Dear Friend of Lit Youngstown,
As we close out our third year, let’s take stock of all the fun we had in 2017.
We opened the year as presenters at the prestigious AWP Writing Conference in Washington D.C. in February. Our panel discussed literary arts outreach into the community, and our co-panelists were other Great Lakes literary arts centers including the Wick Poetry Center in Kent and Literary Cleveland. We talked about our Phenomenal Women:Twelve Youngstown Stories oral history project, and about what a pleasure it was to meet and hear the stories of these women in our community.
The First Wednesday Readers Series helped to put our city on the literary map, bringing
First Wednesday 2017 featured faculty from The Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts, Chatham University and Carlow University, as well as YSU student essayists, and poets and writers from Youngstown, Erie, North Carolina and Tennessee. Nin Andrews read poems inspired by her childhood in Virginia, J. Everett Prewitt read from his novel set in Vietnam, and Lori Jakiela had us laughing at the trials of being a flight attendant.
In April, with many community partners, we hosted nationally recognized food policy author Mark Winne from New Mexico, who gave a reading and led a workshop on nutritious food access in low income neighborhoods.
For a second year, our collaboration with Selah Dessert Theater, The Strand Project, sold out. This staged production of original dramatic monologues featured many local actors, some new to the stage, performing the work of writers from the Valley and beyond.
Our Food for Thought Book Club completed a food-themed book series and
We also offered workshops on writing. Topics included strengthening voice in fiction writing, setting stories in a post-industrial landscape, and editing. This fall, we were invited to teach a series of memoir workshops at the Boardman Library.
Partnering with St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Public Library of Youngstown & the Mahoning Valley, and the McDonough Museum of Art, we kicked off the annual Fall Literary Festival, with a stellar faculty including NEA and Guggenheim fellows Denise Duhamel and Robert Olmstead, Ohioana poet Nin Andrews, poet-editors Susana H. Case and Margo Taft Stever, and beloved local writers Kelly Bancroft and William Soldan.
Highlights of the Festival: The sessions where I could write and/or work on my writing. The fellowship. The cake. The McDonough. The chapel.
We will bookend the year as presenters at the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference at the University of Arkansas-Conway in November, joining other literary arts organizations working with women in the community, and talking about Phenomenal Women: Twelve Youngstown Stories.
It was a busy and transitional year for Lit Youngstown’s Board of Directors, as well. We thanked Debra Weaver, Melissa Papini and Kris Harrington
We are busy planning for 2018!
And we are looking forward. The 2018 First Wednesday Readers Series is ready to go, with novelists, short story writers and poets from as far away as Arkansas and Maryland. We are also adding a storytelling night, world poetry night, and the staged reading of an original play.
The Strand Project will continue in its third year; submissions for dramatic monologues are due in November.
Our workshop series will continue, with a variety of topics taught by experienced teaching artists, held throughout the year.
Food for Thought Book Club will continue to meet each month until summer, taking up
Planning for our 2018 Fall Literary Festival, September 22, is underway. We will bring in
And we’ll again partner with St. John’s and the Public Library for our first Winter Writing Camp, Saturday, February 24, which will feature sessions for writers and readers of all ages.
Thank you for your support!
With the exception of our new bookkeeper, we are an all-volunteer operation. We are the grateful recipients of grants from The Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, The Raymond J. Wean Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council and the Summer Festival of the Arts, and we will continue to pursue competitive grant funding. But we couldn’t make it work without you!
No gift is too small. There are nearly 1000 people on our email list, and if each sent us
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Thank you, as always.
Write on, Karen Schubert, Director