“I've made so many connections with writers that started with Lit Youngstown's Lit Festival, in particular.”


2022 Fall Lit Festival


The in-person, 6th annual Fall Literary Festival will be centered around the theme “The Places That Make Us,” a conversation about writing, publishing, teaching, community outreach, and inclusion.


The conference aims to sustain and enhance discussion on real and imagined literary places that shape our memory, experience and identity.

This year's featured presenters are film scholar & screenwriter Laura Beadling, fiction writer Kelly Fordon, filmmaker Karla Murthy, children’s author Candace Fleming & poet Joy Priest.


October 20

Concept Studio

Warm welcome, Fall Literary Festival attendees and presenters! Join us downtown at the Concept Studio for a cookie table (a Youngstown tradition!), an open mic and the start of a great conference.


October 21


Karen Schubert 

9:45-10:45 SESSION ONE

Creative Reading 

Sara Moore Wagner, Mixby Dickon, Jim Ferris

Workshop- Life Like: Crafting Memorable Settings in Creative Works

Melissa Dunlap, Amanda Miller

Talk- Honoring Others with Our Fiction Research + “Sitting of the Edge of the Waves”: Voices of the Foreigner in Their own Home

June Gervais + Michael W. Young 

Talk- Documentary filmmaking: differences in processes between news piece and film

Karla Murthy

Narrative nonfiction talk or workshop

Candace Fleming

11:00-12:00 SESSION TWO

Creative Reading

Barrett Warner, Julia Wendell, Jan LaPerle, Tara Stillions Whitehead, Ashley Cowger

Workshop- Poem and Place Caught on Film: An Interactive Workshop Responding to Photography, Movies, and Other Art Forms

Marjorie Maddox

Crabgrass and Hummingbirds: A Generative Workshop with a Focus on Incorporating -- and Maximizing -- Natural Elements in Poetry and Prose

Keith Lesmeister, Erica Anderson-Senter, Christian Whitney

Moving Past Influence

Dylan Morris, Mary Biddinger, Ali Black


Creative Reading

Jeff Gundy, Becca J.R. Lachman, Karen Frank



1:00-2:00 Speaker Talk: Power of Film as Narrative, Power of Empathy

Karla Murthy


Workshop- screenwriting workshop

Laura Beadling

Workshop- "Let's Deconstruct a Story" Part 1

Kelly Fordon

TBD: Poetry talk or workshop

Joy Priest

Talk- Marketing Your Book--Tips from a Professional Marketer and Writer

Gabriel Welsch

Talk- Literary Citizenship: Writing for Other Writers

Erin Flanagan, Meredith Doench, Amy Gustine, Christina Consolino

3:30-4:30 SESSION FOUR

Talk- Redirection as Reinvigoration

Melanie Murphy, Molly Fuller, Robert Miltner

Workshop- "Let's Deconstruct a Story" Part 2

Kelly Fordon


Rikki Santer

Talk- The Danger of Forced Silence: Why Fighting Book Bannings and Problematic Educational Legislation Matters

Jackie Mercer, Chris Barzak, Tim Francisco, Sarah Valingo

Talk-  Launching a Writer’s Residency on the Eve of a Pandemic + Strengthening Artistic Communities Through Podcasts

Arlan Hess, Dade Lemanski, Alyssa Velazquez, Jeremy Jusek 

5:00-6:00 Happy Hour Noble Creature Cask House or Tour Museum of Industry & Labor

Youngstown Historical Center of Industry & Labor | 151 W. Wood St.

Noble Creature Cask House | 126 E. Rayen Ave.

6:00-7:00 Dinner & Jazz

St. John's Episcopal Church | 323 Wick Ave.

7:00 Reading (Free and Open to the Public)

Featured Presenters Kelly Fordon & Joy Priest

St. John's Episcopal Church | 323 Wick Ave.



October 22


Karen Schubert 

9:45-10:45 SESSION ONE

Talk- Creating a Creative Writing Infrastructure at the Community College

Michael Dittman, Jackie Kunkel 

Creative Reading

Susan McKenzie, Mary Ozbolt, Amber Ree Robinson

Talk- How to Get Somewhere Without Going There: A Panel Discussion on Writing Authentically about Place

Marjorie Maddox, Marion Starling Boyer, Barbara Sabol

Workshop- Building Community & Empathy through Creative Writing

Cynthia Larsen, Amy Rosenbluth

Talk- Persevering to Publication: Some Practical Tips

June Gervais 

Workshop- All Alone Without a Phone

Dana Washington 

11:00-12:00 SESSION TWO

Talk- Ohio's Girlhood Landscape: Exploring the Intersection of Place and Identity

Sara Moore Wagner, Christen Noel Kauffman, Sarah Ann Winn

Workshop-The Objects That Reveal Who We Are

Jonie McIntire, Jim Ferris

Creative Reading

Janet Beard, Jennifer Militello, Rikki Santer

Talk- Writing Into and Out of Landscapes + Evoking the Spirit: Place as Character in Fiction Writing

Anastasios Mihalopolous, Joee Goheen + Karen Frank

Workshop- Bringing a film project to fruition

Laura Beadling

12:00-1:00 CATERED LUNCH

The Hub in Kilcawley Center

1:15-2:15 SESSION THREE 

Creative Reading

Jen Knox, Jonie McIntire, Sarah Ann Winn

Talk-Legal Issues for Authors

Jacqueline Lipton

Talk- Been There, Lit That  + Characteristics of Appalachian Literature and Film

Mario J. Ricciardi + Larry Smith

Talk- Make Your Mark(eting) +  NAG the Competition -Naming, Aiming, and Gaming - A Guide to Titles and Marketing

Lannie Stabile + Dianne Borsenik

Workshop- The Window or the Door: Transitioning from Writing Stories to Novels

Erin Flanagan

2:30-3:30 SESSION FOUR 


Creative Reading

Lannie Stabile, Katerina Stoykova, William Heath

Workshop-Excavating a Protagonist's Inner Wounds

Meredith Doench

Talk- Women & Words: Stories that Connect

Mary Leoson

Talk- Persona's Not Just People

Dr. Christian Anton Gerard, Heather Dobbins

Talk- Centering Writing in our Community + Teaching Poetry in the Community

Cynthia Larsen, Amy Rosenbluth + Carrie George, Charles Malone


Panel Discussion, “The Places That Make Us”

5:00-7:00 Dinner & bowling 

The Westside Bowl | 2617 Mahoning Ave.

7:00 Screening of The Place That Makes Us & Panel Discussion (Free and Open to the Public)

Youngstown Playhouse | 600 Playhouse Lane