We began as many things do, with an idea, a passion, and the need to fill a void.
Photo credit: Cleveland Public Library
Northeast Ohio is home to a wealth of writers of all genres: journalists, novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists and bloggers, fiction and nonfiction writers, authors of children’s and youth literature, playwrights, songwriters. And yet this vast landscape of literary artists work in relative obscurity -- and largely separate from each other and from others in the region who might be enriched by their work or aspire to a writing life themselves.
Literary Cleveland has begun to elevate and serve this community -- of writers and readers.
In the spring of 2015, a small group of writers gathered to consider how such a community might be identified, served and advanced in Northeast Ohio. The group thought it important to first test the reality of what they felt was a need before starting down the path of organization-building. Would there be enough interest in creating an organization to connect writers with each other and with the public, to elevate and advance the literary arts in Northeast Ohio? How to know?
The testing ground became the first (soon to be annual) Cleveland Inkubator, free, day-long conference of writing workshops, author readings, book sales and general hobnobbing for professional and aspiring writers and the public. Held in August 2015 and co-sponsored by the Cleveland Public Library, Inkubator drew more than 300 participants of all ages and demographics to the library’s downtown campus. Yes, the advisers determined, there was a need.
Three years later, the organization is a nonprofit organization that continues to expand the range of writing workshops, networking events, and author readings it offers annually. In 2017, Lit Cleveland introduced a neighborhood-based writing program; a staged reading series with Cleveland Humanities Festival; and Gordon Square Review. Additionally, Cleveland Inkubator has expanded to become Northeast Ohio's largest free annual festival for writers and readers.
Our Mission: Literary Cleveland's mission is to create and nurture a vibrant literary arts community in Northeast Ohio.
Our Vision: It is our intention to become the hub, the connection point for the literary arts in the region.
Lit Cleveland's board consists of Susan Oelbracht (President), Brandon Baker (Vice President), Miesha Headen (Treasurer), Dairian Heard (Secretary), John Zajc, Harriett Logan, Suzanne DeGaetano, Mark Schumann, Katherine Clark, Darlene English, Susan Spinell, Cathy Barber, Aaron Schmidt, Amy Brown and Kevin Tasker.
Literary Cleveland is graciously supported by the George Gund Foundation, Ohio Humanities Council, Ohio Arts Council, Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and other partners and supporters.
"It is our intention to become the hub, the connection point for the literary arts in the region."