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Outsiders, artists, and adventurers: youth dispatches from the rust belt

Lit Youngstown presents Outsiders, artists, and adventurers: youth dispatches from the rust belt: an evening with Chris Jennings, Canfield High School Students & David Giffels.

Typically, our big reading takes place on the first Wednesday of the month, but we are moving this terrific event to MONDAY, March 7, 7:00, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, 32 N. Phelps St.

Chris Jennings currently teaches English at Canfield High School where he also advises the journalism program, the student council, and is a Speech & Debate coach. Jennings was a speaker at TEDx Youngstown in 2015 and currently serves on the committee for TEDx Youngstown. Jennings has been teaching for nine years and is currently a resident of downtown Youngstown.

Chris is bringing some of his talented and insightful  Canfield high school students: Marie Messuri, Alec Kan, Carson Markley, Annie Vallas, Chayla Regano, Nick Palermo, Rachel Gobep, British Wagner, Maddy Urig, Lennon Sackela, & Cooper Johnson.


David Giffels is the author of The Hard Way on Purpose (Scribner, 2014), a collection of linked essays about the quirky, hardbitten cultural landscape of America’s Rust Belt.

An assistant professor of English at University of Akron, Giffels teaches creative nonfiction in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program. Giffels’ previous book, All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House (William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2008), is a memoir of growing into young fatherhood while trying to reclaim a ramshackle mansion. The book received widespread acclaim, from the New York Times, which described it as “sweet and funny” to the Los Angeles Times, which called it “a truly wonderful book” to Oprah’s O at Home magazine, where it topped the “Fantastic Summer Reads” list.

Giffels is coauthor of Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! (SAF Publishing, 2003), and Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron (University of Akron Press, 1998). He was a longtime columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal and a contributing commentator and essayist on National Public Radio station WKSU.

His essays appear in the anthology Rust Belt Chic (RBC Publishing, 2012); The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (Indiana University Press, 2006); The Appalachians: America’s First and Last Frontier (Random House, 2004); and West Point Market Cookbook (University of Akron Press, 2008).

He has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Grantland, Redbook and many other publications. He also was a writer for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head.

Giffels’ recent awards include the Cleveland Arts Prize for literature, the Ohioana Book Award, the Associated Press’ “Best News Writer in Ohio” award, and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists award for general excellence.



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