Fall Literary Festival

Second Annual
Fall Literary Festival
Youngstown, Ohio
September 21-22, 2018

This year’s festival will feature accomplished visiting writers, a book fair, a caucus for literary arts nonprofits, panels on many aspects of the literary arts, craft talks, workshops and readings in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

Daytime sessions and readings take place on the campus of Youngstown State University. Evening readings by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Friday) and Jon Kerstetter (Saturday) are in the stone sanctuary of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Saturday evening’s dinner is in the newly opened DoubleTree in the historic Stambaugh Building (1907) in downtown, on the 12th floor overlooking the Mahoning Valley. We end with an open mic, all invited, at the DoubleTree.

Visiting Writers
Friday Schedule of Events
Friday Keynote Reading by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Saturday Schedule of Events
Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship Award
Saturday Reading by Jon Kerstetter
Travel, Lodging and Amenities
Community Partners

 

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Visiting Writers

lesley arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria. Her work has received grants and awards from Commonwealth Writers, AWP, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky was published by Riverhead in April 2017. She currently lives in Minneapolis.

jeanne-dutton

Jeanne Dutton

A lifelong reader, Jeanne Dutton’s interests expanded after majoring in English in college, to writing and publishing fiction. In 2009, she published her first novel for teens with HarperCollins. Freaked is the story of a teenaged boy obsessed with the Grateful Dead. She followed with a second novel in 2010 entitled Stranded, a mystery set in Iowa surrounding the discovery of an abandoned baby.

Jon Kerstetter

Jon Kerstetter

Jon Kerstetter, the author of Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story (Random House 2017), received his medical degree from the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, and his MFA degree from Ashland University in Ohio. He served as a combat physician and flight surgeon for the U.S. Army and completed three combat tours in Iraq. His writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, River Teeth, and other literary journals.

lipton-8807-23_orig

Jacqueline Lipton

Jacqui Lipton, LL.B., M.F.A., Ph.D. is a law professor and writer as well as the director of Authography LLC, a company dedicated to helping authors and artists meet their personal and professional goals. She writes regular columns on legal issues for authors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Bulletin, Savvy Authors, and Luna Station Quarterly. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Ph.D. in law from Cambridge University. Her forthcoming book, LAW & AUTHORS: A LEGAL HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS will be published in 2019 by University of California Press.

Dave 2016

Dave Lucas

Dave Lucas is the author of Weather (Georgia, 2011), which received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry.  He is a co-founder of Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery and of Cleveland Book Week.  In 2018 he was appointed the second Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio.

Craig Paulenich

Craig Paulenich

Craig Paulenich is the author of two books of poetry, Drift of the Hunt (NobobdaddiesPress, 2006) and Blood Will Tell (BlazeVOX  [books], 2009) and editor (with Kent Johnson) of the anthology, Beneath A Single Moon:  Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry (Shambhala Press, 1991).  His poems have appeared in The Georgia Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Kansas Quarterly, the Minnesota Review, the South Carolina Review, Southern Poetry Review, Artful Dodge, and many others.  He has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes.  He earned an MFA in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh, a Ph.D. in English at Bowling Green State University, and is Professor of English at Kent State University-Salem.  He is a co-founder and faculty with the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, the nation’s only creative writing consortium. He’s currently working on a book of poems about John Brown.  He and his wife, Karla, live on a 27-acre farm outside Guilford Lake, Ohio.

Judith Vollmer

Judith Vollmer

Judith Vollmer is the author of five full-length books of poetry, including most recently The Apollonia Poems, awarded the University of Wisconsin Press Four Lakes Prize in 2016 and published last year.  She has received fellowships and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the American Academy in Rome; and the Brittingham, the Cleveland State, and the Center for Book Arts publication awards.  Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Poetry International, Poet Lore, The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire, Prairie Schooner, The Women’s Review of Books, among many others. She teaches in the MFA Program in Poetry & Poetry in Translation at Drew University.
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Fall Literary Festival Schedule of Events

Friday September 21

9:00 Registration Opens  

9:30 Welcome 

10:00-10:50 Session 1

Poetry and Science: Adding the Artistic Perspective to Science-Based Presentations
Robert Wilson
Moderator Barbara Sabol

The Edith Chase Symposium Association presents an annual symposium designed to educate the public on key water quality issues, such as the Lake Erie toxic algae crisis, or threats to Ohio groundwater resources. Speakers have generally been scientists, journalists, and environmental advocates. Beginning with 2017, we added poetry to the mix, focusing first on the Cuyahoga River in 2017, and on Lake Erie in 2018. This talk and discussion will consider why and how this approach fits in. We will look at chapbooks from the events, photos, poems and songs, and on how to expand the role of poetry in public discourse.

