The Inkubator is Literary Cleveland’s free annual festival for writers and readers. Generate new writing, improve your craft, and advance your career.

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Inkubator 2022

About

Literary Cleveland's Inkubator Writing Conference is one of the largest free writing conferences in the country.

From September 6-8 we will host virtual panel discussions with national authors all leading up to the big two-day in-person conference at the Cleveland Public Library on September 9-10. The conference will feature writing workshops, panel discussions, craft talks, teen writing programs, a book fair, a party, and a keynote address. Altogether, the Inkubator is a public celebration of writing in Cleveland that advances writers’ individual abilities, furthers artistic dialogue, fosters a more connected literary community, and invites more people to tell their stories.

Register for individual events, virtual panels, or the whole conference for free at the registration link above.

Check out our previous Inkubator Conferences:
2019 →
2020 →
2021 →

SCHEDULE OVERVIEW

Sponsors

The Literary Cleveland Inkubator Writing Conference is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cleveland Foundation, the Ohio Humanities Council, and the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

Sponsors include the Cleveland Public Library, Mac’s Backs Books, Clevo Books, Hathaway Brown, Ashland University MFA, Appletree Books, Fireside Book Shop, Loganberry Books, and Margaret W. Wong & Associates.

Full Schedule

Event Schedule

September 6

7:00PM–8:30Pm

Virtual Panel

7:00PM–8:30PM
SESSION

Joined Wildernesses: Poetry’s Role in Our Planet’s Future

Ross Gay, Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Poetry

Virtual Panel

About the Event

How does language shape our relationship with the land and with each other? What is poetry’s role in the future of our planet? Ross Gay (The Book of Delights) and Aimee Nezhukumatathil (World of Wonders) will discuss the ways poetry can shift cultural perception, decenter humans, incite joy, and connect us more deeply with the natural world. Moderated by Jason Harris, poet and GordonSquare Review Editor in Chief.

This program is made possible in part by the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication/exhibition/program/website do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Author Bios

Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the ShovelDown; Be Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean SteinAward; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 NationalBook Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller. His new collection of essays, Inciting Joy, will be released by Algonquin in October of 2022.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of a book of nature essays, World of Wonders:In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments, which was named a finalist for the Kirkus Prize in non-fiction, and four award-winning poetry collections, most recently, Oceanic (2018). Awards for her writing include fellowships from the Mississippi Arts Council, Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for poetry, National Endowment of the Arts,and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her writing has appeared in NYTimes Magazine,ESPN, and Best American Poetry. She is professor of English andCreative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.

7:00PM–8:30PM

Joined Wildernesses: Poetry’s Role in Our Planet’s Future

Ross Gay, Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Poetry

Virtual Panel

September 7

7:00PM–8:30Pm

Virtual Panel

7:00PM–8:30PM
SESSION

You Are Here: Memoir of Place and Identity

Brian Broome, Rev. Dr. Leah Lewis

Nonfiction

Virtual Panel

About the Event

How does culture and place influence who we become? What agency do we have over our own representation? How can memoir reveal the intersections of geography and identity to shape a new story? Brian Broome, author of the memoir Punch MeUp to the Gods, will discuss the craft of memoir and narrating his early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys. Moderated by Rev. Dr. Leah Lewis, founder and director of Little Lumpy’s Center for Educational Initiatives and the Great Lakes African American Writers Conference (GLAAWC).

This program is made possible in part by the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication/exhibition/program/website do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Author Bios

Brian Broome, a poet and screenwriter, is the author of Punch Me Up to the Gods. He is a K. Leroy Irvis Fellow and instructor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Broome has been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King Writing Awards. He also won a VANN Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation for journalism in 2019. Broome lives in Pittsburgh.

The Reverend Dr. Leah C.K. Lewis, J.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of Little Lumpy’s Center for Educational Initiatives and Executive Producer of the Great Lakes African American Writers Conference (GLAAWC). She is the author of Little Lumpy’s Book of Blessings. As head of Three Butterflies Entertainment LLC, Dr. Lewis is a writer, documentary filmmaker, social entrepreneur, and event producer. Her articles and commentary have appeared in The Christian Century, Cleveland Scene, Blavity.com, ForHarriet.com, and a host of other outlets.

7:00PM–8:30PM

You Are Here: Memoir of Place and Identity

Brian Broome, Rev. Dr. Leah Lewis

Nonfiction

Virtual Panel

September 8

7:00PM–8:30Pm

Virtual Panel

7:00PM–8:30PM
SESSION

Humor and Horror: How Fiction Shapes Reality

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Megan Giddings

Fiction

Virtual Panel

About the Event

How do fictional stories shape our world? What can happen when we hold reality up to a distorted mirror? Fiction writer Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of the bestselling short story collection Friday Black, and Megan Giddings, author of The Women Could Fly, help us see old human problems of racism, sexism, and injustice in new ways by recasting them in absurd, funny, urgent, scary, edgy stories. Join this virtual discussion on humor, horror, fiction, satire, and how imagined stories can impact reality. Moderated by Literary Cleveland executive director Matt Weinkam.

This program is made possible in part by the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication/exhibition/program/website do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Author Bios

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the author of the bestselling short story collection Friday Black. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Guernica, Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing,Printer’s Row, Gravel, and The Breakwater Review, where he was selected by ZZ Packer as the winner of the 2nd Annual Breakwater Review Fiction Contest. He is from Spring Valley, New York. He graduated from SUNY Albany and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University.

Megan Giddings is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. Her first novel, Lakewood, was a nominee for two NAACP Image Awards and an LA Times Book Prize in the Ray Bradbury Science Fiction, Speculative, and Horror category. It was also one of New York Magazine's 10 Best Books of the year, an NPR Book of the Year, and a Michigan Notable book. Her second novel, The Women Could Fly, was published in August.

7:00PM–8:30PM

Humor and Horror: How Fiction Shapes Reality

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Megan Giddings

Fiction

Virtual Panel

September 9

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Registration & Check-in

Plan to arrive early at the downtown Cleveland Public Library to check in and receive your conference materials before attending your first session.

10:00AM – 4:00Pm

Book Fair

The book fair will be open from 10:00am-4:00pm on Friday and 9:00am-4:00pm on Saturday at the conference and will feature local independent booksellers, literary journals, publishers and presses, writing groups, and literary organizations.

Participants so far include: Appletree Books, Bowling Green State University MFA, Brainchild Magazine, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, Cleveland Review of Books, Cleveland State University Poetry Center, Clevo Books, Fireside Book Shop, Flypaper Lit, Hiram College, ID13, Lake Erie Ink, Lit Youngstown, Loganberry Books, Mac’s Backs Books, Mid-American Review, Ohio Center for the Book, Outlandish Press, Purpled Palm Press, ThirdSpace Reading Room, University of Akron Press, The William N. Skirball Writers' Center, Wick Poetry Center, Writers in Residence, and more to come!

11:00AM–12:30PM

Session 1

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

Bookstagram/BookTube 101: Videography for Literature Lovers

Nahomy Ortiz-Garcia

Beyond

Craft Talk

About the Event

Book reviewer blogs are becoming a thing of the past, and Bookstagram and BookTube are gaining popularity, especially post-quarantine. With specially dedicated accounts, lit lovers can talk all about books and create an engaging social media presence with photos, reels, 3-sentence reviews, 30-second videos, or 10-minute "class" segments. In this workshop, experienced Bookstagrammer/BookTuber Nahomy Ortiz-Garcia (Nahomy's Library) will share useful tips and tricks for colorful, creative online book reviewing. Learn how to use videography to connect with other book lovers, share your recommendations, influence new book trends, and spread your appreciation for your favorite writers and genres.

