Nearly 30 people attended the launch party for Who We Are, Where We Live at Loganberry Books on Saturday, April 22nd. The crowd enjoyed informative presentations from Mark Souther, Director of the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University; Cindy Washabaugh, teaching artist and project director for Who We Are, Where We Live; poet and writer Damien Ware; and Zulma Zabala of East End Neighborhood House, who talked about reaching across borders and boundaries to connect with others. Check out the Youtube videos we've posted so far to watch clips from the presentations.
It was a lively evening at The Orange Senior Center on a rainy Friday night. You could feel the audience living and breathing through the words that were spoken at the book reading, “Leaving a Legacy.” The stories spanned across generations, sometimes highlighting significant cultural events told from personal perspectives. These were the stories that Darlene Montonaro worked on closely with the writers during her year-long Creative Workforce Fellowship. The essays shared were crafted using the process of free-writing and were initially presented in a “sacred circle,” with absolutely no information to leave the group. That’s what made this public reading so special; the words that were heard were initially a secret.
Literary Cleveland, a non-profit organization committed to building a vibrant community of readers and writers in Northeast Ohio, is pleased to announce Who We Are, Where We Live, a place-based community writing program spotlighting Cleveland's Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood. The program will give voice to those who live and work in the neighborhood, and offer opportunities for the Greater Cleveland community to hear these stories.
Who We Are, Where We Live will offer community writing workshops, as well as opportunities for interviews and recorded oral histories. The program will engage people who live and work in Buckeye-Shaker in learning about neighborhood history, writing and sharing stories about the community’s past, and understanding the experiences of their neighbors.
Project director Cindy Washabaugh says the inspiration for the project sprung from her passion for helping people tell their own stories as well as her family’s roots in the ethnically-diverse neighborhood. Washabaugh launched Who We Are, Where We Live in fall of 2015 in the Collinwood neighborhood. The project culminated in a community celebration and a book-length anthology with over 50 contributed stories and neighborhood photos.
“Cleveland is filled with untold stories of our neighborhoods and the people who live there,” says Washabaugh. “Who We Are, Where We Live will help people better understand their neighborhood's past and present, and to share stories with neighbors they have often never met. This helps forge community connections and give voice to people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to write and publish their work.”
The program begins with a launch party and will culminate with a community reading and website featuring an online anthology. Lee Chilcote, Executive Director of Literary Cleveland, invites all Greater Clevelanders to enjoy these facets of the program.
The schedule for Who We Are, Where We Live is as follows:
Launch Party: Sat. April 22nd from 1-3 pm at Loganberry Books, 13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Hts. 44120. Program info, writing activities and neighborhood history. Featuring Mark Souther,Director of the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University. Refreshments provided.
Community Writing Workshops:
1. Sat. April 29th from 12-2 pm at Rice Library Branch, 11535 Shaker Blvd.
2. Sat. May 13th from 2-4 pm at Rice Library Branch, 11535 Shaker Blvd.
3. Wed. May 17th from 1-3 pm at East End Neighborhood House, 2749 Woodhill Rd.
Reading and Celebration:
Sat. July 8th from 1-3 pm at Loganberry Books, 13015 Larchmere Blvd. Refreshments provided.
To learn more about this program, check out our website here:
Who We Are, Where We Live is made possible in part by the George Gund Foundation as well as Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any findings, views, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
An excerpt from our recent "Crossing Borders: Immigrant Narratives" project will be performed at this year's Station Hope event at St. John's Church in Ohio City. The performance will consist of a dramatic staged reading of original work by Cleveland writers and residents on the theme of immigration. More details to come!
An annual celebration of freedom, community, and justice, Station Hope addresses many of the most important issues of our time through a range of artistic mediums, including theatre, spoken word, dance, music and multimedia performances. This year's event is set for Sat. April 29th from 6:30-10p at St. John's and surrounding blocks, 2600 Church Ave., Cleve. Learn more about this special event at CPT's website.
This past weekend Lit Cleveland helped kick off the 2017 Cleveland Humanities Festival with Crossing Borders: Immigrant Narratives. Crossing Borders was a two night staged dramitic reading directed by Marc Moritz starring Tim Keo, Leilani Barrett, Rocky Encalada, Tina Stump and Peggy Sullivan with music by Mike Bloom. The script was comprised of submissions from Lit Cle members and residents of Northeast Ohio. Both night were well attended with over 150 people on Saturday and just over 100 on Sunday. Stories included Thrity Umrigar's "American Promise", Daniel Gray-Kontar's "Genesis", Hathaway Brown Student Crystal Zhao's "Food and Family", and Amy Breau's "My Acadia". Below are the links to video from both nights courtesy of Catherine Young and the Cleveland Public Library.
We recently started a YouTube page so you can keep up with our programs and original content. Feel free to head over to our page Literary Cleveland and watch video of board President Susan Petrone's interview with best selling author Mary Doria Russell. We also have video of local writers Cindy Washabaugh and Diane Ferri sharing some of their poetry at our 2017 Winter Mixer.
Whether you call it flash fiction, nano fiction, or short short story, the “Keeping it Brief: Flash Fiction” workshop held on March 11th. Fearless, funny and indubitably encouraging local writer, educator and editor Laura Grace Weldon showed participants writing succinctly in small form is anything but small beans. The class gathered in the cozy basement of Mac’s Backs while experiencing a mixture of famous examples in literature, inspirational prompts, and solid submitting advice. Participants quickly bonded into a group of supportive pros. More than once, after a pen-nibbling prompt, a writer could be heard saying after sharing their work with the group: “This one is solid. I am really happy with it.” They learned that in 3 sentences, 6 words, or 140 characters you can not only create entire multi-layered thematic works, but you can make friends, be inspired, and create profound pieces of literature.
At Lit Cleveland's Feb. 22nd workshop, award-winning true crime writer Jane Turzillo explained the basics of how to find an interesting true crime case and where to go to find the information to explore it. This was a resource-rich workshop.
Turzillo talked about how to determine if a crime would be interesting enough to explore as an article or book. Is the crime layered? Is the crime itself interesting with enough suspects and unusual situations? Was there a trial? Is the victim at all sympathetic?
Next, Turzillo walked participants through where to find information ranging from newspaper archives to public documents like coroner reports to websites and useful books.
She shared some of her own experiences as a crime reporter and true crime history writer. She passed out a newspaper story of a crime committed in the 1980s, and the group walked through the steps of what aspects of the crime they would pursue if they were writing the story. After learning these approaches from Turzillo, they then went around the room to share what stories they would like to pursue. Everyone had a possible story, and Turzillo commented and offered insights as to what to do next. Afterwards, they felt more motivated to pursue their own true crime stories.
Cleveland's 2017 Winter Fictionfest kicked off with Susan Petrone leading a discussion with author Doria Mary Russell. Russell shared her insight about the publishing industry and getting started as a writer looking to be published. Afterwards, attendees had a chance to attend two of three workshops hosted by authors D.M. Pulley, Geoff Landis, and Shelly Costa and Casey Daniels.