Hybrid Structures and the Lyric Essay
Amber Taliancich Allen
Moderator Bonné de Blas

An exploration of hybrid forms and lyric in creative nonfiction. We will begin by looking at examples of varying essay structures, including fragmented forms such as braiding, as well as paying attention to the poetic nature the personal essay can take. We will look at examples from Eula Biss, Maggie Nelson, Lily Hoang, among others. Generative exercises will follow.

After Twilight: Learning to Write Better by Using Published Works
Ivan Rodden
Moderator Alice Vermillion

The Dadaists were onto something when they started cutting apart printed works to make new ones. Using Twilight, this workshop will give participants hands-on activities that can be used to practice better dialogue, stronger word choice, erasure poetry, and a variety of editing techniques. The exercises can be used to generate new work, inspire new ways of approaching one’s own texts, or used as language play in a variety of classroom settings. Also, marking up a printed book feels a bit subversive, and that makes it even more fun.

Creative Reading
Dianne Borsenik, Susanna Lang, J.D. Smith
Moderator Nicole Robinson

Dianne Borsenik travels and performs her poetry throughout the Midwest. Lit Youngstown printed her poem “Disco” on their tee shirts, which makes her feel like a rock star. Borsenik, editor/publisher at NightBallet Press, lives in Elyria, Ohio, with husband James. Find her on Facebook and at www.dianneborsenik.com.

Susanna Lang reads from her most recent collection of poems, Travel Notes from the River Styx. Andrew McFayden-Ketchum writes that “Susanna Lang peers into the tiny mirrors of a river’s current, the mirror her father cannot see himself in, the rearview mirror in which she spies sandhill cranes on an afternoon drive as she interrogates the natural and, at times, unnatural world. The result is a collection of double images….” Her poem, “After You Get Up on Memorial Day” was featured by the Poetry Foundation and American Life in Poetry, the syndicated column of former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.

J.D. Smith’s fourth collection, The Killing Tree, was published in 2016, and in 2007 he was awarded a Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. His other books include humor and essay collections and a children’s picture book.

10:00-11:50 Sessions 1 & 2

Tour: Butler Institute of American Art
Ekphrasis Workshop with Karen Kotrba
Moderated by Liz Skeels
Meet 10:00 by the Book Fair in the Chestnut Room 

Karen Kotrba is the author of She Who is Like a Mare: Poems of Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service. She is currently working on a collection of short stories set in East Liverpool, Ohio.

11:00-11:50  Session 2

What Editors Want: Inside a Literary Journal
Cameron Cavaliere, Rochelle Hurt, Jenna Moses, Mark O’Connor
Moderator Mallory Rader

The staff of SLAB, a national literary magazine housed at Slippery Rock University and winner of the AWP Directors’ Prize for Undergraduate Magazines, will discuss the behind-the-scenes process of editing a literary journal, highlighting what they look for in submissions and how they make publication decisions as a team. Writers will get tips on how to make it past the slush pile when submitting, while educators and attendees interested in editing will get a look inside a successful university journal.

EcoPoetry: Water for Life
Susann Moeller
Moderator Barbara Sabol

In this workshop, participants will come to know the difference between Nature Poetry and EcoPoetry. Addressing specifically the topic of Water, we will focus on exploring its qualities and characteristics juxtaposed to the various causes and effects of human impacts. A sample reading and some documentary clips will lead into hands-on writing exercises including prompts to elicit the creation of respective imagery such as the exploration of sounds, smells, sights, and tastes of water we want to reflect in a poem. To conclude, we will share our efforts generated individually as well as a team.

Creative Reading
Adam Reger, Larry Smith
Moderator Alice Vermillion

Adam Reger is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s MFA program in fiction and lives in Pittsburgh, where he is a teacher of writing, a freelance writer and ghostwriter, and a stay-at-home father.

