Celebration of Writers

2019 Writing Accomplishments

We love championing our amazing local writers. So this year, we are kicking off a brand new tradition: The Lit Cleveland Celebration of Northeast Ohio Writers!

We asked you about your writing successes this year and boy howdy did you respond. Below are the publications, awards, and other accomplishments you are most proud of this year. Note: we asked everyone to limit themselves to just one publication, so in reality this is just the tip of the literary iceberg.

We encourage everyone to read these local writers and celebrate their successes. We have such a talented and vibrant literary scene here in Northeast Ohio. Don't miss out on the great work being produced right here at home.

Congratulations on a great year, and here's to an even better 2020!

Books Published


Sara Dobie Bauer - We Still Live NineStar Press (December, 2019) LGBTQ romance

John C. Bruening - The Midnight Guardian: Annihilation Machine Flinch Books (July, 2019) Noir thriller

Chris Garson - Two-Bit Stories Self-published (2019) Stories

Alan Hlad - The Long Flight Home John Scognamiglio Books (July, 2019) Historical fiction

K. E. Hubbard - The 24th Self Published (November, 2019) Romantic comedy

Mark R. Lowery - Wilfred's Dream Black Opal Books (2019)

Patricia Macko - Our Phantom Voyage Dorrance Publishing (April, 2019) Adult fiction

Holly Maholm - What Would a Unicorn Do? Volume 2 Angry Rabbit Enterprises (April, 2019) LGBT Genre fiction

D.M. Pulley - No One's Home Thomas & Mercer (September, 2019) Mystery/suspense

Abby L. Vandiver - Potions, Tells and Deadly Spells Henery Press (June, 2019) Mystery

Bonnie Zel - High End Mistress Independent (November, 2019)


Dianne Borsenik - Raga for What Comes Next Stubborn Mule Press (January, 2019)

Marion Starling Boyer - The Sea Was Never Far Main Street Rag (2019)

John Burroughs - Rattle & Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019 Venetian Spider Press (August, 2019)

Jessica Jones – Bitterroot Finishing Line Press (2019) Chapbook

Will Napoli - Water Works Protext Press (2019) visual poetry homage

Kelly Boyer Sagert - Speak the Name Independently published (August, 2019) Chapbook

S. Renay Sanders - Dancing in Place Nirala Publishing (2019) Chapbook


Sandra Albro - Vacant to Vibrant: Creating Successful Green Infrastructure Networks. Island Press (April, 2019) Nonfiction, sustainability, urban planning, environmental

Lou Barrett - The Breakup Book: Essays on Queer Breakups Purpled Palm Press (September, 2019) LGBTQ+ non fiction essays anthology

Linda Blaser (pen name Madeline Garner) - Inside Incest, Psychotherapy and Energy Healing Transform this therapist and a guide for survivors self-published Balboa Press (July, 2019) Memoir, information, self-help

Tim Carroll - World War II Akron History Press (March, 2019) Non-Fiction

Caitlin Fisher - The Gaslighting of the Millennial Generation, Mango Publishing (May, 2019) Non-Fiction/Social Commentary

Nina Freedlander Gibans - Celebrating the Soul of Cleveland Atbosh Media Ltd. (July, 2018) Journal/memoir

Kim Langley - Send My Roots Rain: A Companion on the Grief Journey Paraclete Press(April, 2019) Spiritual/self help/poetry hybrid

Judah Leblang - Echoes of Jerry Red Giant Books (October, 2019) Memoir

Ruth Hanford Morhard – Mrs. Morhard and the Boys: A mother's vision. The first boys' baseball league. A nation Inspired Citadel Press (February, 2019) Narrative nonfiction: sports

Marci Rich - Looking Back At Elyria: A Midwest City At Midcentury Arcadia Publishing and The History Press (November, 2019)

Ken Schneck - LGBTQ Columbus: Images of Modern America Arcadia Publishing and the History Press (June, 2019)

Jason Sherman - The Skier's Gift Book that's Sweeping the Globe (Sort Of) Whyze Group (September, 2019) Non-fiction, skiing "how-to" and sports humor book

