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CityLit Festival Postponed Due to the Coronavirus Outbreak

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10th Annual CityLit Festival SCHEDULE

The very first CityLit Project event took place in April 2004 at Pratt Library. Called CityLit Festival, it featured an array of concurrent programming from diverse writers representing a variety of genres, numerous panels, the first incarnation of the Literary Marketplace, and Pulitzer Prize winner author Edward P. Jones. Since then, every April, CityLit Project and Pratt Library have presented world famous writers, critically acclaimed poets, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, the region's very best literary artists, and hundreds of journals, organizations, and self-published authors in the Literary Marketplace.

Our 10th annual edition of CityLit Festival promises to be the best version yet, with special guest GEORGE SAUNDERS.

Came join us on April 13, 2013, and discover (again) for yourself why Baltimore magazine called CityLit Festival "a can't miss event on the city's social scene."

10th Annual CityLit Festival
Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
April 13, 2013
10am – 5pm

Questions: or 410.274.5691

Scroll to bottom of page to download PDF of CityLit Festival schedule.

CityLit Festival is made possible in part by the generous support of the following:

Book sales managed by



Explore an array of self-published authors, literary organizations, small presses, magazines, and literary journals that represent Baltimore's diverse and talented literary arts community. Nearly 75 exhibitors cover the library's main floor!


CityLit Project Gregg Wilhelm and Pratt Library executive director Carla Hayden open the 10th annual CityLit Fesitval!



Letters About Literature is a national writing contest for students in grades 4 to 10 sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The program encourages young readers to write to the author of a book expressing how that book changed their view of themselves or the world. In state program is managed by the Maryland Humanities Council. Every year at CityLit Festival, students and their families from around the state gather to recognize regional winners.

Special Guest Author: Jonathon Scott Fuqua’s latest book, Calvert the Raven In the Battle of Baltimore, is an illustrated book for children. Fuqua has written YA novels, novels for adults, illustrated chapter books, and graphic novels.


Poets laureate Stanley Plumly of Maryland and Dick Allen of Connecticut read their latest work. Plumly is the author of Orphan Hours and is recipient of the 2010 John William Corrington Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature). Allen is the author of Present Vanishing and recipient of the 2013 New Criterion Poetry Prize, one of the country's most prominent prizes for a book-length collection of poems that pays close attention to form.  Introduced by Michael Salcman, poet and critic, Past Chair, CityLit Project


George Saunders is the author of three collections of short stories: the bestselling Pastoralia, set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape; CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; and In Persuasion Nation, one of three finalists for the 2006 STORY Prize for best short story collection of the year. The New York Times Magazine called Saunders's latest collection, Tenth of December, "the best book you'll read this year."

In 2006, Saunders received a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, which described him as a “highly imaginative author [who] continues to influence a generation of young writers and brings to contemporary American fiction a sense of humor, pathos, and literary style all his own.”

Saunders will read from his new book and talk with Tom Hall, Arts and Culture Editor, “Maryland Morning,” WYPR. Signing will take place after the program on the library's first floor adjacent to the Barnes & Noble table.


10:45 WELCOME BY EDGAR ALLAN POE (Mark Redfield)



Tim Wendel’s books include Summer of ’68High HeatRed Rain, and Castro’s Curveball. A writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, his stories have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostGQ, and Esquire.  His newest release, Habana Libre, is a novella set in Cuba and Baltimore. Get a sneak peak before the book's official publication on May 1, 2013.

Leigh Newman’s memoir Still Points North—set in Maryland and Alaska—is hot off the press from Dial Press. She is the Deputy Editor of where she writes about books, life, happiness, survival, and—on rare, lucky days—food.  Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in One StoryTin HouseThe New York Times "Modern Love" and "City" sections, Fiction, O The Oprah Magazine,, Condé Nast Brides, Condé Nast Concierge, and Bookforum amogn other publications. Her work has been anthologized in Crown’s The Collected Traveler book series, My Parents Were Awesome (Villard, 2011), andCity Sages: Baltimore (CityLit Press, 2010).