Author Bios

Nahomy Ortiz-Garcia is a recent Cleveland State University graduate. Nahomy is the Marketing Coordinator for MetroWest Community Development Organization. In her free time, Nahomy creates digital content all about books on her Instagram account and YouTube channel, known as Nahomy's Library, with over 6k followers on both platforms. Nahomy's reading goal for 2022 is 100 books.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

Bookstagram/BookTube 101: Videography for Literature Lovers

Nahomy Ortiz-Garcia

Beyond

Craft Talk

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

Nonfiction Book Proposals

David Giffels

Business

Workshop

About the Event

Unlike fiction and poetry, which require a completed manuscript, publishers routinely offer book contracts to nonfiction writers based on a book proposal. But the market is more competitive than ever, and only the strongest proposals will get the attention of agents and editors. David Giffels, author of six books of nonfiction, will outline the elements of effective proposals, give insight into pitching to agents, and help you develop a strong “elevator pitch” for your book project. Includes Q&A and a generative writing prompt.

Author Bios

David Giffels has written six books of nonfiction, most recently Barnstorming Ohio: ToUnderstand America, which Publishers Weekly calls “a trenchant mix of memoir, reportage, and political analysis.” His other books include the memoirs Furnishing Eternity and All the Way Home, both winners of the Ohioana Book Award, and The Hard Way on Purpose, a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice.” His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Parade, The Iowa Review, Esquire, Grantland, and many other publications. He is a professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches in the NEOMFA creative writing program.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

Nonfiction Book Proposals

David Giffels

Business

Workshop

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

The Art of the Feature: How to Write for Magazines

Zachary Schwartz

Nonfiction

Workshop

About the Event

The feature story is journalism's most coveted assignment—a longform piece integrating elements of original research, creative writing, and boots-on-the-ground reporting.Professional journalist Zachary Schwartz will lead a workshop on how to write an effective feature, including the different types of features (plot vs.character vs. location-driven), how to conduct interviews, advice on structure, and more. There will also be a brief overview of how to pitch features to national & international news outlets. This workshop is recommended for anyone with an interest in gonzo journalism, new media, and creative nonfiction.

Author Bios

Zachary Schwartz is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio, who specializes in creative nonfiction and literary journalism. He has authored longform features in Rolling Stone,Engadget, Playboy, Vice, Cleveland Scene, and other magazines; his interviews range from Deepak Chopra to 50 Cent. He graduated from Columbia University.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

The Art of the Feature: How to Write for Magazines

Zachary Schwartz

Nonfiction

Workshop

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

Word Weaving & The Web: Poetry and the Internet

Diane Kendig, Raja Belle Freeman, Jeremy Jusek, Laurie Kincer

Poetry

Panel

About the Event

In this panel, four poets who are also administrators and teachers will discuss how as individuals and as group leaders, they have used the internet to create, publish, and promote poetry in libraries, community centers, schools, prisons, and organizations, both locally and across the globe. Their emphasis is poetry on the internet, but they will also discuss internet poetry. They will share the astonishing impact of the internet on poets and poetry, in a relatively short time, and how we may continue to employ it more in what we hope is a post-covid era.

Author Bios

Raja Belle Freeman, a performance poet and visual artist, is the lead teaching artist for Twelve Literary Arts and a member of the board of South Euclid's community development corporation, One South Euclid. She is also a recent graduate of Cleveland State University where she received a bachelors in Creative Writing with a minor in Black Studies. In recent years, she has been featured on WKYC-TV News for video poems on social injustice. Find that video and others from Twelve Literary Arts and Michelle R. Smith’s Blax Museum on YouTube.

Jeremy Jusek is Parma’s poet laureate. He has authored two poetry collections, We Grow Tomatoes in Tiny Towns (Unsolicited Press, 2019) and The Less Traveled Street (Maverick Duck Press, 2022). He hosts the Ohio Poetry Association's podcast Poetry Spotlight, runs the West Side Poetry Workshop, and founded the Flamingo Writers Guild, which relies heavily upon Zoom to deliver its content. His certification in digital marketing, online communications, and social media helped him to develop hybridized courses for Washington State Community College, and his certification with Quality Matters, focuses on establishing baselines for internet courses and meeting accreditation. To learn more, visit jeremyjusek.com.

Diane Kendig has published five poetry collections, most recently Woman with a Fan (Shanti Arts) and a collection of translations from Nicaraguan poetry (Bottom Dog), as well as co-editing a tribute anthology, In the Company of RussellAtkins (Red Giant). A recipient of awards from the Ohio Arts and National Humanities Councils, as well as the Fulbright Foundation and Yaddo, Kendig began research into poetry on the web with her University of Findlay hybrid E-Poetry class in 1999, and has continued researching it. A member of the 811 Poets group, she’s on the web at dianekendig.com

Laurie Kincer isa librarian who runs Cuyahoga County Public Library's William N. Skirball Writers' Center, located in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch. The Writers' Center is a space for writers, open to the public during library hours, with free writing programs, private writing rooms, books and magazines for writers to borrow, and laptop computers, much of which went online during the pandemic. She is a member of the 811 Poets group. Since 2014, she has collaborated with Diane Kendig on Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry, CCPL's annual April poetry blog with over 7000 subscribers.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

Word Weaving & The Web: Poetry and the Internet

Diane Kendig, Raja Belle Freeman, Jeremy Jusek, Laurie Kincer

Poetry

Panel

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

Writing About Class

Marie Vibbert

Fiction

Workshop

About the Event

Class is a part of everyone's life experience, and whether you are writing contemporary fiction, science fiction, or historical fiction, class will come up in how you describe characters and circumstances. We'll look at ways to treat class compassionately and how to use class to deepen your work.

Author Bios

Marie Vibbert has sold over 80 short stories to magazines like Nature, Amazing Stories, and Analog.  Her work has been translated into French, Chinese and Vietnamese. Her debut novel, Galactic Hellcats, was on the long list of best novels for the British Science Fiction Association for 2021, and her second novel comes out September 2022!  By day she is a computer programmer. Class issues come up often in her work. She grew up below the poverty line.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
1

Writing About Class

Marie Vibbert

Fiction

Workshop

12:30PM–1:30pm

Lunch

1:30PM–3:00pm

Session 2

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

How to Break Into Book Reviews: Practices & Possibilities for New Literary Criticism

Zach Peckham

Beyond

Craft Talk

About the Event

What are book reviews for? Who reads them? Why write them? This session will explore these questions and untangle answers for writers and readers alike. We will consider the book review not simply as an end-product but in terms of craft, form, and technique. We'll expand our understanding of literary criticism as a genre unto itself and ruminate on possibilities for critical writing as a site of creative invention, intellectual exchange, community-building, and serious fun. We'll conclude with practical advice from editors on pitching and submitting book reviews and other forms of critical writing for publication.

Author Bios

Zach Peckham is a writer, editor, and educator. His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in jubilat, Territory, Poetry Northwest, Always Crashing, American Book Review, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in poetry from the NEOMFA and teaches at Cleveland State, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and is managing editor at the CSU Poetry Center and the Cleveland Review of Books.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

How to Break Into Book Reviews: Practices & Possibilities for New Literary Criticism

Zach Peckham

Beyond

Craft Talk

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

Impressing Booksellers: Tips for Working with Indie Bookstores

Danny Caine, Harriett Logan, and Suzanne DeGaetano

Business

Panel

About the Event

Forming a relationship with your local indie bookstore can help you sell books and build an audience in your community. But to impress a bookseller it is important to know how bookstores work and how you can help each other. This panel of bookstore owners Danny Caine (Raven Bookstore), Harriett Logan (Loganberry Books), and Suzanne DeGaetano (Mac's Back's Books) will take you behind the scenes of bookselling as they share important do's and don'ts for authors that can help everyone sell more books.

Author Bios

Danny Caine is the author of the poetry collections Continental Breakfast, El Dorado Freddy's, ​Flavortown, and Picture Window, as well as the book How to Resist Amazon and Why. His poetry has appeared in The Slowdown, ​LitHub, DIAGRAM, Hobart, and Barrelhouse, and his prose has appeared in LitHub and Publishers Weekly. The Midwest Independent Booksellers Association awarded him the 2019 Midwest Bookseller of the Year award. He's a co-owner of the Raven Book Store, Publishers Weekly's 2022 bookstore of the year.

