October 5: A Night to Remember

Join us for a truly wonderful evening of sidewalk poetry dedication, elegant dining, great conversation, an incredible reading by George Ella Lyon, our Fall Literary Festival keynote reader, and an open mic. Come for any part and stay as long as you like; all are free and open to the public with the exception of dinner (reservations required).

4:30-5:30 Behind St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. & the corner of Walnut & E. Federal St., downtown Youngstown
Dedication: Words Made Visible Sidewalk Project
6-6:45 Dinner, Hilton DoubleTree Ballroom
7:00 Hilton DoubleTree 2nd Floor Lounge
Reading of NEA Big Read Teen & Open Contest Short Short Fiction Winners
Fall Literary Festival Keynote Reading George Ella Lyon
8:30 Open Mic Continue reading

O Autumn Fruitfulness!

September and October are filling up so richly, we’re going to dedicate a square to all that’s going on, between the NEA Big Read (centered around Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea), the Fall Literary Festival, a reading by poet and native Youngstowner Ross Gay, and our usual Lit Yo activities.NEA Big Read

We’ll add to this calendar as pieces come together. All events are free and open to the public with no reservation required, unless otherwise indicated.

This is a partial list of Big Read activities; please visit the calendar of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County for the whole beautiful thing! Continue reading

Early Bird Starts to Pack

Many of you have heard the call of the early bird, not for worms, but for the affordable registration rate of only 40 bucks at the Fall Literary Festival, for two days of fantastic readings, craft talks and panel discussions and book fair. But, alas, the early bird is packing up, her tiny calendar marked “fly” on July 31.

Literary Festival Logo Design

Many of you told us you’d expect to pay a lot more, but you know where our heart is: keeping it real for our folks in the Valley. Those of you who have a bit of extra have been generous in making gifts to support our work. Thank you.

If you’re a writer, be sure to get in on this. If you’re a reader, look it over. The quality of writers coming in, the eight featured writers and fifty presenters from the Valley, region, and throughout the Eastern U.S., is something we’re proud to crow about.

With sponsors like this, you know we’re in good company. Please join us in thanking them: the Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Nancy Beeghly, Marion Boyer, Barbara Brothers, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, Liz Hill, the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, Purple Cat, St. John’s Episcopal Church,  Sojourn to the Past, the Youngstown Foundation, Youngstown State University College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Youngstown State University English Department, Youngstown State University Women & Gender Studies

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Scene and Summary Writing Workshop

“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.

Short Short Fiction Contest

A few years ago, NPR sponsored a 3-minute fiction contest for stories that could be read in 3 minutes or less (fewer than 600 words). Nin Andrews was teaching a workshop and assigned the contest as a writing prompt. She sent one in, herself, and we were thrilled when Luis Alberto Urrea mentioned her story on air.

In honor of Mr. Urrea’s visit, and in conjunction with the NEA Big Read, we thought it would be fun to have a contest of our own. Two winners and two runners-up will be invited to read at the Fall Literary Festival October 5 at 7:00 before Festival keynote reader George Ella Lyon.

The contest is open to teens and adults who are current residents of Mahoning, Trumbull, Mercer and Lawrence Counties. One entry per person, please. Stories will be judged anonymously, and must be entered by August 31. Winners will be announced in September.

 

Poets & Ice Cream

Join us Wednesday August 7, 7:00, The Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St., as we welcome acclaimed poets James Arthur, Cody Walker & Catherine Wing. Open mic to follow, emceed by Arya-Francesca Jenkins. We will also be celebrating National Raspberries and Cream Day with homemade ice cream.

James Arthur is the author of The Suicide’s Son and Charms Against Lightning. He has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Stegner Fellowship, a Discovery/The Nation Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Northern Ireland, and a Visiting Fellowship at Oxford. Arthur teaches at Johns Hopkins University.

Cody Walker directs Creative Writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Author of poetry collections The Self-Styled No-Child and Shuffle and Breakdown. His work appears in The New York Times Magazine, The Yale Review and The Best American Poetry. He’s the co-director of the Bear River Writers’ Conference. Walker’s chapbook, The Trumpiad, was published on the last of Trump’s first 100 Days. Proceeds are being donated to the ACLU.

Catherine Wing is the author of two collections of poetry, Enter Invisible and Gin & Bleach. Her poems have been published in such journals as Poetry, The Nation, and Tin House. She teaches at Kent State University and is currently serving as the Director of the NEOMFA, the nation’s only consortial program in Creative Writing.

Summer Festival of the Arts!


Summer Festival of the Arts is one of our favorite events of the year! We’ll be there with the “Where I’m From” poem template, in anticipation of Fall Literary Festival visiting writer George Ella Lyon and her international project.

We’ll also have paper sidewalk squares for visitors to decorate, in celebration of our poems stamped in sidewalk squares, part of the Words Made Visible project. We’ll dedicate them and introduce the poets at the Fall Literary Festival. Continue reading

Third Thursday Writers Circle

pexels-photo-745365Would you like some gentle feedback on new work you’ve written? Bring 10 copies (one poem or story excerpt, 5 pages max.) to the Third Thursday Writers Circle.

We will meet in our office at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave. at 6:00, Thursday, June 20. Come to the door on the right, under the stone archway, and ring the buzzer.