Larry Smith lives with his wife Ann in Huron, Ohio where he is professor emeritus of English and humanities from Firelands College of Bowling Green State University. He has studied at the Thoreau Institute and has written on the life and writings of Henry David Thoreau. He is the author of eight books of poetry, five books of fiction, and literary biographies of writers Kenneth Patchen and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Smith is also writer-producer of two video programs on poets James Wright and Kenneth Patchen done with filmmaker Tom Koba. His own memoirs have appeared in Milldust and Roses (2005) and The Thick of Thin: Memoirs of a Working-Class Writer (2017). He and Mei Hui Huang are co-translators of Chinese Zen Poems: What Hold Has This Mountain? and The Kanshi Poems Taigu Ryokan (both from Bottom Dog Press). In 1999 he received the Ohioana Poetry Award for his contributions to poetry in Ohio. Smith is the director of Bottom Dog Press, an independent Ohio literary publisher for over 35 years.

Shameless Self-Promotion for Writers
Lee Chilcote
Moderator Nicole Robinson

Marketing your writing is essential to building an audience. Whether you want to get likes or shares for a post on social media, develop an effective author website, or simply answer the question “What do you do?” you need to understand the basics of self-marketing. Get inspired to share your work as presenter Lee Chilcote discusses the basics of self-marketing, including social media, email newsletters, author websites, setting up readings and more. We’ll look at examples of authors who have successfully marketed their work and you’ll practice fleshing out your own marketing ideas.

Digging Deep In Memoir: How to Get Your Reader to Care
Dorit Sasson
Moderator Bonné de Blas

A well-written memoir makes the reader care. In order to write a memoir that is relatable, the writer has to be willing to go deep. Using excerpts, this hands-on workshop will present strategies and techniques on how to move from incidental or surface telling to a memoir built on reflective takeaways that gets the reader to care.

12:00-1:00 Lunch: On Our Own

There are eateries inside Kilcawley Center and in the Butler Institute of American Art, as well as within easy walking distance. Please reference the list of restaurants in your packet.

12:00-1:00 Caucus: Administrators and Board Members of Literary Nonprofits

Grab a to-go lunch and join us in the Chestnut Room for a roundtable conversation. 

1:00-2:00 Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas  

2:00-2:50 Session 3

Haiku: A Myth Breaking Workshop
Joshua Gage
Moderator Alice Vermillion

Come learn about haiku! Move beyond the myth of 5-7-5 in this workshop and learn what is currently happening with haiku locally and nationally. Participants in this workshop will learn about haiku principles and practices in the West, how haiku has been adapted to English, and practice writing their own haiku.

“Creating Tension on the Page: Desire + Obstacles = Conflict”
Jacqui Lipton
Moderator Nicole Robinson

One of the things writers often struggle with the most in creating compelling fiction is to develop and maintain conflict and tension on the page. This is because we love our characters and don’t want them to suffer. How do we deal with this contradiction between wanting our protagonists to face, and hopefully overcome, challenges, and wanting to keep them safe? In this workshop we talk about the importance of throwing away that safety blanket and making our characters face their inner and outer demons. From page one, it’s important to give your character something that she really wants, and then throw obstacles in her way, allowing her to develop and grow through facing those challenges. This creates conflict and raises stakes, which creates the delicious tension that keeps readers turning pages. We’ll be doing some writing exercises so bring a paper and pencil or laptop or stone tablet or whatever else you have handy. 

Jacqui Lipton, LL.B., M.F.A., Ph.D. is a law professor and writer as well as the director ofAuthography LLC, a company dedicated to helping authors and artists meet their personal and professional goals. She writes regular columns on legal issues for authors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Bulletin, Savvy Authors, and Luna Station Quarterly. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Ph.D. in law from Cambridge University. Her forthcoming book, LAW & AUTHORS: A LEGAL HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS will be published in 2019 by University of California Press.

Creative Reading
Christopher Citro, Sara Moore Wagner, Susan Wojnar
Moderator Rochelle Hurt

Christopher Citro (http://christophercitro.com), author of The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy (Steel Toe Books), received a 2018 Pushcart Prize for Poetry. Publications include poetry in Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, The Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, Best New Poets, and Alaska Quarterly Review, and creative nonfiction in Boulevard, Quarterly West, The Florida Review, Passages North, and Colorado Review.

Sara Moore Wagner is the Cincinnati based author of the chapbook Hooked Through (Five Oaks Press, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Gulf Stream, Gigantic Sequins, Stirring, Reservoir, The Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and Arsenic Lobster, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart prize, and was a recent finalist for the Tishman Review’s Edna St Vincent Millay Prize. Find her at www.saramoorewagner.com.