Suzanne DeGaetano is a co-owner of Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry and has been a bookseller for 40 years. Mac's Backs has three floors of new and used books & magazines and is located on Coventry Rd. in Cleveland Heights, a walking neighborhood near Cleveland's museums and Case Western Reserve University. The poetry reading series at Mac's Backs (until disrupted by the pandemic) has been ongoing since 1984. Suzanne has twice served on the board of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and previously was a board member with Literary Cleveland. She was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize/Martha Joseph Award in 2018.

Harriett Logan opened a bookstore in 1994, fresh out of grad school (& somehow it’s still going). It’s called Loganberry Books and it’s in the Historic Larchmere neighborhood. Now boasting more than 100,000 new, used & rare books (& counting), local authors are our jam! Harriett was a founding board member of Lit Cleveland, and has also served on the board of Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society (NOBS), among others.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

Impressing Booksellers: Tips for Working with Indie Bookstores

Danny Caine, Harriett Logan, and Suzanne DeGaetano

Business

Panel

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

Rebirth, Redemption and Renewal: The Archetypal Structure and Hidden Meaning of Love Stories

Kevin P. Keating

Fiction

Craft Talk

About the Event

In this craft talk, we will examine a number of motifs commonly found in stories that center around the universal emotion of love. Such stories often begin with an innocent young person who is in some way incomplete and undeveloped. For a while, all may seem to go reasonably well, but sooner or later the protagonist falls under a dark spell, a physical or spiritual imprisonment, sleep, sickness, or some other form of enchantment. For a long time the protagonist languishes in this frozen condition until a miraculous act of redemption takes place, focused on a particular figure who liberates the protagonist from the depths of darkness and despair. The spell finally lifted, the hero or heroine is brought up into glorious light, redeemed by the life-giving and healing power of love.

Author Bios

After working as a boilermaker in the steel mills in Ohio, Kevin P. Keating became a professor of English and began teaching at Baldwin Wallace University. His essays and stories have appeared in numerous literary journals. His novel The Natural Order of Things was a finalist for the 2012 Los Angeles Book Prizes/First Fiction Award. His second novel The Captive Condition was launched at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

Rebirth, Redemption and Renewal: The Archetypal Structure and Hidden Meaning of Love Stories

Kevin P. Keating

Fiction

Craft Talk

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

The Music of Poems

Robert Miltner, Molly Fuller

Poetry

Workshop

About the Event

The music in poetry is the powerful emotive force that can help distinguish your unique voice. One of the craft tools that sets poetry apart from prose is poetry’s inherent musicality which connects poets to readers and listeners.  This intermediate and advanced level workshop will teach you how to effectively generate new sound-focused poems, and to revise your working drafts. Sharpening your use of repetition, chant, interior rhyme, slant rhymes, word etymology, and the power of vowels will produce strong poems for your readings and for publication. Writing samples, writing exercise, and discussion.

Author Bios

Robert Miltner’s books of poetry are Hotel Utopia, Orpheus & Echo, Against the Simple, Queen Mab and the Moon Boy, and Eurydice Rising; his collection of short fiction is And Your Bird Can Sing and his collection of creative nonfiction is Ohio Apertures. Miltner is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for Poetry and an Ohio Arts Council Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center. He was poet-in-residence in June, 2021 at the Chautauqua Institution and was Visiting Scholar on Contemporary American Poetry in March-April, 2022 at the University of Paris East, France.

Molly Fuller is the author of the full-length collections For Girls Forged by Lightning: Prose & Other Poems (All Nations Press) and Always a Body (Cornerstone Press, forthcoming); two chapbooks Tender the Body (SpareChange Press) and The Neighborhood Psycho Dreams of Love (Cutty WrenPress). She recently won the Gris-Gris Summer 2020 Poetry Contest. Her work has appeared in Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence, New Poetry from the Midwest, 100 Word Story, Kestrel, and Pedestal Magazine. She is the recipient of a 2020 Artist Residency from both Vermont Studio Center and Wassaic Project. You can find her on Instagram and twitter@mollyfulleryeah.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

The Music of Poems

Robert Miltner, Molly Fuller

Poetry

Workshop

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

Writing Memoir Through an Intersectional Lens

Raechel Anne Jolie

Nonfiction

Workshop

About the Event

Memoir focuses on a particular theme or themes of a person’s life. Intersectionality is a complex term formulated by Black legal scholar, Kimberlé Crenshaw, to denote the way different aspects of our identity overlap in relationship to systems of power. This framework is ideal to bring to memoir since it requires critical self-reflection about how our gender, race, class, sexuality (etcetera) matters in how we move through the world. Workshop participants will be guided through exercises to help understand their intersectional identities; read and discuss examples of intersectional memoir; and brainstorm and workshop ideas for their own intersectional narrative writing.

Author Bios

Raechel AnneJolie is a writer and educator living in Ohio, on Erie and Mississauga land. They are the author of Rust Belt Femme. Their other writing has appeared in The Baffler, In These Times, Novara Media, among others. You can subscribe to radical love letters (their newsletter) here. Follow them on Twitter @reblgrrlraechel or Instagram @rebelgrrlraechel.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
2

Writing Memoir Through an Intersectional Lens

Raechel Anne Jolie

Nonfiction

Workshop

3:30PM–5:00pm

Session 3

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

Creative Writing and Community: Connecting the Classroom to Worlds Beyond the Classroom

Hilary Plum, Ali Black, Isaiah Hunt, Joseph Earl Thomas

Beyond

Panel

About the Event

How can a creative writing classroom engage, serve, represent, dream about, and connect to communities beyond the structures of school? “Creative writing” is a discipline taught in schools, colleges, and universities—something you can get a degree in, publish a book in. It’s also just one name for imaginative work in language and genre that is ancient and communal, takes endlessly inventive forms, and exceeds forces of exclusion and hierarchy. This panel will consider how a creative writing classroom can include and serve communities within and beyond the room, offering educators’ practical ideas, guiding principles, and inspiration.

Author Bios

Hilary Plum (panel organizer) is the author of several books, most recently the novel Strawberry Fields, winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose. Her essay collection Hole Studies is forthcoming in October 2022 from Fonograf Editions, and a volume of poetry, Excisions, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence. She teaches fiction, nonfiction, and editing & publishing at Cleveland State University and in the NEOMFA program, and she is associate director of the CSU Poetry Center. With Zach Savich she edits the Open Prose Series at Rescue Press. Recent work has appeared in Granta, College Literature, American Poetry Review, Fence, and elsewhere.

Ali Black is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prize for her poem “Kinsman.” Her work has appeared in The Atticus Review, jubilat, Literary Hub,The Offing and elsewhere. Her first book of poetry, If It Heals At All, was selected by Jaki Shelton Green for the New Voices series at Jacar Press and it was named a finalist for the 2021 Ohioana Book Award. Her work is forthcoming in Crazyhorse and The Adroit Journal.

Born and raised as a proud Cleveland native, Isaiah Hunt focuses on near-future stories of his community, the entertainment industry, and transhumanist capitalism. When he’s not studying Pan-African history or fiddling with music, he’s dreaming of worlds adjacent to our own. He has recently finished his M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a Hopkins Fellow for John Carroll University. His work can be found at the Wick Poetry Center, Luna Negra, Camel Coat Press, and elsewhere.

Joseph EarlThomas is a writer from Frankford whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in VQR, N+1, Gulf Coast, The Offing, and The Kenyon Review. He has an MFA in prose from the University of Notre Dame and studies English in the PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania. His memoir Sink won the 2020 Chautauqua Janus Prize and he has received fellowships from Fulbright, VONA, Tin House, and Bread Loaf. He’s writing the novel God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer, and a collection of stories, Leviathan Beach, among other oddities.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

Creative Writing and Community: Connecting the Classroom to Worlds Beyond the Classroom

Hilary Plum, Ali Black, Isaiah Hunt, Joseph Earl Thomas

Beyond

Panel

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

Writer Interrupted: The Art of Writing While Parenting

Joline ScottRoller

Business

Craft Talk

About the Event

Writing can often be pushed to the back burner when parenting and other obligations of life and work take up the front burner. There are habits that can help you move your creative work forward, even if you only have 20 or 30 minutes a day. Learn some of these techniques in this seminar and begin the process of making the time for your writing.

