by Raquel Wilson, Lit Cleveland Intern
On Thursday 2/22, Literary Cleveland and Story Club Cleveland held their third Writing Out Loud class show at Forest City Brewery. The performance marked the end of a month-long process in which eight class participants studied the art of storytelling and crafted their own stories from scratch. While many of us may be familiar with writing stories in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, or in poetic form, writing a personal story and performing it for an audience is, well, a different story altogether. As a current Lit Cleveland Intern and spoken word poet, I knew that stage presence is necessary, but after participating in this workshop I understand just how crucial it is. And while I've been a storyteller my whole life -- I've always captured the attention of my friends and family with my personal stories -- this class helped me to see storytelling as an art that can be studied and taught and performed for an audience.
Writing Out Loud encouraged us to study the techniques essential to good storytelling, including detail, revision, and performance tips. I'm no stranger to the microphone, but as I listened to the methods of telling a story in another fashion I realized just how valuable Lit Cleveland, Story Club Cleveland, libraries, and independent bookstores are to our community of writers. If it weren't for these organizations, spoken word artists and writers interested in performance wouldn't have nearly as many opportunities to express ourselves.
The experience of hearing these eight individuals tell their personal stories in a room full of strangers for the first time was amazing. The crowd was respectful and pleasant, and each storyteller held the attention of the audience by bravely speaking their truth. I encourage anyone interested in sharing their story to participate in future classes and performances with Lit Cleveland and Story Club.
On Sat. 2/10, Lit Cleveland staff and members gathered at Visible Voice Books in Tremont for Lit Cleveland's Winter Mixer. Over the course of the evening, attendees shopped for books, chatted about recent writing projects, enjoyed two deluxe pizzas courtesy of Crust downstairs, and witnessed phenomenal readings by local writers (and Lit Cleveland members!) Franz Margitza, E.F. Schraeder, and Stacie Williams.
A big thanks to all who braved the frosty weather to make it out! Thanks also to Visible Voice Books for opening your space to us, Crust for delicious food, and our stellar members and readers for a fun and memorable night.
Lit Cleveland seeks submissions on "Health" for Humanities Festival staged reading, announces winter programs
Literary Cleveland is currently seeking submissions from Cleveland writers and residents on the theme of "health." Selected poems, stories, plays and other literary forms will be adapted into a staged reading at Cleveland State University during this year’s Cleveland Humanities Festival on Saturday March 17th and Sunday March 18th.
Contributors are encouraged to interpret the theme of "health" broadly. Submissions from care givers, providers, medical students and patients are welcome. Lit Cleveland also encourages submissions from individuals who may not consider themselves writers but have an important story to tell.
“With last year's Crossing Borders: Immigrant Narratives, we were blown away by the diversity of voices and perspectives we received, and we're hoping to hear from individuals who have grappled with health issues or the American health care system in a similarly meaningful and compelling way,” says Lee Chilcote, Director of Lit Cleveland.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 9th. Learn more about the submission process here.
In related news, Gordon Square Review, an online literary magazine that publishes writers from Northeast Ohio and across the country, is seeking submissions for its second issue. Submissions are free, and contributors will be paid $25 per accepted prose piece and $10 per accepted poem.
GSR has also announced its first-ever Free Stamp Flash contest open exclusively to writers from Northeast Ohio. Named in honor of the ubiquitous Free Stamp sculpture in downtown Cleveland, the contest is for Northeast Ohio writers submitting flash fiction, flash nonfiction, and/or prose poetry entries of 500 words or fewer. Each entry costs $6, and the winner will receive $250, publication in GSR’s second issue, an invitation to read at the Issue 2 launch party, and a voucher for a free Lit Cleveland class. The contest deadline is Thursday, March 15th.
In addition to these opportunities, Lit Cleveland has recently announced a number of new programs, including classes on freelance writing, poetry, playwrighting, nature writing, memoir, creative nonfiction, and revision; a Winter Mixer at the recently re-opened Visible Voice Books; a guided tour for writers at Cleveland Public Library; a craft talk with acclaimed local mystery authors D.M. Pulley and Casey Daniels; and more.
“Our hope is that these programs will help nourish established writers, offer aspiring and beginning writers that added boost of confidence and support, and engage more people in Cleveland’s amazing literary community,” says Chilcote.
For a full list of program offerings, go to our website. Click here for more info on Gordon Square Review.
Press Round-Up: Gordon Square Review & Mac's Backs Books featured in Cleveland Magazine & Crain's Cleveland, and more!
Cleveland Magazine recently sat down with Gordon Square Review editor-in-chief and Lit Cleveland instructor Laura Maylene Walter to discuss GSR's mission, history, and upcoming second issue. Check out the full article and interview here.
In other news, Rachel McCaffertey of Crain's Cleveland just interviewed Mac's Backs Books on Coventy Co-owner / manager (and Lit Cleveland board member!) Suzanne DeGaetano. Click here for the full interview, which includes Suzanne's thoughts on the future of independent bookstores, the role of Mac's Backs in serving Northeast Ohio's diverse community, and the perks of working in a bookstore.
Finally, Lit Cleveland's own Lee Chilcote was recently featured on WKYC's Golden Opportunities program. Click here to see Lee discuss his approach to writing and teaching memoir.
Thanks Cleveland Magazine and Crain's Cleveland for the coverage!
Last month, Young Adult writers and fans of the genre gathered at Loganberry Books for a free talk and reading with celebrated YA authors Cinda Williams Chima and Mindy McGinnis. Among the topics discussed were why Cinda and Mindy enjoy writing for younger adults (their answer: they're the most passionate readers!), the ways in which YA tales grapple with "adult" themes like sexual abuse and mental health, and how to craft a balanced tale that engages new and old readers alike. Check out Cinda's work here and click here to explore Mindy's work.