Susan Wojnar, a native of the Mahoning Valley, has recently completed her first manuscript of poetry, entitled Embrace the White Darkness. One of the poems from the manuscript, “Twilight of the Ashes,” appears in the Fallen City Writers 2015 anthology. Ms. Wojnar is also an accomplished musician who performs regionally and writes music. She has released 2 CD’s of original material: Foolscircle and Catch 22. Ms. Wojnar obtained her MA in English from Youngstown State University and is a member of the Fallen City Writers.

Roundtable: Writing Contests: Benefits, Pitfalls, and Your Writing Career
David Armstrong, Ashley Cowger, Damien Cowger
Moderator Susann Moeller

Writing Contests are both revered and maligned, and often provide writers with experiences—good and bad—they might otherwise not find in the regular search for publication. From the possibility of being paid considerably more to the dangers of predatory publishers and entry fees, this roundtable explores some factors that writers in all stages of their career might consider when approaching contests. Presented by editors and writers who’ve been on both sides of contests, this roundtable aims to arm fellow writers with the tools to approach contests wisely (and possibly increase the chance of winning them).

David Armstrong is the author of two story collections—Going Anywhere (winner of the Leapfrog Press Fiction Prize) and Reiterations (winner of the New American Fiction Prize) and a chapbook, Missives from the Green Campaign. His fiction appears in Mississippi Review, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, NarrativeIron Horse Literary ReviewDesert CompanionBest of Ohio Short Stories, and elsewhere. His stories have won the Mississippi Review Prize, Yemassee’s William Richey Short Fiction Contest, the New South Writing Contest, the Slippery Elm Prize, and Jabberwock Review’s Prize for Fiction, among other awards. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of the Incarnate Word and lives in San Antonio, Texas. https://www.davidarmstrongwriter.com

Ashley Cowger is the author of the short story collection Peter Never Came, winner of the Autumn House Press Fiction Prize, and her stories have appeared in several literary journals. She holds an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Penn State Harrisburg. http://www.ashleycowger.com

Damien Cowger is the former Managing Editor of New Ohio Review. He has been nominated for both a Pushcart Prize as well as Best New Poets. Damien is the Writing Coordinator at the Russell E. Horn Sr. Learning Center at Penn State Harrisburg.

Beyond “Show Don’t Tell”
Adam Reger
Moderator Beth Franklin

Fiction writers of all eras have heard the advice to “show, don’t tell.” But is this advice wise? Do we even *want* to read work that shows and doesn’t tell? Using sources ranging from Wayne Booth’s “The Rhetoric of Fiction” to recent, multiculturally focused insights from writers like Viet Thanh Nguyen, Adam Reger will explore this old chestnut and try to think beyond it.

3:00-3:50 Session 4

Editors’ Publishing Panel
Discussion on publishing from an editor’s point of view
Moderator Christopher Citro

Dianne Borsenik, NightBallet Press; Jessica Fischoff, PANK Magazine; John Gosslee, C&R Press, Fjords Review; Rochelle Hurt, The Bind; Larry Smith, Bottom Dog Press; Vertigo Xi’an Xavier, The Poet’s Haven

5:00-7:00  Dinner

St. John’s Episcopal Church (Limited Seating, Registration Only)
Pastas & Salads Catered by Cultivate Café in Great Hall

7:00 Keynote: Lesley Nneka Arimah

St. John’s Episcopal Church (Free and Open to the Public)
Q&A Bridgid Cassin

Cake Reception

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Saturday September 22

 9:30 Welcome

 10:00-10:50 Session 1

Craft Talk or Fiction Workshop
Lesley Nneka Arimah
Moderator Nikki Robinson

Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria. Her work has received grants and awards from Commonwealth Writers, AWP, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her short story collection What It Means When a Man Falls From The Sky was published by Riverhead in April 2017. She currently lives in Minneapolis.

In Ciardi’s Footsteps
Craig Paulenich
Moderator Jeffrey Murphy

This session will embrace John Ciardi’s call to examine how a poem means, rather than the usual approach that asks  what a poem means.  Utilizing close readings of a variety of poems, we will go to the texts, to the words on the page, to explore how each poem means.  How, that is to say, each does what it does.