Author Bios

Joline ScottRoller is a PenParentis Team Leader with over ten years of editing and teaching experience. She holds a BA, MA, and MFA in Fiction. She lives in Ashland, Ohio with her two children and three cats.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

Writer Interrupted: The Art of Writing While Parenting

Joline ScottRoller

Business

Craft Talk

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

How to Grow a Multi-Faceted Diamond: Writing the Poem Sequence

Rikki Santer, Rose M. Smith, Sandra Feen, Linda Fuller-Smith

Poetry

Panel

About the Event

In this workshop, participants will discover ways to create their own poem sequences by examining different approaches from well-established poets and then engaging in generative activities to produce their own poem sequence. Approaches/themes to be considered are: narrative arc, historical event, popular culture, famous figures, ekphrastic response, family, and place. Workshop leaders will also share samples from their own poetry sequence collections: Rikki Santer Head to Toe of It, Stopover, Front Nine, Drop Jaw; Linda Fuller-Smith Not All Their Children Died; Rose Smith Unearthing Ida; Sandra Feen Meat and Bone.

Author Bios

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana and Ohio Poet book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series was recently published by Luchador Press. She is also a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe, Concrete Wink. Please contact her through her website:  rikkisanter.com

Rose M. Smith, has lived in Central Ohio most of her life. Her work has appeared in Blood and Thunder, Origins Journal, Minola Review, Dying Dahlia Review, Passager, Pirene’s Fountain, Snapdragon, and other journals and anthologies. She is author of four chapbooks and one full-length collection, Unearthing Ida, which won the Lyrebird Prize from Glass Lyre Press in 2018.

Sandra Feen is a member of the poetry troupe Concrete Wink, with Chuck Salmons and Rikki Santer, a VALA poet, photographer, and member of the Bistro Poets. She has a BFA in Creative Writing and BS in English Education from Bowling Green State University, and an MA in Literature from Wright State University. She was one of twelve teachers selected for a National Endowment of the Arts first “Change Course” program, through Wright State University’s Institute on Writing and Its Teaching. A Pushcart and Ohioana Book Award nominee, Sandy is the author of Evidence of Starving (Voice Lux Journal), Meat and Bone (Luchador Press), and Fragile Capacities: School Poems (Nightballet Press).

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Linda Fuller-Smith also lived in Florence, Italy and in Southern California where she received a degree in Creative Writing from Long Beach City College. Once a professional ballet dancer, she worked more recently as a bookstore merchandiser. Her poems are published in journals including Pudding Magazine, frogpond, Gyroscope Review, Common Threads, The Baltimore Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Botticelli. Currently at work on a book of poems related to the 1927 school bombing in Bath, Michigan that killed her grandmother’s sister, Linda was awarded the OhioArts Council’s Individual Excellence Award for Fiscal Year 2018.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

How to Grow a Multi-Faceted Diamond: Writing the Poem Sequence

Rikki Santer, Rose M. Smith, Sandra Feen, Linda Fuller-Smith

Poetry

Panel

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

Muscle Memory: Writing About The Body in CNF

Negesti Kaudo

Nonfiction

Workshop

About the Event

Sometimes our most important stories are the result of trauma and or healing that we’ve experienced in our physical bodies. This workshop will explore methods of tackling these necessary narratives on the page such as using second-person, disjunctive or sectioned essay forms, and using hybrid genres. The workshop will also begin discussion on when is the right time to write these narratives and for whom.

Author Bios

Negesti Kaudo isa Midwestern essayist who holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Columbia College Chicago. She is the youngest winner of the Ohioana Library Association's Walter Rumsey Marvin grant (2015) for unpublished writers under 30. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and alumni of the Ragdale Residency and Winter Tangerine workshop. Kaudo has worked as a copywriter, a sex toy columnist, and an adjunct writing instructor. Her work has appeared in Fourth Genre, Best American Experimental Writing, Seneca Review, and elsewhere. Her debut collection, Ripe: Essays was published by Mad Creek Books / The Ohio State University Press in 2022.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

Muscle Memory: Writing About The Body in CNF

Negesti Kaudo

Nonfiction

Workshop

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

Writing Authentic Dialogue

Abby Vandiver

Fiction

Workshop

About the Event

Good dialogue can make or break your story. Readers will lose interest if dialogue feels forced or unrealistic. But engaging dialog will bring characters to life. Learn to write authentic dialog.

Author Bios

Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Abby L. Vandiver, also writing as Abby Colette and Cade Bentley. When she isn’t writing, Abby enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and teaching writing classes. She resides in South Euclid, Ohio.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
3

Writing Authentic Dialogue

Abby Vandiver

Fiction

Workshop

7:00PM–8:30pm

Tomorrow’s Party

7:00PM–8:30PM
SESSION

Tomorrow's Party—Readings & More

Beyond

Workshop

About the Event

Tomorrow's party is today. Mingle with fellow writers and hear readings from Inkubator presenters and more at this can't-miss literary event. Location and details will be shared shortly.

Author Bios

Stay tuned for more details.

7:00PM–8:30PM
SESSION

Tomorrow's Party—Readings & More

Beyond

Workshop

September 10

8:00AM–9:00am

Registration & Check-in

Plan to arrive early at the downtown Cleveland Public Library to check in and receive your conference materials before attending your first session.

9:00AM–4:00PM

Book Fair

The book fair will be open from 10:00am-4:00pm on Friday and 9:00am-4:00pm on Saturday at the conference and will feature local independent booksellers, literary journals, publishers and presses, writing groups, and literary organizations.

Participants so far include: Appletree Books, Bowling Green State University MFA, Brainchild Magazine, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, Cleveland Review of Books, Cleveland State University Poetry Center, Clevo Books, Fireside Book Shop, Flypaper Lit, Hiram College, ID13, Lake Erie Ink, Lit Youngstown, Loganberry Books, Mac’s Backs Books, Mid-American Review, Ohio Center for the Book, Outlandish Press, Purpled Palm Press, ThirdSpace Reading Room, University of Akron Press, The William N. Skirball Writers' Center, Wick Poetry Center, Writers in Residence, and more to come!

9:00AM–10:30am

Session 1

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

Behind the Publishing Process: From Idea to Pub Date

Brandi Larsen, Daniella Mestyanek Young

Business

Panel

About the Event

Understand the publishing process from manuscript to hardcover, how to work with co-writers, and trust the world with your story. Memoirists Daniella Mestyanek Young and Brandi Larsen will share the behind-the-scenes journey bringing Uncultured: A Memoir (St. Martin's Press, release date 9.20.22) from a thread of an idea to the market in an ever-changing publishing climate.

Author Bios

Daniella Mestyanek Young is an American author and speaker who was raised in the religious cult, Children of God. She later served as an intelligence officer for the US Army for over six years, making the rank of Captain, and became one of the first women in US Army history to conduct deliberate ground combat operations when she volunteered to serve on a Female Engagement Team. Daniella is also the recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Medal. Daniella lives with her husband and daughter in Maryland, and is a candidate for a Master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the Harvard Extension School. Daniella is the author of Uncultured: A Memoir, forthcoming from St. Martin's.  

Brandi Larsen is a writer, speaker, and coach building a more inclusive publishing landscape. Her work at Penguin Random House helped create NYT bestsellers and her journalism pieces earned Emmy nominations. Her talks about publishing, leadership, and grief inspire audiences from Zoom to Harvard. She serves as the board president for Literary Cleveland and writes books and essays. Brandi is the co-writer of Uncultured: A Memoir, forthcoming from St. Martin's.

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

Behind the Publishing Process: From Idea to Pub Date

Brandi Larsen, Daniella Mestyanek Young

Business

Panel

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

Beyond the Page: Adapting Your Writing for New Media

Dr. Raquel M. Ortiz

Beyond

Craft Talk

About the Event

We sometimes think of publishing as the end of the writing journey, but what if your work could be adapted into a song, play, or short film? In this talk, Dr. Raquel M. Ortiz will share stories about the many ways she has adapted her work or written for other media, including a children’s book, puppet show, song, lesson plan, and Emmy-nominated short film. Learn about writing for different media, collaborating with partners and artists, finding funding, and the many ways your work can find life beyond the page.

