches creative nonfiction in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program.

Screenwriting: Think the Academy

Think the Academy Screenwriting Workshop. Saturdays, June 24-July 29, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church,  323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $25.

Think the Academy screenwriting class will take writers deep into these topics:

1) Generating Academy Award-Winning Concepts

2) Developing Stories with Pieces that Stick (how screenwriting is like putting a puzzle together, or investigating a mystery)

3) Forming Formatting Formulas (honoring industry-standard script formatting, and establishing personal processes)

4) Don’t Watch. Write! (motivation for persevering through the 1st draft without distractions or discouragement)

5) Advice. Revise. Advice. (getting feedback, and improving unto perfection)

6) Give Oscar Ears (A final lesson in how to thrive in the business; not taking “No” for an answer; etc.)

Daniel Clifton Colvin is a Writer of books, essays, plays, poetry, short stories, songs, and screenplays. His original peace poem, “Armed with a Conscience”, was read on the House Floor and submitted to the Library of Congress in 2003 by Ohio Congressman, Tim Ryan. In 2008, He graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting; and worked as an assistant at the Cannes Film Festival, in France. In 2015, he wrote and produced his first stage play, a musical, It’s Midnight. Now, as this Youngstown native re-establishes his roots in Northeast Ohio, he offers his passion for the art of screenwriting, and his methods for mastering its creative science.

“A hell of a fat chance my orange bears had!”: Race, Heritage, and Identity in the Rust Belt

Tuesdays, May 23-June 27, 7:00-9:00 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church,  323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $25.

In his poem “The Orange Bears,” Niles native Kenneth Patchen documents the difficulties steel workers faced in the mills. How do factors including race, heritage, gender, and class impact Youngstown’s history and our own contemporary experiences? In this workshop, we will read nonfiction, fiction, and poetry that examines the intersection of identity and Rust Belt culture and compose our own pieces in response. This is a multigene workshop—participants may compose poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. No experience is required, and teens are welcome.

Each week, we will meet for discussions and writing. On Tuesday, June 6, we will discuss the poetry of Rochelle Hurt and Nin Andrews in anticipation of their Lit Youngstown reading at Purple Cat Productions on Wednesday June 7.

We will read and discuss nonfiction, fiction, and poetry excerpted from seven books. All literature will be provided, so there is no need to purchase a book. If you wish to borrow (available from the library via OhioLink) or purchase the books, here is the list we’ll be working from:

Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories edited by Lit Youngtown
The Rusted City by Rochelle Hurt
Why God is A Woman
by Nin Andrews
Steeltown U.S.A.: Work and Memory in Youngstown
by Sherry Lee Linkon and John Russo
Divided We Stand: American Workers and the Struggle for Black Equality
by Bruce Nelson
Remembering Youngstown: Tales from the Mahoning Valley
edited by Mark C. Peyko
Car Bombs to Cookie Tables: A Youngstown Anthology
edited by Jacqueline Marino and Will Miller

Meet the Instructor: Allison Davis is the author of Line Study of a Motel Clerk (Baobab Press, 2017), a full-length collection about small family businesses in northeast Ohio, and Poppy Seeds (Kent State University Press, 2013), winner of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Prize. She holds an MFA from Ohio State University and fellowships from Stanford University’s Wallace Stegner program, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Severinghaus Beck Fund for Study at Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Her work has recently appeared in Best American Poetry 2016, The Missouri Review, and Crazyhorse.

Mothering: The Arc of Your Story

Saturday, May 6 10:00-noon, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $15.

The word “mothering” can conjure all sorts of thoughts and emotions, some positive, some negative. Yet, regardless of our relationship to our mothers and/or children, we have all been formed by a matrilineal line. That relationship line is not only part of the arc of our present story, but also our future stories as we continue to birth our “offspring,” whether these are children, ideas, businesses, or dreams.

Join instructor Ginny Taylor for this creative time of exploring these connections to our female ancestors while also linking these relationships to our future dreams. Bring a journal, and a photo of a female ancestor.

Meet the Instructor: A self-proclaimed journaling activist, Ginny Taylor is a certified Journal to the Self instructor. Her writing background includes an MFA in creative writing from Ashland University, multiple publications, and teaching in college-level writing programs. Through her business called Women of Wonder, Ginny facilitates workshops where she channels her passion for empowering women through difficult challenges and into lives filled with wonder and joy. Writing, gentle yoga, and creative expression are her muses that almost always show up in her programs. Ginny lives in Warren with her husband and two dogs. She has three grown children and one adorable grand-baby who calls her GiGi.

Links: Women of Wonder website:
Writer website:

Editing 101: Red Ink is Your Friend

Saturday, May 6 10:00-noon, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. Course fee: $15

Are you an aspiring writer?  Even the most experienced writers need this valuable skill – successful editing.  Red ink IS your friend!  Join Lori and Stacey to learn the basics about editing as they share some of their personal editing experiences.  Bring along at least one of your personal writing samples, no matter what stage it’s in.  You’ll have a chance to practice self-editing, have your work edited by your peers and receive feedback from Lori and Stacey.