Afaa Michael Weaver is the author of eleven previous poetry collections, including Timber and Prayer: The Indian Pond Poems,My Father’s Geography, and The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985 to 2005. He is Alumnae Professor of English at Simmons College in Boston. Weaver is the recipient of an NEA fellowship, a Pew fellowship, and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship. He has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and a Fulbright scholar appointment, among other honors. The Government of Nature is the second volume of a trilogy (the first was The Plum Flower Dance) in which Weaver analyzes his life, striving to become the ideal poet. 

Reginald Harris, Poetry in The Branches Coordinator and Information Technology Director for Poets House in New York City, won the 2012 Cave Canem / Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize for Autogeography. A Pushcart Prize Nominee, recipient of Individual Artist Awards for both poetry and fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, and Finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and the ForeWord Book of the Year for 10 Tongues: Poems (2002), his work has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and other publications. An Associate Editor for Lambda Literary Foundation’s Lambda Literary Review, he is currently pretending to work on another manuscript.

Introduced by Marc Steiner, "The Marc Steiner Show," WEAA.

Jen Michalski is author of the novel The Tide King, winner of the 2012 Big Moose Prize, the short story collections From Hereand Close Encounters, and the novella collection Could You Be With Her Now. She is the founding editor of the literary quarterly jmww, a co-host of The 510 Readings and the biannual Lit Show, and interviews writers at The Nervous Breakdown. She also is the editor of the anthology City Sages: Baltimore, which Baltimore magazine called a "Best of Baltimore" in 2010. Her book featuring two novellas includes “I Can Make It to California Before It’s Time for Dinner,” which explores the dangers of living in a world while having a compromised reality, and “May-September,” which tells the story of a young writer is hired by a much-older woman over the summer to help blog her memoirs for her grandchildren.

Terese Svoboda’s Tin God contains two distinct stories told in intertwining chapters connected by setting and other elements that emerge by the novel’s end. One story involves a Spanish conquistador who has fallen from his horse and finds himself alone in an expanse of lush grass so high he cannot find his way out. The other features a guy named Pork who is searching for the brick of cocaine his buddy Jim threw into a sorghum field when their car was being chased by police. Svoboda’s writing has appeared in Paris ReviewThe New YorkerTLSNarrative Magazine, and other publications. She the author of five volumes of poetry and four novels, including Tin God originally published in 2006 and just released in paperback.


Jamal Joseph discusses his memoir, Panther Baby. In the 1960s, he exhorted students at Columbia University to burn their college to the ground. Today, he’s chair of Columbia's School of the Arts film division. Joseph’s personal odyssey—from the streets of Harlem to Riker’s Island and Leavenworth to the halls of Columbia—is as gripping as it is inspiring. Joseph is an activist, urban guerrilla, the FBI’s most wanted fugitive, drug addict, drug counselor, convict, writer, poet, filmmaker, father, professor, youth advocate, and Oscar nominee.

Reading and conversation with Marc Steiner, "The Marc Steiner Show," WEAA.


11:00-11:50 NATIONAL POETRY MONTH CELEBRATION: Reading with Little Patuxent Review and Pratt Poetry Contest Winner

Join hosts Laura Shovan, poet and editor of Little Patuxent Review, and Gerry LaFemina,poet and judge of the second annual Pratt Poetry Contest, for a reading in celebration of National Poetry Month. Readers include:

Clarinda Harriss retired from Towson University in 2011 to devote more time to her writing and to BrickHouse Books, Inc., which she has directed for 40 years.  Her most recent books are Air TravelDirty Blue Voice, and Mortmain, and, with Moira Egan, she co-edited Hot Sonnets: An Anthology.  Her collection of short stories, Lady in the Other Bed, is forthcoming in 2013. 
Kim Jensen is a poet, teacher, and political activist whose books include Bread Alone and The Woman I Left Behind, an experimental novel chronicling the turbulent love affair between a Palestinian exile and an American student. In spring 2013, Syracuse University Press will publish The Only Thing That Matters, a collection of serial poems that represent an extended creative engagement with the poetic works of Fanny Howe. Jensen lives in Maryland where she is an associate professor at the Community College of Baltimore County.
Emily Rich is a former federal employee and community college instructor who is taking some time off to write. Emily has previously been published in River Poets Journal,, and Circa: A Literary Review. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and three nearly grown children.
Bruce Sager was awarded the 2010 Harriss Prize for his book Famous; Dick Allen, Poet Laureate of Connecticut, judged the contest. He has received recent MSAC Individual Artist Awards in both fiction and poetry, a Baltimore City Arts Grant in poetry (1987), and the 1986 Artscape Literary Arts Award, judged by U.S. Poet Laureate William Stafford. He is married to the photographer Nicol Sager, with whom he has two small children. The family resides in Westminster, Maryland.
Michael Salcman, neurosurgeon, poet, and art critic, has poems in Alaska Quarterly ReviewHarvard ReviewThe Hopkins ReviewOntario Review, and The New York Quarterly. As an art critic he lectures widely on art and the brain. His collections include The Clock Made of Confetti (Orchises Press), which was nominated for The Poets’ Prize in 2009, and The Enemy of Good Is Better (Orchises Press).
Pat Valdata received an MFA in fiction writing from Goddard College. Her newest book, a full-length poetry book titled Inherent Vice (Pecan Grove Press), was published in March 2011. Her earlier chapbook, Looking for Bivalve (2002), was a finalist in that publisher’s chapbook competition. She has also written two novels, Crosswind (Wind Canyon Books, 1998) and The Other Sister (Plain View Press, 2008). She lives in Cecil County, Maryland.

With the recent release of the Anthony Hopkins movie Hitchcock, interest in film noir has peaked again. But before these stories hit celluloid, many of them lurked in the dark pages and gutters of books. What is the mystery behind adapting a great novel to the silver screen? Join host Nik Korpon and panelists for a thrilling discussion.

Ariel S. Winter is the author of the picture book One of a Kind (Aladdin), the novel The Twenty-Year Death (Hard Case Crime), and the blog "We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie." A finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award, The Twenty-Year Death is a breathtaking first novel written in the form of three separate crime novels, each set in a different decade and penned in the style of a different giant of the mystery genre.

Art Taylor is a fiction writer, critic, and assistant professor of English at George Mason University. His short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery MagazineBarrelhouseNeedle: A Magazine of Noir, and North American Review, and online at Fiction Weekly, Mysterical-E, PANK, Plots With Guns, Prick of the Spindle, and SmokeLong Quarterly. His story “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” won first place in flash fiction in the 2012 Press 53 Open Awards. Taylor also reviews mysteries and thrillers for the Washington Post and contributes frequently to Mystery Scene Magazine

Brian Lindenmuth is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler, his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat, and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

Nik Korpon is the author of Old GhostsBy the Nails of the WarpriestStay God, and Bar Scars: Stories. His fiction has appeared in Needle: A Magazine of NoirShotgun Honey, Beat to a PulpThuglitYellow Mama, and more. He lives in Baltimore.


Allegra Bennett is an award-winning journalist, political speechwriter (including for the Barack Obama Democratic National Committee Conventions in 2008 and 2012), author of four books and numerous pamphlets, and founder and publisher of Renovating Woman, a home improvement magazine and website for women. Allegra later leveraged her Renovating Woman persona in a saving energy campaign for the Baltimore Gas and Electric company. For the past 18 years Allegra has headed her own media company, Ask Allegra, providing communications solutions to individuals and companies in need of writing, editing, publishing and niche messaging services. She develops original content for websites and special sections for publications.