On Northeast Ohio Poet Kenneth Patchen
Bill Mullane
Moderator Stephanie Stearns

 In the spring of 1987 Bill Mullane organized a major celebration of Kenneth Patchen’s work in his home town of Warren, Ohio. Kenneth’s sisters and other members of his family were involved in four days of events, commemorative poetry readings and exhibitions. During this first gathering it was decided that the Trumbull Art Gallery with the support of the Ohio Arts Council would sponsor an annual Kenneth Patchen Festival to celebrate the poet’s work. Bill will reflect on the research and work done during the Kenneth Patchen Festivals and exhibitions held in Warren, Ohio between 1987 and 1992. We will look at Kenneth’s childhood, high school career and life in the Mahoning Valley and how they forever influenced his art.

Poetry and Pop Music: Exposing Poetry to Those Who May Need it Most
James Sutman
Moderator Kelly Bancroft

Jimmy Sutman is the founder/ Director of ISLE Inc./Purple Cat and the Daily Director of operations for Golden String Inc., a non-profit specializing in providing services for adults with disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Traumatic Brain Injury. Jimmy hosts “Oranges: Poetry and Pop Music” a show intertwining poetry and pop music on goldenstringradio.org, poetry for and about adults with disabilities, connections with nature and the human condition in writing, bringing poetry to a broader community.

Greetings from “The Glass City”
Don Cellini, Adrian Lime, Jonie McIntire, Kerry Trautman
Moderator Dianne Borsenik

Get to know four literary neighbors from the greater Toledo area as they present some of their poetry and information about their recent book publications. Toledo has a vibrant literary community, with regular poetry reading series and opportunities for out-of-town poets to come share their work in featured reading slots. Come enjoy this opportunity to familiarize yourself with a sampling of Toledo’s poetic voices, and to make connections with Northwest Ohio writers.

Don Cellini has translated several books by Mexican poets and dozens of individual poems for The Ofi Press where he is translation editor. His own work includes several books, most recently Candidates for Sainthood and Other Sinners/ Aprendices del santo y otros pecadores (2015) and Stone Poems (2016).

Adrian Lime is a founder of Almeda Street Poets and ToledoPoet.com. He helmed the annual Back to Jack [Kerouac] Reader’s Theatre for ten years, and was published in journals including Maladjusted and Americans for the Arts, and anthologies including Tuesday Nights at Sam & Andy’s Uptown Café (Westron Press, 2001).

Jonie McIntire authored Beyond the Sidewalk (Nightballet Press, 2017) and Not All Who Are Lost Wander (Finishing Line Press, 2016.) She hosts two monthly poetry series and was Poetry Editor at Toledo Streets Newspaper. Her work’s appeared in journals, anthologies, and concrete—for the Toledo Arts Commission’s Sidewalk Poetry series.

Kerry Trautman is a founder/admin for ToledoPoet.com, and a poetry editor for Red Fez. Her work has appeared in dozens of anthologies and journals. Her poetry chapbooks are Things That Come in Boxes (King Craft Press, 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press, 2015,) and Artifacts (NightBallet Press, 2017).

11:00-11:50 Session 2

Prose Reading
Jacqui Lipton
Moderator Suzanne Wulach

Jacqui may be reading a few pages from her forthcoming nonfiction book on legal issues for authors–which she’ll be talking more about in her legal issues workshop. She may also surprise you with a flash fiction piece or two!

Jacqui Lipton, LL.B., M.F.A., Ph.D. is a law professor and writer as well as the director of Authography LLC, a company dedicated to helping authors and artists meet their personal and professional goals. She writes regular columns on legal issues for authors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Bulletin, Savvy Authors, and Luna Station Quarterly. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Ph.D. in law from Cambridge University. Her forthcoming book, LAW & AUTHORS: A LEGAL HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS will be published in 2019 by University of California Press.

Poetry Reading
Craig Paulenich & Judith Vollmer
Moderator Jeff Murphy

Craig Paulenich is the author of two  books of poetry, Drift of the Hunt (Nobobdaddies Press, 2006) and Blood Will Tell (BlazeVOX  [books], 2009) and editor (with Kent Johnson) of the anthology, Beneath A Single Moon:  Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry (Shambhala Press, 1991).  His poems have appeared in The Georgia Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Kansas Quarterly, the Minnesota Review, the South Carolina Review, Southern Poetry Review, Artful Dodge, and many others.  He has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes.  He earned an MFA in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh, a Ph.D. in English at Bowling Green State University, and is Professor of English at Kent State University-Salem.  He is a co-founder and faculty with the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, the nation’s only creative writing consortium. He’s currently working on a book of poems about John Brown. He and his wife, Karla, live on a 27-acre farm outside Guilford Lake, Ohio.