Author Bios

Dr. Raquel M. Ortiz is an Emmy-nominated award-winning writer, anthropologist, storyteller, educator, lyricist, and children’s book author. She wrote a song and the script for Cucarachita Martina’s Musical Adventure, which was shown at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and is nominated for a 2021 Emmy. Her first picture book, Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el mágico mural musical (Arte PúblicoPress, 2015), was named to the 2016 Tejas Star Reading List. She is the author/illustrator of Planting Flags on Division Street (Colores Editorial House, 2016), and author of Sofi Paints her dreams / Sofi Pintasus Suenos (Arte Público Press, 2019), When Julia Danced Bomba / Cuando Julia Bailaba Bomba (Arte Público Press, 2019), a Junior Library Guild Golden Selection, Vicki & a Summer of Change / Vicki y un verano decambio (Red Sugarcane Press, 2020), and Broken Butterfly Wings / Alitasde Mariposa (Arte Público Press, 2021). She was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio. Raquel is a board member at Literary Cleveland and is currently an artist in residence with Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center. She was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio.

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

Beyond the Page: Adapting Your Writing for New Media

Dr. Raquel M. Ortiz

Beyond

Craft Talk

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

Creating Your Protagonist

Tiffany Alexander

Teen

Workshop

About the Event

Story starts with character. Using empathy, conflict, and motivation, we’ll create a profile for a protagonist that will grip your audience from page one.

Author Bios

Tiffany Alexander is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter, and educator. She’s the author of a series of children’s picture books and a coming-of-age novel.

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

Creating Your Protagonist

Tiffany Alexander

Teen

Workshop

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

My Prerogative: Writing Cultural and Political Commentary for Publication.

Kenyon Farrow

Nonfiction

Workshop

About the Event

Writing opinion pieces is both an art and a science. It can be very rewarding, and very scary to write about oneself or one's opinions about controversial topics. But fear not! This workshop will provide attendees with the basic skills of how to structure an opinion piece, how to provide evidence to support your opinions, and some tips on pitching your work to editors.

Author Bios

Kenyon Farrow is a Cleveland Heights based writer, editor, and strategist. He is the co-editor of the book Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out. His work has also appeared in many anthologies including most recently Abolition for the People (edited by Colin Kaepernick), Spirited: Affirming theSoul of Black Lesbian and Gay Identity, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough, We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America, and Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call. His work has also appeared on websites and in publications such as The Atlantic, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Capital Journal, OUT, BET.com, TheGrio, Colorlines, Logo, ReWire News, City Limits, HuffPost,The American Prospect, and AlterNet.

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

My Prerogative: Writing Cultural and Political Commentary for Publication.

Kenyon Farrow

Nonfiction

Workshop

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

Peace, Love and Understanding: Pandemic Poems of Hope

Dr. Mary E. Weems

Poetry

Workshop

About the Event

The last two plus years have been filled with health challenges thanks to a Pandemic which continues in the midst of increased racism, anti-Semitism, homo and transphobia, gun violence; challenges to abortion, and baby formula shortages. In this interactive, poetry workshop, Dr. Mary E. Weems invites writers to bring their positive experiences which may include an image or object which represents it, to share and turn into poems. Workshop will include Weems' tips on performance.

Author Bios

Dr. Mary E. Weems is a poet, playwright, scholar, performer, and author of numerous books, most recently Still Hanging: Using Performance Texts to Deconstruct Racism (Brill/Sense, 2021), and Collaborative Spirit-Writing and Performance in Everyday Black Lives (Routledge Press, 2022) with co-author Dr. Bryant Keith Alexander, two books of poems An Unmistakable Shade of Red and the Obama Chronicles (Bottom Dog Press, 2008), For(e)closure (MainStreet Rag Press, 2012) both nominated for Ohioana Book Awards, five chapbooks as well as numerous journal articles and individual poems. Weems was awarded a 2015 Cleveland Arts Prize for her full-length drama MEAT. Weems has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Dr. Weems may be reached at www.maryeweems.org.

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

Peace, Love and Understanding: Pandemic Poems of Hope

Dr. Mary E. Weems

Poetry

Workshop

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

The Kid Inside You: Writing for Young Readers

Tricia Springstubb

Fiction

Workshop

About the Event

In this workshop, we'll use the important people, places, and experiences of our own childhoods as springboards to writing stories for today's young readers. Focusing on fiction for middle grade, ages 8-12, Tricia will share how she and other kid-lit writers turn the personal into the universal. Bring your memories happy and sad! Beginning and experienced writers welcome.

Author Bios

Tricia is the author of books for kids of all ages. Her most recent publications include the picture book Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and The Backyard Treasures, (Candlewick Press, 2020), which Reader's Digest called "one of the hundred best children's books ever written" (really!), and the middle grade novel TheMost Perfect Thing in the Universe (Holiday House, 2021), which Kirkus Review called "a perfect thing in the universe of juvenile fiction.” You can find out more about Tricia and her work at www.triciaspringstubb.com.

9:00AM–10:30AM
SESSION
1

The Kid Inside You: Writing for Young Readers

Tricia Springstubb

Fiction

Workshop

11:00AM–12:30PM

Session 2

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

A Poem Bigger than the Poet

Conor Bracken

Poetry

Workshop

About the Event

When the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski dismissed US poets’ focus on their families as a poetic subject, he muffed the diagnosis. It’s not that families, or other loved ones, aren’t worth talking about—it's that they, and whatever else a poem considers, should be looked at to understand more than just the self. In this workshop, we’ll look at poems by Vievee Francis, Rainier Marie Rilke, Shangyang Fang, and others, in order to recognize and practice different ways of writing poems that seek to understand not just the self but the self in relation to the phenomena that surround it.

Author Bios

Conor Bracken is a poet and translator. He is the author of Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour (Bull City Press) and The Enemy of My Enemy is Me (Diode Editions), and the translator of Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine's Scorpionic Sun (CSU PoetryCenter) and Jean D'Amérique's forthcoming No Way in the Skin Without This Bloody Embrace (Ugly Duckling Presse). His work has appeared in places like Gulf Coast, New England Review, the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Sixth Finch, and West Branch, and has received fellowships from Bread Loaf, the Frost Place, Inprint, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. He lives in Cleveland Heights.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

A Poem Bigger than the Poet

Conor Bracken

Poetry

Workshop

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

Five or Six Ways to Write List Poems

Amy Hughes

Teen

Workshop

About the Event

List the things you need to do this week, the contents of your locker, your memories from before you turned three. List your fears, your favorite places, and all the stupid things you hate. Poetry loves a list, and in this workshop, we’ll explore how lists can inspire and become poems. Example poems will become prompts for our own writing, where we’ll learn to use imagery, repetition, structure, titles, and tone to turn simple lists into impactful poems. Participants will begin writing several of their own poems and will leave with prompts to inspire more list poems.

Author Bios

Amy Hughes is a poet from Northeast Ohio who has taught writing for more than ten years. She is a teaching artist with Lake Erie Ink, as well as a scuba diver, amateur potter, chronic procrastinator, baker of pies, and thrifter of vintage junk.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

Five or Six Ways to Write List Poems

Amy Hughes

Teen

Workshop

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

How to Find an Agent

Erin Hosier

Business

Craft Talk

About the Event

Finding a literary agent is an important step if you intend to publish your book with a major publisher. But where do you look for agents? What do you send them? How do you find the right fit for you and your book? And what can you do to wow them in your query letter? In this talk, Erin Hosier, literary agent with Dunow, Carlson & Lerner, will provide a behind the scenes look at what agents do and what they are looking for. Get tips and learn next steps to set you on the path towards finding the right agent for you.