11:30-12:30 510 AT THE FESTIVAL (FICTION)
The popular monthly reading series presents its April edition again at CityLit Festival.  Join hosts Jen Michalski and Michael Kimball with the following readers:

CL Bledsoe is the author of the young adult novel Sunlight; three poetry collections, _____ (Want/Need)Anthem, and Leap Year; a short story collection titled Naming the Animals ; and five forthcoming books. His story, "Leaving the Garden," was selected as a Notable Story of 2008 for Story South's Million Writer's Award. His story, “The Scream,” was selected as a Notable Story of 2011. Bledsoe has written reviews for The Hollins CriticThe Arkansas ReviewAmerican Book ReviewPrick of the SpindleThe Pedestal Magazine, and elsewhere. 

Andrew Keating was raised in New England, and now lives and teaches in Baltimore. His work has appeared in Stymie MagazineNecessary FictionAmpersand ReviewMedulla ReviewEunoia ReviewNorth Central Review, and other publications. His first collection of short fiction, Participants, was published by Thumbnail Press. He is a recent graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts program at University of Baltimore, and he founded the literary journal Cobalt Review in 2011.

Nathan Leslie’s six books of short stories include MadreBelievers, and Drivers.  He is also the author of Night Sweat, a poetry collection.  His first novel, The Tall Tale of Tommy Twice, was published in October 2012 by Atticus Books. He was series editor for The Best of the Web anthology 2008 and 2009 (Dzanc Books) and edited fiction for Pedestal Magazine for five years.  He teaches at Northern Virginia Community College and lives in Fairfax.

Rob Roensch's collection of short stories, The Wildflowers of Baltimore, won Salt Publishing's Scott Prize in 2012. He has published short fiction in EpochSliceThe Collagist, and elsewhere.

Elisabeth Dahl studied literature and writing at Brown, then Hopkins (B.A.), then Georgetown (M.A.). She spent years as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader in Washington, DC, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Genie Wishes, Dahl’s debut middle-grade novel, has just been published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams Books. It is a story about fifth grade—highs, lows, and hamster erasers—as seen through the eyes of the class blogger, Genie.

Laurel Snyder is the author of  three novels for children, Penny DreadfulAny Which Wall, and Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains OR The Search for a Suitable Princess” (Random House) and two picture books, Inside the Slidy Diner” and Baxter the Kosher Pig (Tricycle). Her YA novel Bigger than a Bread Box was an ABC Best Books pick, a Bank Street Best Book for 2012, and 2012 SIBA Award Nominee.

Battle Creek is a first novel for Neil Didriksen, who combines an avocation as an amateur historian with an interest in bringing colonial Maryland to life for young readers. After his father’s death at sea, a fourteen-year-old boy struggles to survive, to gain his freedom from the man who buys him, and to rescue his sister who has been sold to another master. This story of slavery and freedom explores the world of English settlers, native peoples, and enslaved Africans who carve out new lives along the edges of the Chesapeake Bay.

Jonathon Scott Fuqua’s latest book, Calvert the Raven In the Battle of Baltimore, is an illustrated book for children. Fuqua has written YA novels, novels for adults, illustrated chapter books, and graphic novels.

Discussion moderated by Mona DeGross, author and Pratt librarian.

The popular monthly nonfiction reading series presents its April edition again at CityLit Festival.  Join hosts Deborah Rudacilleand John Barry with the following readers:

Karen Houppert
's work has appeared in New York TimesNewsdayThe NationMother JonesSalonSlateMs.The Village Voice, and other magazines and anthologies. She is the author of two nonfiction books, The Curse (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999) and Home Fires Burning (Ballantine, 2005). Her third book, Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People’s Justice(New Press) investigates the national crisis in indigent defense.

David Sterritt, chair of the National Society of Film Critics and chief book critic of Film Quarterly, teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Columbia University. He also moderates the Cinema Club at the Avalon in Washington, D.C.

Mencken impersonator John Dausch



Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, Lightship, and The Racecar Alphabet. He is the illustrator of the popular Poppy Stories series, by Avi; Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan; and, most recently, Marty McGuire Digs Worms!, by Kate Messner. His books have received three Robert F. Sibert Honor awards, an Orbis Pictus Award, a selection on The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books list, and a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators.


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