On Tuesday 12/12, Lit Cleveland members, staff, and board members gathered at CLE Urban Winery to celebrate a successful year for Lit CLE and Northeast Ohio's literary arts community. Following a lively icebreaker activity and catered food from Marotta's, featured readers Amy Eddings, Pat Averbach, and Jackie Feldman each took to the stage to read a short piece. Like so many other Lit Cleveland events, this night reminded us of the incredible talent and diversity of Northeast Ohio's literary community. Thanks to all who came out, and happy holidays from Lit Cleveland!
Interested in attending our next members-only Mixer in February? Consider becoming a member.
On Thursday 11/9, Lit Cleveland and Gordon Square Review hosted a launch party and celebration for GSR's newly published inaugural issue. The event drew a large crowd to Happy Dog's Underdog venue, where issue contributors read prose, poetry, and non-fiction pieces to the audience. Thank you to all who contributed and read, and to all who bravely submitted work to Gordon Square Review's first issue!
We're grateful to have received so much fantastic coverage of Gordon Square Review's celebratory launch party November 9th at Happy Dog West. Here's a quick press round-up:
Literary Cleveland debuts Gordon Square Review literary journal Thursday (Cleveland.com)
Prepare for launch: Lit Cleveland's Gordon Square Review makes its debut (freshwatercleveland.com)
Literary Cleveland introduces new online literary magazine Gordon Square Review (coolcleveland.com)
Literary Cleveland launching inaugural issue of Gordon Square Review (news-herald.com)
Literary Cleveland hosts magazine launch party at Happy Dog West next week (clevescene.com)
Literary Cleveland launching inaugural issue of Gordon Square Review (morningjournal.com)
And here's more on Gordon Square Review's launch party and what to expect from GSR's debut issue:
Literary Cleveland, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help create and nurture a vibrant literary arts community in Northeast Ohio, is hosting a launch party for the Gordon Square Review on Thursday, Nov. 9th from 6:30-9 pm at the Happy Dog at 5801 Detroit Ave. The event will feature readings from contributors and contest winners, networking, and a raffle for Lit Cleveland swag. Tickets are $8 (free for issue contributors and Lit CLE members).
Gordon Square Review is a new online literary magazine published biannually to showcase emerging writers nationwide, award editorial mentorships, and provide a venue to spotlight Northeast Ohio writers. The inaugural issue will go live the first week of November at www.gordonsquarereview.org.
“Getting published in literary magazines offers writers a way to get their work noticed and can be a launchpad for further publications,” says Lee Chilcote, Director of Lit Cleveland. “We’re very excited about the inaugural issue of Gordon Square Review, which features innovative work from writers across the country and in Northeast Ohio, work by writers who benefited from editorial mentorships, and of course featured pieces by our contest winners.”
“In our debut issue, you’ll find imaginary ponies, smoke signals, Greek mythology, gymnastics, smuggled champagne, heat waves, and hawks,” says Laura Maylene Walter, an award-winning writer who serves as editor-in-chief of Gordon Square Review. “These poems and prose pieces offer a startling range of creativity and innovative form, and we couldn’t be prouder of this issue.”
Prose writer Matt Weinkam (MFA in fiction, Northern Michigan University and managing editor of Passages North Literary Journal) serves as Gordon Square Review’s prose editor. Ali McClain (candidate in poetry, Northeast Ohio Master’s in Fine Arts program and director of West Side Community House’s Summer of Sisterhood program) is poetry editor.
Gordon Square Review received over 800 submissions (no, that’s not a typo) from around the globe, including contest entries. Ultimately, the editors selected 10 poems and 8 pieces of prose to be published. Here they are:
Poetry contest winner: “On the Anniversary of the Kent State Shootings” by Mimi Plevin-Foust (($250 prize plus voucher for one free Lit Cleveland class)
Prose contest winner: “The Difference Between Me and Paige Pendleton” by Shannon Ready ($250 prize plus voucher for one free Lit Cleveland class).
Issue contributors (poetry): Bethany Brengan, Jenelle Clausen, Donna Hunt (NE Ohio spotlight), Jen Karetnick, Bill Lythgoe, Paula Persoleo, William Solden (NE Ohio spotlight), Mary Weems (NE Ohio spotlight), Stephanie Choi (editing mentorship)
Issue contributors (prose): Joe Kapitan (NE Ohio spotlight), Christen Kauffman, Hannah Lackoff, Phyllis Levine (NE Ohio spotlight), Christine Langley Mahler, Carol Pang (editing mentorship), Nan Wigington (editing mentorship)
For more info about GSR and to check out their first issue, please visit www.gordonsquarereview.org.
Click here to register for Thursday's party.
On Thursday 10/26, Ohio fiction authors Robin Yocum, Shelley Costa, and Casey Daniels gathered at Market Garden Brewery to discuss how they transform the real events of their lives into fiction. Each author read a passage of recent work - Yocum from A Brilliant Death, Costa from A Killer's Guide to Good Works, and Daniels from Smoke and Mirrors, set to be published in November - before taking questions from the audience.
Interestingly, each author replied differently to the question of how their life experience informs their fiction. Offering stories of the small Ohio town he grew up in, Yocum explained that he imbues a bit of himself into each of his protagonists. Costa similarly spoke of fiction as "the art we make of truth", a kind of creative memoir (she then joked that she hates memoirs). Daniels instead described fiction as a form of "time travel", explaining her personal life rarely makes it into her books. When asked why they enjoy writing about Ohio, each author alluded to the state's rich, gritty, and ethnically diverse history.
Like all Read Ohio events, Fictionalizing Truth was presented in partnership with Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library and supported by the Gund Foundation.
To create a strong community of readers and writers in Cleveland, Ohio through workshops, classes, readings and other events.