Author Bios

Erin Hosier is the author of the memoir Don't Let Me Down (Atria, 2019), and the coauthor of Hit So Hard by Patty Schemel (Da Capo, 2017). She is the co-creator—with Elizabeth Thompson and Matthew Phillp—of the podcast TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FATHER. She has been a literary agent since 2001 (currently with Dunow Carlson & Lerner), and was an original co-host of the Literary Death Match. As an agent, she primarily works with authors of nonfiction and has a special interest in popular culture, music biography, humor, women's history (and untold stories of all kinds). In general, novels with happy endings put her in a bad mood. She lives in Cleveland.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

How to Find an Agent

Erin Hosier

Business

Craft Talk

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing and You Can Too

Ken Schneck

Beyond

Craft Talk

About the Event

There are days when a clarity of purpose drives you to craft words that change all the lives around you using only that fountain pen you bought at a Renaissance Faire that YOU JUST KNEW would help you change the world. And then there are the other 7 days a week when you have no flipping clue what you’re doing. In this interactive workshop, we’ll dive DEEP into imposter syndrome, tap into some of your core purpose for writing, craft that ever-elusive elevator pitch, and unlock some writing superpowers to help you create a better world.

Author Bios

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame, Ohio’s only statewide LGBTQ+ news and views platform. He is the author of Seriously…What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew (2017), LGBTQ Cleveland(2018), LGBTQ Columbus (2019) and LGBTQ Cincinnati (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing and You Can Too

Ken Schneck

Beyond

Craft Talk

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

Novel Writing: Beginning, Middle, and End

D.M. Pulley

Fiction

Workshop

About the Event

D.M. Pulley outlines the creative novel writing process from where it starts with a sparking idea through the months of drafting to where it ends with letting it go. Like every character, each story has an arc that Pulley will discuss in-depth including the inciting moment, character development, plotting, heart-pounding revisions, and the tearful goodbye. She'll examine the heady highs of an author's work as well as the harrowing lows when a story struggles to survive.

Author Bios

Before becoming an Amazon best-selling author, D.M. Pulley worked as a Professional Engineer rehabbing historic structures and conducting forensic investigations of building failures. Her survey of a vacant building in Cleveland inspired her debut novel, The Dead Key, winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Pulley published three more novels inspired by true-crime in the RustBelt, including No One’s Home, named Best of Horror 2019 by SuspenseMagazine.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

Novel Writing: Beginning, Middle, and End

D.M. Pulley

Fiction

Workshop

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

Uses Of Memory in CNF and Memoir

Prince Shakur

Nonfiction

Workshop

About the Event

This craft lecture is oriented around the uses of memory in creative non-fiction and memoir. By exploring the various utilities of memory on a craft, impact, and political level, attendees of this craft lecture can gain insight into how memory can be used as a catalyst for a deeper emotional truth or wound, how memory comes through the wisdom of surrealism and Wisemen/sages in literature, and how what we notice is the present becomes the starting point for our personal histories.

Author Bios

Prince Shakur is a queer, Jamaican-American freelance journalist, cultural essayist, and grassroots organizer with a BA in Creative Writing from Ohio University. His words have been featured in Teen Vogue, Catapult, Level, ElectricLit, and more. In addition, Shakur is the proud writer in residence at Sangam House, Twelve Arts, The Studios of Key West, and La Maison Baldwin. His memoir When They Tell You to Be Good will be published by Tin House in October 2022.

11:00AM–12:30PM
SESSION
2

Uses Of Memory in CNF and Memoir

Prince Shakur

Nonfiction

Workshop

12:30PM–1:30pm

Lunch

1:30PM–3:00pM

Session 3

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Fun Ways into Fiction

Cynthia Larsen

Teen

Workshop

About the Event

Participants will use games, collaboration, and independent writing exercises to find characters, settings and stories to write. A great way to prepare for NaNoWriMo!

Author Bios

Cynthia Larsen is Lake Erie Ink’s co-founder and Education Director. Cynthia taught secondary English in Jersey City, New Jersey; Oakland, California; and Cleveland, Ohio before attending graduate school at the University of Arizona, where she received her MFA in creative writing. Ms. Larsen has facilitated project-based creative writing in collaboration with teachers for over fifteen years, combining her experience in education with her passion for and knowledge of the craft of creative writing.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Fun Ways into Fiction

Cynthia Larsen

Teen

Workshop

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

How to Start Your Podcast

Jing Lauengco, David Allen Moss, Lisa Sands, Aya Shlachter

Beyond

Panel

About the Event

Looking to start your own podcast? Get advice from a panel of local hosts who successfully launched their own shows, including Jing Lauengco (Next Thing with Jing), Lisa Sands (CLE Foodcast), and Aya Shlachter (Architect My Life) as well as David Allen Moss, Chief Creative Officer of Evergreen Podcasts. Learn tips for how to identify your topic, refine your pitch, define your format, find your audience, and more.

Author Bios

As a young Manila-born Filipina with a colorful imagination growing up in Ohio, Jing Lauengco saw the power of words, cross-cultural connections, and creative storytelling at an early age. Jing’s passion for Diversity, Design, and Digital Storytelling grew as an award-winning Brand Strategist, Chief Optimist, and Female Founder of Jing Inc., her design and business consultancy; Other Brown Girl (OBG), her social impact blog for modern, multicultural women of culture and next-gen #OtherBrownGIrl leaders and entrepreneurs; and her podcast, Next Thing with Jing, exploring next chapters, new adventures, and real life-work life comebacks. Entrepreneur, former Design Firm Founder and Ad Agency Partner, Jing is currently completing a non-fiction book about traveling to the Philippines to trace her family roots while taking a tour through breast cancer. Jing’s living the dream inspiring the next generation of modern womxn, creative entrepreneurs, and multicultural, multi-hyphenates to dream bigger and bolder—one brand and story at a time.

David Allen Moss is Chief Creative Officer at Evergreen and an entrepreneur with 20 years experience in content creation. He also fronts the alt rock duo, MOSSOM, and serves as a board member of a number of arts and culture organizations in Cleveland.

Lisa Sands has been writing about for almost a decade in publications that include Edible Cleveland, Ohio Magazine and Cleveland Magazine. In 2021 she decided to take her interest and advocacy in local food in a new direction, creating and hosting the CLE Foodcast which amplifies the voices of people growing, cooking and sharing food in Northeast Ohio and beyond. She is a freelance marketing and communications pro by day and an avid eater, cook, reader and yogi who never met a dog she didn't like. Get to know her at myforkandtheroad.com, her new(ish) website and follow her CLE Foodcast on your favorite podcast app or on Instagram.

Aya Shlachter is a Filipina American entrepreneur and CEO of MGS Global Group, a service base company that provides on-demand production support to creative businesses. She is also the founder of Architect My Life Community where she helps consult with creative entrepreneurs like architects and designers to scale their businesses while enjoying more out of life along the way. Aya also  hosts the Architect My Life Podcast where she spotlights women business owners in the industry. Aya is a wife and mother of two, a world traveler, golfer  and a recreational triathlete who loves cooking and spending time outdoors.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

How to Start Your Podcast

Jing Lauengco, David Allen Moss, Lisa Sands, Aya Shlachter

Beyond

Panel

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Hurry Slowly: Writing a Page Turner with Depth

Paula McLain, Thrity Umrigar

Fiction

Panel

About the Event

The newest novels by nationally renowned Cleveland-based authors Paula McLain and Thrity Umrigar are very different in content, genre, form, and tone. But When the Stars Go Dark and Honor share two things in common: they are rich, meaningful stories you want to slow down and sink into, and they are gripping page-turners you can't put down. In this panel discussion, the authors will discuss plotting books that hurry slowly and provide tips on writing an unputdownable novel with depth. Moderated by Annmarie Kelly-Harbaugh, writer and host of the Wild Precious Life literary podcast.

Author Bios

Paula McLain is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels, The Paris Wife, Circling the Sun, and Love and Ruin. Her latest instant bestseller is, When the Stars Go Dark. McLain’s essays have appeared in Town & Country, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, O theOprah Magazine, Huffington Post, The Guardian, the New York Times and elsewhere. She is also the author of the memoir, Like Family: Growing up in Other People’s Houses, two collections of poetry, and the debut novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives with her family in Cleveland.

Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, The Weight of Heaven, The World We Found, The Story Hour, Everybody’s Son and The Secrets Between Us. Her new novel, Honor, is a 2022 Reese's Book Club Pick. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning, and the children's books When I Carried You in My Belly, Sugar in Milk, and Binny's Diwali. Her books have been translated into several languages and published in over fifteen countries. She is a Distinguished University Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Hurry Slowly: Writing a Page Turner with Depth

Paula McLain, Thrity Umrigar

Fiction

Panel

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Of Dogs & Bones: A Dialogue on Political Poetry and Linguistic Activism

Stephanie Ginese, Noor Hindi

Poetry

Panel

About the Event

Join Puerto Rican-Italian poet Stephanie Ginese (Unto Dogs) and Palestinian-American poet Noor Hindi (Dear God. Dear Bones. Dear Yellow.) as they discuss their newly released debut collections and the ways their work illuminates intersectional identity, interrogates colonialism, attacks patriarchy, evokes religion, bears witness to history, exposes trauma, and articulates a way forward from violence, occupation, and oppression to honesty, agency, visibility, and creativity

Author Bios

Stephanie Ginese is a writer & wannabe comedian from South Lorain, Ohio. She is the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother & an Italian immigrant father. She currently lives in Cleveland, by the lake, with her two children. Unto Dogs is her debut book of poetry.

Noor Hindi is a Palestinian-American poet and reporter. She is a 2021 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow. Dear God. Dear Bones. Dear Yellow is her debut collection of poems. She lives in Dearborn.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Of Dogs & Bones: A Dialogue on Political Poetry and Linguistic Activism

Stephanie Ginese, Noor Hindi

Poetry

Panel

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Tips for Submitting to Literary Journals

Brian Petkash

Business

Craft Talk

About the Event

Ready to publish your story, poem, or essay in a literary journal? Join an experienced author as he discusses the nuts and bolts of submitting your piece for publication. From final edits to researching potential journals, from the logistics of submitting to decoding rejections and acceptances, find out how to get your work out there.

Author Bios

Brian Petkash is the author of Mistakes by the Lake (Madville Publishing) a collection of stories centered around Cleveland. His award-winning stories have appeared in Midwestern Gothic and Southword, among other publications.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Tips for Submitting to Literary Journals

Brian Petkash

Business

Craft Talk

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Writing About Dead Relatives: Turning Family History into Story

Lee Chilcote

Nonfiction

Workshop

About the Event

Our family history and stories of what happened before we were born shape us as people and writers. We all carry these stories inside of us, and oftentimes they’re passed down through oral histories, diaries, and letters. As writers, this is rich material. But how do we explore family history in nonfiction, without betraying our relatives or resorting to nostalgia and cliché? How do we write about the lives of long-dead relatives, when memory is faulty and people aren’t around to speak their own truths? This session will explore how writers from James Joyce to James McBride have drawn on family histories for inspiration and meaning. You’ll leave with practical suggestions and a bibliography of resources for how you can write about your family history.

Author Bios

Lee Chilcote is an award-winning journalist, writer and author whose writing is published in VanityFair, Next City, Belt and many literary journals as well as in The Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook, The Cleveland Anthology and A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts from a Segregated City. His poetry chapbooks are The Shape of Home and How to Live in Ruins. He is founder and editor of The Land, a local news startup reporting on Cleveland's neighborhoods, and a founder and past executive director of Literary Cleveland. He lives in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland with his family.

1:30PM–3:00PM
SESSION
3

Writing About Dead Relatives: Turning Family History into Story

Lee Chilcote

Nonfiction

Workshop

3:30PM–5:00pM

Session 4

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Disrupting and Queering Appalachian Narratives

Tiffany McDaniel, Carter Sickels, Jamie Lyn Smith

Fiction

Panel

About the Event

Join Appalachian Ohio authors in conversation about writing disruptive stories that challenge dominant narratives about place, identity, power and politics. This panel discussion will explore the authors’ strategies and experience in boldly queering stories, inviting complexity, and pushing against class, gender and racial stereotypes in pursuit of fiction that is true, beautiful, and timely.

Author Bios

Tiffany McDaniel is an Ohio native whose writing is inspired by the rolling hills and woods of the land she knows. Drawing from her Cherokee heritage, she is a poet, a novelist, and a visual artist. Her debut novel, The Summer That Melted Everything, won the Guardian's Not the Booker award and the Ohioana Reader’s Choice Award. She is the author of Betty, an international bestseller and a Friends of American Writers Chicago, the Society of Midland Authors, Nautilus Book Award, and Ohioana Library Readers’ Choice Award winner.

Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Prettiest Star, published by Hub City Press, and winner of the 2021 Southern Book Prize and the Weatherford Award. The Prettiest Star was also selected as a Kirkus Best Book of 2020 and a BestLGBT Book of 2020 by O Magazine. His debut novel The Evening Hour (Bloomsbury 2012), an Oregon Book Award finalist and a Lambda Literary Award finalist, was adapted into a feature film that premiered at the 2020 SundanceFilm Festival. His essays and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Atlantic, Oxford American, Poets & Writers, BuzzFeed, Joyland, Guernica, Catapult, and Electric Literature. Carter is the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and earned fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the VirginiaCenter for the Creative Arts, and MacDowell. He is an assistant professor ofEnglish at Eastern Kentucky University.

Jamie Lyn Smith is a writer, editor, and teacher. She earned her BA in English and Theatre fromKenyon College, her Master’s in Education from Fordham University, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Ohio State. Jamie Lyn is the Fiction Editor and Chief Operations Officer at Break Bread Magazine and a Consulting Editor for the Kenyon Review. Her work has appeared in The Pinch, The Mississippi Review, The Kenyon Review, American Literary Review, Yemassee,Bayou, and other fine literary magazines. Her short story collection, Township, debuted from Cornerstone Press in January 2022. She is currently writing “Hometown,” a novel about millennial crises and the rise of white nationalism in the rural Midwest, for which she received a 2020 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Disrupting and Queering Appalachian Narratives

Tiffany McDaniel, Carter Sickels, Jamie Lyn Smith

Fiction

Panel

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Give Better Feedback: Inclusive Workshop Response

Jason Harris

Beyond

Craft Talk

About the Event

Giving feedback on another writer’s work—in a writing workshop or otherwise—is an act of love and support. But without careful examination and thought, we can unintentionally reinforce the same white supremacist, colonialist, misogynist, and heteronormative values of the culture at large. In this talk, writer and educator Jason Harris will provide concrete strategies and models for giving feedback in ways that advance humility and empathy rather than control and domination. By providing inclusive feedback we can deconstruct bias, democratize creativity, empower each other, and create a more equitable and just world of words.

Author Bios

Jason Harris is an American writer and teaching artist. He currently serves as the Editor inChief for Gordon Square Review. In 2020, he became a Graduate PoetryFellow of The Watering Hole. In 2021, he served as the Barbara Smith Writer-in-Residence at Twelve Literary Arts. To read more of his work, you may visit his website: https://jasonharriswriter.com/. His Twitter handle is@ecopoems.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Give Better Feedback: Inclusive Workshop Response

Jason Harris

Beyond

Craft Talk

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Never, Ever Give Up

Allison Hite

Nonfiction

Workshop

About the Event

What is the hardest thing you ever had to do? We will spend time reflecting on that question and participants will be asked to write a one-page, anonymous answer. Participants will write Letters of Hope which can be words of encouragement, connection, and support in response. The activity is a safe space to bear witness to the lived experiences of those around us and to practice empathy and build community. We will end the session with a reflection and discussion.

Author Bios

In 2018, Allison Hite started a local storytelling project in Northeast Ohio called Never, Ever Give Up. The project collects one-page, anonymous, Stories of Struggle all answering the question: What is the hardest thing you ever had to do? All submissions are posted on Instagram @neverevergiveupcle. In response, followers write back Letters of Hope, to storytellers. Allison started the project after her mom died in a traffic accident and as a young woman navigating life without parents, she struggled to talk about her pain and the trauma she had experienced. Allison believes that everyone has a hardest moment, that they are not all equal, but that we all have one - and that is what connects us. We have to tell the truth in order to heal and as a whole, we need to drastically transform how we tend to and respond to other people's pain.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Never, Ever Give Up

Allison Hite

Nonfiction

Workshop

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Page Count Live: Advice for the Career-Minded Writer

Laura Maylene Walter, Liz Breazeale

Business

Craft Talk

About the Event

Attend a special live edition of the Page Count podcast as host Laura Maylene Walter interviews Liz Breazeale, an award-winning author, NEA Fellow, and recent Cleveland transplant. In a wide-ranging conversation targeting career-minded writers, Walter and Breazeale will offer practical advice surrounding the writing process, submitting to literary magazines, querying agents, applying for grants and residencies, facing rejection, the publication process, and persisting through self-doubt. Audience members will have a chance to ask questions during this session, which will later air as an episode of Page Count, a literary podcast presented by the Ohio Center for the Book.

