Early Bird Registration Open for Lit Youngstown Fall Literary Festival

Lit Youngstown has opened early bird registration for a literary festival on Sept. 21 and 22.

The event will feature writers, creative readings, panels on writing, publishing and editing and a book fair.

The early bird registration, until Aug. 15, is $35 for both days. Current Youngstown State University undergraduate students can attend the event for free through support from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Now in its second year, the festival is attracting presenters from Texas, Minnesota and Tampa said Karen Schubert, director of Lit Youngstown, in a Lit Youngstown press release.

“The quality of the proposals we received was incredible, and that made selection tough,” Schubert said. “For adults and mature teens who love to write and read in any genre — poetry, fiction, nonfiction — we think this will be a worthwhile experience.”

The daytime programming will be in Youngstown State University’s Kilcawley Center, with evening readings in the stone sanctuary at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Wick Avenue. The festival’s daytime festivities require registration.

Daytime sessions include Bill Mullane, a longtime educator and arts advocate, who will speak about Warren-born poet Kenneth Patchen, and Purple Cat Director Jimmy Sutman who will present on his poetry and music radio show, the press release states.

A tour of the Butler Institute of American Art will be followed with a workshop on ekphrasis, which is writing that is inspired by art, led by local poet Karen Kotrba.

According to the press release, the Friday keynote speaker is Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of “What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky.” Arimah, who was born in the U.K. and grew up in Nigeria, has received numerous awards, including Minnesota Artist of the Year and the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35.

Saturday’s speaker will be doctor and veteran Jon “Doc” Kerstetter, whose memoir, “Crossings,” discusses his memories of childhood on the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin, medical school, tours of duty in Iraq as a medic and reinventing his life after suffering a stroke, the press release said.

Both evening readings begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Additionally, competitive work-study scholarships for the conference are being funded by donors, Schubert said.

“Many of us remember vividly coming to the English Festival at YSU. We have taken a lot of inspiration from that wildly successful conference,” Schubert said in the press release. “We are working toward that ideal, a kind of English Festival for grown-ups.”

Other community partners include the Ohio Arts Council, Nathalie & James Andrews Foundation, the Purple Cat, Sojourn to the Past, St. John’s Episcopal Church, the YSU Department of Women & Gender Studies and the YSU English Department.

“We look forward to showing off our little corner of the world,” Schubert said in the release. “The YSU campus, the grand, historic beauty of St. John’s and the Wick Tower where we’ll have dinner in the ballroom of the DoubleTree, it will be a wonderful place for word lovers to gather.”

More information and registration is available at LitYoungstown.org or by email at info@LitYoungstown.org.