Meggan Watterson - Mary Magdalene Revealed: The First Apostle, Her Feminist Gospel & The Christianity We Haven't Tried Yet Hay House INC (July, 2019)

Betty Weibel - Little Victories: A True Story of the Healing Power of Horses Brown Dog Books (October, 2019)


The Writers Group - The ForthComing Anthology Independently published (July, 2019)


Timy Sullivan - Deafinitely Awesome: The Story of Acorn Amazon (February, 2019) Children's book - all proceeds benefit CITY DOGS Cleveland

Work Published


Marcus Cook - "Not My Vessel" short sci-fi story published in Deep Space published by Black Hare Publishing (October, 2019)

Lisa Ferranti – “Because of You” New Flash Fiction Review (October, 2019) Flash Fiction

Rachel Abbey McCafferty - "But Then the Mice Began to Change" The Molotov Cocktail (October 2019) Horror flash fiction.

Aaron Schmidt - "The Forgotten Age" Paradigm Shifts: Typewritten Tales of Digital Collapse Cold Hard Type (May, 2019) Dystopian Fiction.

Marie Vibbert - “Tactical Infantry Bot 37 Dreams of Trochees” Fantasy & Science Fiction (January/February 2019)


Holly Burdorff - "Of extinction" Florida Review Online (November, 2019) videopoem

Stephanie Ginese – “La Operacion” Palabritas: A Latinx Literary Publication at Harvard (Spring, 2019)

Geramee Hensley - “Kamayan” Button Poetry (March, 2019) videopoem

Matt Mitchell – “Appalachian gods don’t believe in me” Barren Magazine (April, 2019)

Gail Nyoka - "Preparation" published in We'Moon 2020:Wake Up Call Mother Tongue Ink (2019)


Lee Chilcote - Lee Chilcote Discovers "How To Live In Ruins" (Cleveland Magazine, February 2019)

Lisa Chiu – “Welcome, Cleveland newcomers; goodbye to a place at the heart of my family’s immigration journey” The Plain Dealer/ (September, 2019)

Joe Kapitan – “Seven Broken Ways” Booth (2019), a finalist for Booth's 2019 Nonfiction Prize and a Pushcart nomination, written in a Lit Cleveland workshop.

Jacqueline Mitchell - "St. Joseph" Utterance Journal (October, 2019)

Vincent O'Keefe - "GPS Directs Us, But There Are Other Maps We're Handing Down" (Your Teen Magazine, Summer, 2019)

Zachary Schwartz - “Who are Ohio's Anti-Heroin Vigilantes Helping?” Rolling Stone.

Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs – “Exodus: Blacks fled the South in droves more than a century ago, seeking true freedom” (USA Today, March 6) USA Today February cover story, also featured in the newspaper's special section on 1619.

Kevin Tasker - Four food reviews in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Dane Vannatter - "Grandma's Hands" Gratitude 540 anthology

Jill Zimon - "Mourning an Abusive Parent" Tablet Magazine (October, 2019)

Awards & Nominations

Eric Beversluis - “Semper Fi” named an Honorable Mention in the Genre Short Story category for the 88th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition

Miss Brit - Invited to attended the "When Word's Count" Writer's Retreat in Rochester, VT.

John Burroughs - Named 2019-2021 Beat Poet Laureate for the State of Ohio

Brian Petkash - Finalist: Southeast Missouri State University’s 2018 Nilsen Prize for Mistakes by the Lake

Lisa Ferranti - “Ask Again Later” listed as Honorable Mention, Fiction, in 2019 Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

Nina Freedlander Gibans – Life Citation Award from Sarah Lawrence College

Alan Hlad - The Long Flight Home was selected for “One Book One County” by Lockport Public Library, Lockport, NY for October, 2020, and was on the ABA (American Booksellers Association) National Bestsellers Hardcover Fiction list for 6 consecutive weeks during the summer of 2019

Doc Janning - Celebrated one year as Inaugural Poet Laureate of South Euclid

Jessica Jones - Poetry collection selected as an award-winner by Finishing Line Press and a runner-up with both Cutbank and Open Country Press

Lara Lillibridge - Hippocampus Magazine's Literary Citizen of the Year for 2019.