Author Bios

Liz Breazeale is the recipient of a 2020 NEA Fellowship and won the 2018 Prairie Schooner Book Prize for Fiction for her first book, Extinction Events: Stories. She holds an MFA from Bowling Green State University. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Joyland, Cincinnati Review, Best Small Fictions, Kenyon Review Online, Best of the Net, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Fence, Passages North, and others.

Laura Maylene Walter is the Ohio Center for the Book Fellow at Cleveland Public Library, where she hosts Page Count, a literary podcast. She is the author of the novel Body of Stars (Dutton, 2021), and her writing has appeared in Poets & Writers, Kenyon Review, The Sun, Ninth Letter, The Masters Review, and many other publications. She has received grants, awards, or fellowships from Tin House, the Ohio Arts Council, the Ohioana Library Association, Yaddo, the Chautauqua Institution, and Art Omi: Writers.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Page Count Live: Advice for the Career-Minded Writer

Laura Maylene Walter, Liz Breazeale

Business

Craft Talk

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Writing the Haibun

Ali Black

Poetry

Workshop

About the Event

In this workshop we will explore writing the haibun, a form originating in Japan that combines prose and haiku. The haibun is sometimes considered as the first hybrid form! Participants will learn about the haibun and write pieces that include autobiography, diary, and flash memoir. This workshop is open to writers of all backgrounds.

Author Bios

Ali Black is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prize for her poem “Kinsman.” Her work has appeared in The Atticus Review, jubilat, Literary Hub,The Offing and elsewhere. Her first book of poetry, If It Heals At All, was selected by Jaki Shelton Green for the New Voices series at Jacar Press and it was named a finalist for the 2021 Ohioana Book Award. Her work is forthcoming in Crazyhorse and The Adroit Journal.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Writing the Haibun

Ali Black

Poetry

Workshop

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Youthful Expressions: Generative Poetry Workshop for Teens

Raja Belle Freeman

Teen

Workshop

About the Event

Teen writers can join poet Raja Belle Freeman, teaching artist for Lake Erie Ink, for a poetry-writing session that will enhance your understanding of the genre, broaden your horizons, sharpen your skills, build your confidence, and connect you with other young writers in the Greater Cleveland community.

Author Bios

Raja Belle Freeman, a performance poet and visual artist, is the lead teaching artist for Twelve Literary Arts and a member of the board of South Euclid's community development corporation, One South Euclid. She is also a recent graduate of Cleveland State University where she received a bachelors in Creative Writing with a minor in Black Studies. In recent years, she has been featured on WKYC- TV News for video poems on social injustice. Find that video and others from Twelve Literary Arts and Michelle R. Smith’s Blax Museum on YouTube.

3:30PM–5:00PM
SESSION
4

Youthful Expressions: Generative Poetry Workshop for Teens

Raja Belle Freeman

Teen

Workshop

7:00PM–8:30PM

Keynote Speaker

7:00PM–8:30PM
SESSION

Keynote: Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg

Beyond

Lecture

About the Event

Keynote speaker Jami Attenberg is a New York Times bestselling author of author of seven books of fiction. Her most recent book, I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home, is a memoir about unlocking and embracing her creativity—and how it saved her life. In this keynote talk, Jami Attenberg will speak to building a writing community and carving out a creative life for yourself. This event is presented by the Cleveland Public Library.

Author Bios

Jami Attenberg is the author of seven books of fiction, including: Instant Love, TheKept Man, The Melting Season, The Middlesteins, Saint Mazie, and All Grown Up. Her most recent novel is All This Could Be Yours (2019). She is also the author of the memoir I Came All ThisWay to Meet You: Writing Myself Home (2022). Attenberg has written about food, travel, books, relationships and urban life for The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, Slate, and others. Her work has been published in a total of sixteen languages. She lives in New Orleans, LA.

7:00PM–8:30PM
SESSION

Keynote: Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg

Beyond

Lecture

Visitor Info

Welcome!

We look forward to welcoming you on September 9-10 for the 2022 Inkubator Writing Conference. See the information below for details to help plan your visit.

Conference
Location

The Literary Cleveland Inkubator Writing Conference takes place Friday and Saturday, September 9-10 in-person at the Cleveland Public Library Louis Stokes building (525 Superior Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114).

Lodging

Hotel lodging is available downtown. Nearby options include:
Hyatt Regency Cleveland At The Arcade
Drury Plaza Hotel
Hampton Inn

Parking

Nearby parking garages include:
ABM Rockwell Garage
Memorial Plaza
200 Public Square Garage

Metered parking is available nearby and is free on Saturdays, though it may be difficult to find a spot.

Health & Safety

Literary Cleveland will be following health and safety guidelines set by the Cleveland Public Library. Masks will be required in breakout rooms during each session. If you are feeling sick or if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID, please stay home to keep everyone safe. As local conditions and health guidelines change, we will update attendees on new policies and requirements. For more information on library services during the pandemic, see https://cpl.org/library-services-during-the-pandemic/.

Transportation

We encourage the use of public transit to attend the conference. The Cleveland Public Library is a .2 mile (6 minute) walk from the Public Square bus terminal and Tower City rapid station.

Food & Drink

Coffee and water will be available for free at the conference with some light snacks. Literary Cleveland will offer box lunch options for purchase (ordering will open in August).

Nearby breakfast options include Rising Star Coffee, 1890 Restaurant, Mike & Dee's Diner, and chains like Au Bon Pain and Dunkin'. Nearby lunch and dinner options include Ohio City Burrito, Rebol, Citizen Pie, Barrio, and chains like Shake Shack, Potbelly, and more.

Sights

Downtown visitors are in walking distance from Public Square, Tower City, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, Playhouse Square, sports arenas, the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. Further afield we recommend visiting the West Side Market, Edgewater Park, Wendy Park Coast Guard Station, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Plus no trip to Cleveland is complete without stops at indie bookstores Clevo Books, Visible Voice Books, Appletree Books, Loganberry Books, Mac's Backs Books, the Bookshop in Lakewood and more. Snag a Cleveland Bookworm Challenge map for more places to visit.

Cleveland Book Week

Literary Cleveland's Inkubator Writing Conference is just the beginning of Cleveland Book Week. Be sure to check out the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony and events September 11-16 as well as the Great Lakes African American Writers Conference (GLAAWC) September 16-18.

Conference Accessibility

Literary Cleveland is committed to making the Inkubator Writing Conference as accessible as possible.

  • Public transportation is available near the Cleveland Public Library with a rapid station at Tower City, a central bus terminal at Public Square, and bus stops on Superior Ave.
  • There are elevators in all multilevel event spaces.
  • The venue’s sidewalks, pathways, and doorways are accessible, and there is zero-step entry to the Cleveland Public Library Louis Stokes wing.
  • Accessible restrooms are located on the second floor (where the conference will be held) as well as the lower level near the auditorium.
  • All rooms at the conference are wheelchair accessible. Workshop spaces will have seats in the first row and back row marked as reserved for individuals with accessibility needs. Please use these accommodations if you need them and we ask that no one question anyone’s use of this accommodation as some disabilities are invisible.
  • Library signage is in Braille.
  • Large format versions of the program schedule will be available.
  • Speakers will have text outlines of their workshops, talks, or panels available on request.
  • ASL interpretation will be provided for the Keynote address.
  • Closed captioning will be provided for virtual events held online September 6-8.

To request a reasonable accommodation due to a disability please contact ADA Coordinator Michelle Smith at 330-622-0606 or msmith@litcleveland.org no later than 14 days before this event.

Copyright 2022 Literary Cleveland