Fall Literary Festival

kristinavogel4th Annual Fall Literary Festival
Youngstown, Ohio
September 24-26, 2020

Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for In Many Tongues: Constituents of the Barbaric Yawp.

The conference will include creative readings, craft talks, workshops and panel discussions on writing, reading, teaching, performing, editing and publishing creative works. Highly acclaimed visiting faculty will share their experience and insights, and presenters from Ohio and beyond will speak on a variety of topics.


Lit Youngstown seeks proposals for In Many Tongues: Constituents of the Barbaric Yawp, 4th annual Fall Literary Festival, September 24-26 in Northeast Ohio. Proposal submission form here.

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
–Walt Whitman

General Information

This year’s conference will be centered around the theme In Many Tongues, a conversation bringing together writing and publishing, literary inclusion, translating and translation, dialect and dialog, atypical modes of speech, and the generational, political, ecological, and experimental elements that add to the wider literary conversation.

Proposals may include panel and roundtable discussions, creative readings, or workshops. Group and individual proposal submissions are welcome. Individual proposals and creative readings may be grouped into panels by conference organizers.

Individuals are limited to two proposal submissions, please. Accepted presenters will be required to register for the conference at the early bird registration rate of $45 (students $25). The proposal deadline is 11:59 p.m., March 31. Notifications will be received by mid-April.


Proposal submission form here.

We seek proposals from a diverse cross section of voices and experiences, and encourage submissions from African American and Black, Latinx and Chicanx, Asian American, Appalachian, religious minority, disabled, blind and deaf, LGBTQ and non-binary, immigrant, native, rural, older, parent, and resource-poor writers. All genres are welcome and encouraged.

Possible topics for proposals include:

Creative writing outreach, oral history, narrative medicine/Literary arts service learning/Translating and accessing works in translation/International, transnational, or diasporic literature/Codeswitching and dialect/Responsibly engaging diverse voices and perspectives/Writing about identity and marginalized experiences/Lack of representation in publishing/Navigating the publishing industry as marginalized communities/Writers with disabilities/Writing within the deaf community/Writing within the blind community/Creative writing pedagogy/Residencies, conferences and other opportunities/Developing best practices in your craft/Collaboration and mentoring/MFA programs/Literary topics in all genres/Writing for mass media: journalism, blogging, podcasts, radio, etc./Children’s and YA writing and publishing/Storytelling/Speculative fiction/Screenwriting/Playwriting/Comics & graphic novels/Film & new media/Hybrid & short forms, flash/Older writers publishing/Strategies for teaching and researching writing/Engaging and sustaining a writing life

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Daytime programming will take place at Youngstown State University’s modern facilities in the Kilcawley Center.

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Conference Schedule

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Visiting Writers

cynthia atkins

Cynthia Atkins is the author of Psyche’s Weathers, In The Event Of Full Disclosure, and Still-Life With God.  Her work has appeared in numerous journals. She has taught English and Creative Writing, most recently at Blue Ridge Community College, where she curated a quarterly Reading Series. Atkins is an Interviews Editor at American Microreviews and Interviews.  She earned her MFA from Columbia University, and fellowships and prizes from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Writer’s Voice, and Writers@Work, with several nominations from The Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes. 

David Giffels headshot 2020

David Giffels  is the author of six books of nonfiction, including Barnstorming Ohio: To
Understand America, the memoirs Furnishing Eternity and All the Way Home, both winners of the Ohioana Book Award, and The Hard Way on Purpose, longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Parade, The Iowa Review, Esquire, Grantland, and many other publications. He is a professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts creative writing program.

janet wong

Janet Wong is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former lawyer who switched careers to become a children’s author. Her dramatic career change has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN’s Paula Zahn Show, and Radical Sabbatical. She is the author of more than 30 books for children and teens on a wide variety of subjects, including identity (A Suitcase of Seaweed & MORE), writing and revision (You Have to Write), diversity and community (Apple Pie 4th of July), peer pressure (Me and Rolly Maloo), chess (Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club), and yoga (Twist: Yoga Poems). A frequent featured speaker at literacy conferences, Wong has served as a member of several national committees, including the NCTE Poetry Committee and the ILA Notable Books for a Global Society committee. Together with Sylvia Vardell, she is the co-creator of The Poetry Friday Anthology series published by Pomelo Books.


Vicki Selvaggio, Storm Literary Agency
Lindsey Smith, Speilburg Literary

Book Fair
Bottom Dog Press
Full/Crescent Press

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The Third Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship


Lou was an enthusiastic writer and Lit Youngstown volunteer and participant, and we miss him. To honor his spirit, we created this $100 scholarship for a current student in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts.

Lou’s daughter Jamie offered us this tribute.

Lou Yuhasz was a writer, a husband, a father, a friend, and above all, a teacher. He graduated from Youngstown State University in 1999, with a BS in Secondary Education, concentrating on comprehensive communication. In his senior year, he was the assistant news editor at the Jambar covering the Academic Senate as YSU made the transition from quarters to semesters. He taught as a substitute for a year for Youngstown City Schools, before taking a job at a large health insurance company.

After ten years, and at the age of 48, Lou’s passion for creative writing and teaching led him to quit his job and join the NEOMFA program. Shortly after beginning school, he was diagnosed with stage II cancer of the esophagus. That didn’t stop him though, and he excelled in his classes.

His passion for his school and the program was contagious, and so was the happiness the NEOMFA brought him.  I’ve read a lot of my father’s work throughout my life, but something very special happened when he joined the NEOMFA program.

He was a husband of 26 years, and raised two daughters. His support for his family was unparalleled. His office looked like something out of a Lovecraft novel, with tentacles and gargoyles scattered between the bookshelves housing various scifi and horror novels. He loved to write and tell stories, as well as teaching others the ability to create what they loved.  He would be proud and honored to have this scholarship enable people to follow their passion.

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Visiting Faculty Past Festivals:

2019: Nin Andrews, Christopher Barzak, Erica Cardwell, Jill Christman, Michael Croley, George Ella Lyon, Philip Memmer, Phil Metres

Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship Winner: Steven Caumo

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2018: Lesley Nneka Arimah, Jeanne Dutton, Jon Kerstetter, Jacqueline Lipton, Dave Lucas, Craig Paulenich, Judith Vollmer

Lou Yuhasz Memorial Scholarship Winner: DT Dillon

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2017: Nin Andrews, Christopher Barzak, Kelly Bancroft, Suzana H. Case, Denise Duhamel, Robert Olmstead, Margo Taft Stever

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