Meet the Instructors: Stacey Schneider is a freelance writer and journal editor, as well as a professor at Northeast Ohio Medical University. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree and practiced as a pharmacist for many years in the community but teaching and writing emerged as her true life calling. Writing began for her as a means to heal her own scars and has since transformed into one of her true passions. It’s not unusual to find Stacey sitting at her antique desk engrossed in reading a great book or writing amidst the peacefulness.  Stacey hopes to share her own experiences to empower other women to see the light at the end of the tunnel and realize we must all take our own journeys to find and embrace our true selves. In her spare time, you will find her enjoying running to clear her mind, spending time with family, and relishing in the tranquil serenity of the koi fishpond in her backyard.

Thinking outside of the box…that’s what Lori Bodkin does best!  You might say creativity is her middle name and it certainly keeps her passion for life in overdrive.  Lori lives in St. Clairsville, Ohio, is the Continuous Improvement Coordinator for Fyda Freightliner Pittsburgh, Inc. and has been married to her husband Bob for nineteen years.  Together, they enjoy spending time with their teenage son and daughter.  “Make a difference everyday” is Lori’s personal mission statement, and it is evident in her daily activities.  Lori has coordinated and led many leadership workshops, fun-themed retreats, Bible studies and women’s events for various organizations where she has enjoyed being a mentor and a motivational speaker.  Lori has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, is a certified Christian Lay Counselor and also writes an encouragement blog called Arrows of Integrity.  With active children, free time always comes at a premium, but when it’s available, Lori enjoys scrapbooking, reading, baking, and especially visiting with her girlfriends over a cup of good

Poetry Mimetics: Mimicking Other Poems to Deepen Our Own Voices

Wednesdays, March 1 (Poetry reading at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts; all remaining dates at El Tapatios), 8, 15, 22, 29 & April 12 & 19  7:00-9:00 p.m., El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant & Cantina,  3632 Belmont Ave. A purchase at El Tapatio is not required, but appreciated. Course fee: $25.

Developing a unique poetry “voice” comes with the hazard of writing the same poem over and over. In this workshop, we’ll do a close reading of other poets’ work, and try our hand at mimicking different styles and content. In this way, we’ll stretch and strengthen our own work. No experience is required, and teens are welcome. We will be writing poetry, but writers of other genres are welcome.

We will begin the workshop at the reading of Sean Thomas Dougherty and Terry Murcko on Wednesday, March 1, 7:00, at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts. This evening, we’ll attend the reading only. The following Wednesdays, we’ll meet at El Tapatio at 7:00 for our weekly discussion and writing (we will skip Wed. April 5, as Lit Youngstown is hosting Mark Winne this evening).

We will look at poems from six books. All poems will be provided, so no book in hand is necessary; however, if you wish to borrow (available from the library via OhioLink) or purchase the books, this is the list we’ll be working from. The poets will all be featured readers in our 2017 First Wednesday Reading Series.

Scything Grace by Sean Thomas Dougherty
Hotel Utopia by Robert Miltner
Why God is a Woman by Nin Andrews
The Rusted City by Rochelle Hurt
Twice Told by Caryl Pagel
American Dervish by Steven Reese

Meet the Instructor: Karen Schubert was a 2017 writer-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center. Her most recent chapbooks are Black Sand Beach (Kattywompus Press) and I Left My Wings on a Chair (Kent State Press), selected by Kathleen Flenniken for a Wick Poetry Center Chapbook Prize. Her poems and interviews appear in Diode, Best American Poetry Blog, Waccamaw, PoetsArtists. She is a graduate of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, creative non-fiction editor for Ragazine and a founding director of Lit Youngstown.


The Road Less Traveled: The Journey Narrative

Tuesdays, March 14-May 2, 5:15-6:45 p.m., Mocha House,  7141 Tiffany Blvd., Boardman. A purchase at Mocha House is not required, but appreciated. Course fee: $25. Deadline March 5.

If the road of your life had a fork and you chose one path, what might have happened if you’d taken the one less traveled upon? This workshop will explore journey, coming of age, the picaresque and self-exploration through story, memoir, and narrative poem. This workshop is open to older teens (17-18) and adults of all ages. Writing experience not required.

Meet the Instructor: Mari Alschuler is a poet and fiction writer who earned an MFA from Columbia University. Her work has been published in literary journals and anthologies for over 35 years. She is on the social work faculty at YSU and is in private practice in Poland as a poetry therapist and psychotherapist. 


Sharing Your Family Story

Sundays, March 26 and April 9, 1:00-3:00 p.m., First Unitarian Church of Youngstown, 1105 Elm St. Course fee: $15. Deadline March 12.