Judith Vollmer is the author of five full-length books of poetry, including most recently The Apollonia Poems, awarded the University of Wisconsin Press Four Lakes Prize in 2016 and published last year.  She has received fellowships and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the American Academy in Rome; and the Brittingham, the Cleveland State, and the Center for Book Arts publication awards.  Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Poetry International, Poet Lore, The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire, Prairie Schooner, The Women’s Review of Books, among many others. She teaches in the MFA Program in Poetry & Poetry in Translation at Drew University.

Submitting Your Writing for Publication in the Contemporary Publishing World
Jessica Fischoff, John Gosslee
Moderator Mahmoud Kambris

Contemporary Magazine and Book Publishing, editors of PANK magazine and books and C&R Press and Fjords Review talk about what they look for in a magazine or full-length manuscript submission and answer questions, while covering best submission and writing practices.

Creative Nonfiction Talk or Workshop
Jon Kerstetter
Moderator Rebecca Barnhouse

Jon Kerstetter, the author of Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier’s Story (Random House 2017), received his medical degree from the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, and  his MFA degree from Ashland University in Ohio. He served as a combat physician and flight surgeon for the U.S. Army and completed three combat tours in Iraq. His writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, River Teeth, and other literary journals.

Editing the Essay: Innovative Nonfiction
Sarah Minor, Thomas Mira y Lopez, Zach Savich
Moderator Kelly Bancroft

Three editors will discuss their experiences editing creative nonfiction that foregrounds formal or thematic experimentation. How can the editorial process best support innovative works? What are editors’ roles and responsibilities in that relationship? How do essays that may be “challenging” interact with contemporary publishing and its communities? The panel will offer insights into writing and submitting essays, reviews, and other forms of nonfiction for publication, including digital and multimedia works, and will includes samples of creative nonfiction that the panelists have edited for publications including DIAGRAM, the Kenyon Review, Rescue Press, Territory, TriQuarterly Review, and Tupelo Quarterly.

 Luna Negra Staff Reading
Carrie George, Cameron Gorman, Joseph Mercer, Taylor Patterson, Regan Schell
Moderator Jordan McNeil

Luna Negra is Kent State University’s literary arts journal! This creative reading features presentations of works from some staff writers and editors, and allows for an open mic period for the audience to share their work as well.

Cameron Gorman is the editor-in-chief of Luna Negra. Carrie George, Taylor Patterson, Regan Schell and Joseph Mercer are editors and writers on the staff. Luna Negra aims to amplify the voice and art of its community, and to make space for expression.

12:00-1:00 Catered Buffet Lunch for All Participants (included in registration)
The Hub 

1:00-1:50 Session 3

Writing with Your Ears: Sound and the Written Word
Bridgid Cassin
Moderator Karen Kotrba

In this workshop, we will explore the auditory foundations of language and apply what we learn to our writing practice. This will include identifying our favorite letters and sounds, and listing words and phrases that appeal to us aurally. From creating these small pleasing units of language, we can brainstorm and generate new passages of prose that read well both on and off the page, or apply these principles in revision to see and hear the difference between drafts.

YA reading
Jeanne Dutton
Moderator Ginny Taylor

A lifelong reader, Jeanne Dutton’s interests expanded after majoring in English in college to writing and publishing fiction. In 2009, she published her first novel for teens with HarperCollins. Freaked is the story of a teenaged boy obsessed with the Grateful Dead. She followed with a second novel in 2010 entitled Stranded, a mystery set in Iowa surrounding the discovery of an abandoned baby.

“Copyrights, and Trademarks, and Contracts … Oh My!”
Jacqui Lipton
Moderator Lee Murray

In this presentation, Jacqui will talk about some of the key legal issues you’ll confront as an author in the modern publishing world, including the impact of digital technology on legal questions. In particular, she’ll explain the recent furor in the romance publishing industry about trademarking book series titles, and how trademarks differ from copyrights. She’ll also talk about common clauses you’ll see in contracts with agents and publishers. We’ll leave plenty of time for questions so come along with anything you’ve always wanted to know but have been afraid to ask about the law of the publishing industry.