Matt Mitchell - Sundress Publications Best of the Net nomination

D.M. Pulley - 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards - Best in Horror Nominee

Marci Rich - Best in Ohio Freelance Writer award from the Press Club of Cleveland

Veronica Robinson - Martin Luther King-Humanitarian Award, Tri-c Community College Award

Kelly Boyer Sagert – Wrote the screenplay for Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story, which won a Chagrin Documentary Film Festival Award

Ken Schneck - 2nd Place, Best Feature Writing, Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (in both the Digital category and the Small Publication category)

E.F. Schraeder - Judy Garland is Not a Sunrise Semi-Finalist in the 2019 Charlotte Mew Chapbook Contest

Marie Vibbert - Baen Story Award finalist

Select Performances

Dianne Borsenik - “We're No Angels” at Speak of the Devil, Lorain, Ohio, on January 24, 2019

Miss Brit - I read my work that I had reviewed at the Baldwin House Writer's Residency

John Burroughs - My ongoing Rattle and Numb poetry tour has so far in 2019 included a series of successful performances in New England, New York City, Kansas City, North Carolina and myriad points in between.

Lee Chilcote - Book release party for How to Live in Ruins (Finishing Line Press)

Caitlin Fisher - I performed a story for Let It Out, featured at The Side Quest in Lakewood (October, 2019)

Doc Janning - Began Second Sunday Poets as a monthly event in the Wm. N. Skirball Writers' Center of the South Euclid Lyndhurst Branch, Cuyahoga County Public Library on March 10, 2019;

Jessica Jones - Bitterroot was launched at the Wick Poetry Center in April 2019, with subsequent readings at Prologue Books (Columbus, Ohio), Zandbroz Books (Fargo, South Dakota and at the Montana Book Festival (Missoula, Montana)

Alex J. Koleszar - I took part in the "Writing Out Loud" class and told my story at CLE Urban Winery on December 5. (

Judah Leblang - My one-man show It’s Now or Never: My Life in the Late Middle Age won Best of Festival at the Calgary Fringe Festival in Canada, August 2019.

Will Napoli - Performed selections from Hook Up (Sidestreet Press, 2018) at Loganberry Books in 2019.

Gail Nyoka - My version of "The Children of Lir" was performed at the Borderlight Cleveland International + Fringe Festival, 2019 with harpist Meta Epstein.

Marci Rich - Read from Looking Back At Elyria: A Midwest City At Midcentury at Mindfair Books in Oberlin, Ohio in November.

Jeremy Ritch - “Cuyahoga Driftwood” was featured in the staged reading at the 2019 Cleveland Humanities Festival.

Veronica Robinson - I read my story at the kickoff of Cleveland Stories, Vol 2

Kelly Boyer Sagert - I wrote the storytelling program titled Victoria Woodhull: Shattering Glass Ceilings for Eden Valley Enterprises, which began to be performed in 2019.

S. Renay Sanders - Storytelling, with the Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP), Cemetery Run, to be performed at Dairy Barn, Athens OH, June 11, 2020

Elaine Schleiffer - In April 2019, I organized the first Queer Community Read as a way to bring the whole community together to celebrate local queer voices in literature.

Toni Thayer - My play "When the Lion Sneezed" is the 2019 outreach touring production commissioned and produced by Talespinner Children's Theater, Cleveland.

Marie Vibbert - Presented a paper at the Astounding 90 Years of Analog one day conference at City College New York in December.

Forthcoming Work

Star Anderson - "Why I Write” poem selected for inclusion in the Cleveland Stories Volume II (2020)

Ruth Emmie Lang - The Wilderwomen St. Martin's Press (publication date forthcoming) Magical realist novel

Jeannine Love - Cleveland Architecture 1809-1930: Building the City Beautiful to be published by Michigan State University Press (June, 2020)

Keith Manos - The Elite Wrestler Coaches Choice (February, 2020) nonfiction book accepted for publication in 2019.

Brian Petkash - Mistakes by the Lake Madville Publishing (May 2020) Collection of Cleveland-centric short stories

Jeremy Ritch - I’d Drown Myself But Hope Floats: The Collected Works 1995-2020 (due out in January)

Laura Maylene Walter - Body of Stars forthcoming from Dutton