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Lit Youngstown receives $15K grant for Fall Literary Festival

Karen Schubert, Lit Youngstown’s director, said that after a virtual conference in 2020, she is hoping for a live event in 2021 but will move to an online venue if necessary.
Ross Gay
Youngstown native Ross Gay will be the featured artist for Lit Youngstown's fifth annual Fall Literary Festival in October.

YOUNGSTOWN — Lit Youngstown has received a $15,000 grant from the James and Coralie Centofanti Charitable Foundation to support the fifth annual Fall Literary Festival. 

Poet and essayist Ross Gay of Indianapolis, a Youngstown native, will keynote the festival scheduled for Oct. 7-9.

Other visiting writers include poet and memoirist Jan Beatty of Pittsburgh, children’s author Matt Forrest Esenwine of New Hampshire, novelist and poet Bonnie Proudfoot of Athens and playwright Mike Geither of Cleveland. 

In addition, 73 presenters from throughout the United States will lead sessions on reading, writing, editing, understanding and publishing creative work.

Eight literary journals, presses, programs and organizations will have tables at the book fair, including The ID13 Prison Literacy Project of Cleveland and Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts of Knoxville, Tenn.

Karen Schubert, Lit Youngstown’s director, said that after a virtual conference in 2020, she is hoping for a live event in 2021 but will move to an online venue if necessary.

“We made the best of a virtual conference last year,” she said in a news release. “But this year I would love to bring the presenters and participants to Youngstown to talk with local readers and writers about our love of the literary arts.

"It’s so inspiring for new and experienced writers to feel part of a larger community, especially after this year of isolation.” 

Daytime sessions are tentatively booked at Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University and evening readings at venues in downtown Youngstown.

The festival is open to teens and adults, and packets are available for high school and college classes that include links and writing samples by the visiting writers. 

“The Centofanti Foundation gift is a good wind in our sails,” Schubert said. “The Fall Fest is our biggest undertaking of the year, and to have this support is incredible. We are so thankful.”

Lit Youngstown is a literary arts nonprofit with programs for writers, readers and storytellers. More information is available here.