Jacqui Lipton, LL.B., M.F.A., Ph.D. is a law professor and writer as well as the director of Authography LLC, a company dedicated to helping authors and artists meet their personal and professional goals. She writes regular columns on legal issues for authors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Bulletin, Savvy Authors, and Luna Station Quarterly. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Ph.D. in law from Cambridge University. Her forthcoming book, LAW & AUTHORS: A LEGAL HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS will be published in 2019 by University of California Press.

Punch Through the Envelope: How to Make an Editor Notice Your Work
Dianne Borsenik
Moderator Mari Alschuler

This is an interactive presentation, with printed outlines given to each attendee. At each stage of the presentation, the audience is invited to ask any questions they might have about the editorial process, from query letter to submission to acceptance or rejection. “Insider secrets” about what turns the editor of a small press on or off to your work will be revealed and explored.

Lives Made Luminous: The Transformative Power of the Particular
Lisa Dordal, Celeste Gainey, Sheila Squillante
Moderator Nicole Robinson

Poets Lisa Dordal, Mosaic of the Dark, Celeste Gainey, The Gaffer, and Sheila Squillante, Beautiful Nerve, use the transformative power of story and detail to explore desire, loss, identity, memory, and the relationship between the finite and infinite, the body and mind, in poems that are at times defiant, at times elegiac, and always celebratory of “the mysterious world that threads through us all.” For these poets, details about places, people, voices, objects, gestures, etc., provide a distinctive pathway to the luminous in poems that are transformative and performative, real and magical, transcendent and grounded, personal and universal.

Lisa Dordal, author of Mosaic of the Dark from Black Lawrence Press, teaches poetry at Vanderbilt University. A Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets University Prize, her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets, Ninth Letter, CALYX, Vinyl Poetry, and The Greensboro Review.

Celeste Gainey is the author of the full-length poetry collection, the GAFFER (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press), and the chapbook In the land of speculation & seismography (Seven Kitchens Press), runner-up for the 2010 Robin Becker Prize. She has spent many years working with light in film and architecture.

Sheila Squillante is the author of the poetry collection, Beautiful Nerve (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016), and three chapbooks. Recent work has appeared in Waxwing, Copper Nickel, North Dakota Quarterly, Indiana Review, and River Teeth. She teaches in the MFA program at Chatham University, where she edits The Fourth River.

2:00-2:50 Session 4

Poetry Workshop & Craft Talk
“Sundials, Time, & Space in the Lyrical Narrative Poem”
Judith Vollmer
Moderator Jeffrey Murphy

This workshop will include two prompts and a brief craft talk.

Judith Vollmer is the author of five full-length books of poetry, including most recently The Apollonia Poems, awarded the University of Wisconsin Press Four Lakes Prize in 2016 and published last year.  She has received fellowships and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the American Academy in Rome; and the Brittingham, the Cleveland State, and the Center for Book Arts publication awards.  Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Poetry International, Poet Lore, The Cambridge Companion to Baudelaire, Prairie Schooner, The Women’s Review of Books, among many others. She teaches in the MFA Program in Poetry & Poetry in Translation at Drew University

The Element of Setting in a Work of Prose
Jeanne Dutton
Moderator Nicole Robinson

Setting, as a significant element of fiction and non-fiction, is also a story and a subplot, a character and mood, something writers forget in their earnest attempts to just record physical details. Setting is always in motion and places we love or fear do not remain the same over the passage of time and the completion of a narrative arc. Places grow larger or smaller in the rear view mirrors of our imagination, they evolve or they crumble. They question us or trap us. In this craft talk, learn how to use setting to drive suspense, create nostalgia, humor, and dread in your readers. Learn to manage the understudied element of setting to deepen your writing projects and build the world you want your reader to experience, body and soul.

A lifelong reader, Jeanne Dutton’s interests expanded after majoring in English in college to writing and publishing fiction. In 2009, she published her first novel for teens with HarperCollins. Freaked is the story of a teenaged boy obsessed with the Grateful Dead. She followed with a second novel in 2010 entitled Stranded, a mystery set in Iowa surrounding the discovery of an abandoned baby.

Creative Reading
Arya-Francesca Jenkins, Karen Kotrba, Rebecca Moon Ruark
Moderator Lee Murray

Arya F. Jenkins will read from her short story, “The Blue Kiss” (based on a painting by Toulouse-Lautrec titled, “The Kiss”) included in her recently published jazz-inspired short story collection, Blue Songs in an Open Key.

