By Natalie Lasky
Lit Youngstown, a local literary organization, promotes literature and storytelling in the area. Its partnership with Youngstown State University offers various programs for students to involve students.
Lit Youngstown collaborates with local schools and libraries to bring writing workshops and author visits to students. The organization’s mission is to promote a love for reading and writing among all community members, regardless of age or experience.
Development Coordinator of Lit Youngstown and YSU graduate student, Katelyn Urs, explained the type of resources available for people with literary needs at YSU.
“We are the first and only literary arts nonprofit in Youngstown,” Urs said. “We offer workshops, book clubs and special events to bring the community together and celebrate literary arts.”
The book club, Food for Thought, met Jan. 12 with the Director of Lit Youngstown, Karen Schubert. She started the club meeting and informed the group of the next book on the club’s reading list and reviewed “There There” by Tommy Orange.
“[‘There There’ is] a powerful, thought-provoking novel that delves into important and timely themes,” Schubert said. “The next book on the Food for Thought schedule is a collection of essays by Ohio writer Hanif Abdurraqib.”
Barbara Brothers, a Food for Thought club member who reviewed the book, spoke to the club about how the book addressed issues modern Native American culture faces.
“The book really made me think about the complexities of modern-day Indigenous life and how it’s portrayed in media,” Brothers said.
Schubert said the renovations at The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County are just the beginning of the organization’s plans for the literary community.
“I think it’s really on the surface here [that] this is a literary community. People love to read, you know, look at the [The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County] that we’ve just renovated, [it is] an absolute gem,” Schubert said.
In addition to the book club and literary festival, Lit Youngstown hosts a monthly reading series at The Soap Gallery featuring local writers and poets. The organization also offers writing workshops for all ages and skill levels.
One of this year’s programs is Writing Intensives: Writing From Memory. The program is designed to develop skills in writing stories through a monthly all-day workshop from January through September.