A practical approach to writing the story of your ancestor(s) or living family member(s). Even if you have only a vague notion of the story, the class will help you clarify it by exploring ways to gather information, write the story, and share it with your intended audience.

Meet the Instructor: Liz Hill coordinated Lit Youngstown’s Phenomenal Women project, which created a book of first-person narratives from 12 Youngstown women. She’s also created and self-published two memoir books for her own family. More at

Knowing Is Half the Battle: The Knowledge Matrix as a Writing Tool

Thursday, September 1, 5:00-7:00 p.m., First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown,  1105 Elm St. Course fee: $15.

They say to write what you know, right? But what do you know? What do you not know? In this workshop, we will explore how taking stock of what we know and don’t know might offer us clarity, perspective, and insight – all important elements of effective writing. And, who knows, we might even write a poem or two.

Meet the Instructor: Caitlyn Ryan is a graduate of the NEOMFA program and teaches writing at YSU, but that doesn’t really tell you much about her. She is a lazy poet and a lazier fiction writer who periodically takes up and then abandons hobbies like crocheting, ink-making, and walking across the country. Oregon was cool.

The “Me” in Memoir

*Registration closed* Wednesdays, September 14 to October 12, 5:30 – 6:45 p.m., YWCA, 25 W. Rayen Ave. Free parking in the YWCA lot on Phelps. Course fee: $25. Preregister here by September 10. No Walk-ins, please.

This workshop is designed for students interested in writing personal essays, creative nonfiction and short memoir. We’ll begin with modeling techniques and discussing the goals and challenges of autobiographical writing. Students will then work with the instructor on individualized projects along with sharing their work, if desired, with others in the class. Writers of all experience levels are welcome. Bring along whatever you prefer to write on (computer, iPad, paper, your choice), and come ready to write!

Meet the Instructor: Kelly Bancroft writes personal essays, fiction, poetry and plays. She has taught writing to students of all ages in schools, detention centers and community centers and at YSU. She is a prize-winning graduate of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. Her prose and poetry have been widely published and two plays have been produced. She is currently working on a collection of essays about an ancestor, as well as a YA novel with friend and writer, Colleen Clayton.

Persona Poetry: The Power of the “I” Who Is Not You

 Sundays October 2 to October 30,  3:00 – 5:00 p.m., Pressed Coffee Bar & Eatery, 215 Lincoln Ave. Not wheelchair accessible. Lincoln Ave. is under construction, but there is free street parking nearby. Course fee: $25.
Can a strategy that moves you away from your own experience yield intimate poems that dramatize history, vocalize the previously unspoken, or animate the inanimate?
Creating personal poems is an energizing and insightful strategy for writers of any genre. And, if you recall the pretend play of your children, it might even restore an element of joy to your writing process.

Meet the Instructor: Karen Kotrba is the author of the poetic sequence She Who Is Like a Mare: Poems of Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service.

Getting Published: the Where, What, When, How and Why of Submitting Poetry and Short Fiction

Saturdays, October 15 & 22, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., Austintown Public Library, 600 S. Racoon Rd. Course fee: None.

As a result of attending this class, participants will acquire a “savvy” regarding

  • the process of submitting individual pieces to journals and manuscripts to presses
  • finding resources for information regarding calls for submissions and publication overviews
  • creating a check list and pointers for choosing the best presses for one’s work and presenting those pieces in the best possible light
  • the conventions of sending out work to publishers
  • composing an impressive cover letter and biographical statement

Meet the Instructor: Barbara Sabol is a speech therapist, teacher and editor. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Original Ruse and The Distance between Blues. Her work has most recently appeared in the Tupelo Press Poetry Project, The Louisville Review, The Examined Life, San Pedro River Review, Common Ground Review, Ekphrasis, Pentimento, Chrysanthemum and Modern Haiku, Pudding Magazine, and forthcoming in The Comstock Review and Blue Lyra Review. Her poetry has also appeared in a handful of anthologies. In 2015, Barbara’s poetry was displayed in a collaborative visual art exhibit at the Box Gallery in Akron, and at Heights Arts. Her poetry has also been adapted for song lyrics by folk artist Sam Sapp. Barbara was awarded the Mary Jean Irion Prize in Poetry, sponsored by the Chautauqua Institute. She holds an MFA from Spalding University. Barbara reviews poetry books for the blog Poetry Matters. She lives and works in Cuyahoga Falls with her husband and wonder dogs.

5 thoughts on “Workshops & Classes

  1. Pingback: Workshop Enrollment is Live! | Lit Youngstown

  2. sophia iqbal

    Am interested in writing workshops geared towards middle school/high school kids.

  3. kathleen shannon

    i want to write about my life struggle w depression and addiction from a counselor, me. I have alot to say that I feel can reach alot of people and help advocate for mentsl health issues and decrease stigmatization.

    1. lityoungstown

      Kathleen, this sounds like a meaningful project. We send our encouragement. We will host more writing workshops in the spring, and will feature monthly readers who may inspire you along the way.

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