Karen Kotrba is the author of She Who is Like a Mare: Poems of Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service. She is currently working on a collection of short stories set in East Liverpool, Ohio.

Rebecca Moon Ruark is a published writer interested in the exploration of place, specifically the Rust Belt. She writes stories set in her native Northeast Ohio—she will read a flash fiction piece—and blogs as Rust Belt Girl, connecting online with authors, photographers, and readers in the region and beyond. Her favorite discussions include those on “ruin porn,” guest posts with photographers, and author interviews with Akron memoirist David Giffels and with Pittsburgh native Amy Jo Burns, who wrote Cinderland and the forthcoming Shiner.

Bull’s-eye: How Two Women Beat the Odds, Built a Book, and Found a Publisher
Mari Alschuler, Deirdra McAfee
Moderator Dom Fonce

Nothing says America louder than a gun. Firearms, interwoven with our history, ignite our language and pervade our culture. We rarely notice or even discuss them, because we disagree. Fictional guns are harder to handle than real ones. As writers Deirdra McAfee and BettyJoyce Nash discovered after publishing their own gun stories, fiction that uses firearms skillfully is rare. Intrigued, McAfee and Nash sought the best—stories from American masters and from writers across the country, including local writer Mari Alschuler. They’ll discuss building and finding a publisher for Lock & Load: Armed Fiction, great stories with guns in them.

Hiram College Writers: A Reading
M; Margo, Matthew Mitchell, Mary Quade, Sara Shearer
Moderator Kelly Bancroft

Four writers associated with Hiram College’s Creative Writing program and the Hiram Poetry Review—including faculty and current and alumni Creative Writing majors—read from their work. Imbedded in the deep literary history of Hiram student Vachel Linsday and Garrettsville-born Hart Crane, Hiram’s creative writing community thrives in the northeast corner of Portage County. This reading highlights the work of several recent writers from Hiram’s hill.

M; Margo is a person who writes and resides in Cleveland, Ohio. They are Founding Editor of Zoomoozophone Review and Publicity Director for Gold Wake Press. Margo’s most recent books are Pennine Hillsongs (The Haunted Mask II) (2018) and yr yr (2017), both published by Ghost City Press.

Matthew Mitchell is a Creative Writing major at Hiram College. His writing has been featured in Lunch Ticket Literary Journal and Cleveland Magazine, and is forthcoming in Mantra Review, The Oakland Arts Review, Clockhouse, POND Magazine, and Tammy.

Mary Quade is the author of Local Extinctions (Gold Wake) and Guide to Native Beasts (Cleveland State). A three-time recipient of Ohio Arts Council Individual Awards for both poetry and prose, she is an associate professor of English at Hiram College, where she teaches creative writing.

A 2017 graduate of Hiram College, Sara Shearer was named one of Literary Cleveland’s “5 Under 25” young writers in Northeast Ohio. As a student she won awards in Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, and Poetry. She currently works as a content writer at a thriving web design company in Akron.

Session 5
3:00-3:50 Writers’ Publishing Panel

Craig Paulenich, Jeanne Dutton, Jon Kerstetter, Jacqueline Lipton, Rebecca Moon Ruark, Judith Vollmer in a discussion on publishing from the writers’ point of view
Moderator Robert Miltner

 5:00-6:30 Dinner at DoubleTree-Hilton Downtown
(1/2 chicken dinner in 12th floor ballroom, registration only) 


7:00 Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship Award
Reading Jon Kerstetter

St. John’s Episcopal Church (free and open to the public) 

8:30 Open Mic

DoubleTree-Hilton Downtown, 2nd floor Plaza Room
Cash bar in Plaza Room

Go to the Top

Community Partners

Please join us in thanking our community partners for helping to make the festival possible: the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, Nancy Beeghly, Barbara Brothers, Liz Hill, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, the Purple Cat, Sojourn to the Past, St. John’s Episcopal Church, YSU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, YSU Department of Women & Gender Studies, YSU English Department.

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Fall Literary Festival 2017

Literary Festival Logo Design

Lit Youngstown’s first Fall Literary Festival featured readings, craft talks, writing workshops and a publishing panel, by acclaimed and accomplished faculty from Ohio and around the country: Nin Andrews, Christopher Barzak, Kelly Bancroft, Suzana H. Case, Denise Duhamel, Robert Olmstead, Margo Taft Stever