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Schedule Set for 11th Annual CityLit Festival

The schedule is set for the 11th annual CityLit Festival at Pratt Library. Headlined by National Book Award winner James McBride and singer-songwriter/novelist Wesley Stace, the spring celebration of the literary arts in Baltimore takes place on Saturday, April 12, 2014, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Take in twenty programs featuring dozens of fiction authors, poets, and memoirists, at the Pratt Library's Central Library, 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, 21201. Browse more than 50 exhibitors in the always bustling Literary Marketplace.

SCHEDULE (Scroll to the bottom for link to printable PDF)


Visit an array of self-published authors, literary organizations, small press, magazines, and journals representing Baltimore’s diverse and talented literary community.

CityLit Project executive director Gregg Wilhelm and Pratt Library CEO Dr. Carla Hayden open the 11th annual CityLit Festival.



Meet the Maryland winners in this national essay program for students grades 4-12, sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council/Maryland Center for the Book ( Featured author: Elisabeth Dahl, Genie Wishes. This sweet, funny novel follows fifth-grader Genie Kunkle through a tumultuous year as she confronts many of the issues--both large and small--typical of the transition from childhood to adolescence.

Elisabeth Dahl

1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. WESLEY STACE
Singer-songwriter Wesley Stace, better known by his former stage name John Wesley Harding, discusses his just-published novel, his fourth, Wonderkid. The novel is a backstage epic of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, but also sippy cups, pillow fights, and Baby Bjorns when the band in question discovers success among quite an unexpected audience. “Wonderkid has both enormous entertainment value and serious literary worth, a very hard trick to pull off.” —Rosanne Cash. Join Wes for a conversation with WTMD’s Erik Deatherage and a short acoustic set of music.

Wesley Stace

3 p.m. – 4 p.m. JAMES MCBRIDE
James McBride won the 2013 National Book Award for The Good Lord Bird. This retelling of events leading up to John Brown’s unsuccessful raid on Harper’s Ferry dramatizes Brown’s pursuit of racial freedom and delusions of divine infallibility through the eyes of a slave boy—mistaken for a girl—fearful of coming of age on the threshold of Civil War. An author, musician and screenwriter, James’s memoir, The Color of Water, remained on The New York Times bestseller list for two years. He is also a former staff writer for The Boston Globe, People Magazine, and The Washington Post. Join James for a conversation with WYPR’s Tom Hall, arts and culture editor for “Maryland Morning,” followed by audience Q&A and a book signing.

James McBride


Celebrate National Poetry Month and the 125th birthday of Poet Lore. Established in 1889, Poet Lore is the oldest continuously published poetry magazine in the United States. Join Genevieve DeLeon, managing editor, for readings by Amy Eisner, Megan Foley, and the winner of the Pratt Library poetry contest.

Amy Eisner and Megan Foley

12 p.m. – 12:50 p.m. UMBCREATIVE WRITING
Join UMBC faculty writers Lia Purpura (Rough Likeness), Michael Fallon (The Great Before and After), and Holly Sneeringer (“Under Water”) with student-winners of the English Department’s literary contest.

Michael Fallon, Lia Purpura, and Holly Sneeringer

1 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. SLICES OF LIFE
Leah Eskin writes the food column “Home on the Range” for Tribune newspapers, including The Sun. Her just published book, Slices of Life: A Food Writer Cooks through Many a Conundrum, transforms those columns into a memoir that readers can savor in small or large bites. It's a compilation of more than 200 recipes, with a generous helping of the life stories that happened along the way. Join Leah for a conversation with food critic Mary Zajac, co-host of WBJC's "Word on Wine."

Leah Eskin

2 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. THE TAMPA CONNECTION
Join three writers affiliated with the new MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Tampa: founding director Jeff Parker (The Taste of Penny and translator, Sankya), professor Jason Ockert (Neighbors of Nothing), and new graduate Nathan Deuel (debuting Friday Was the Bomb: Five Years in the Middle East). Writers interested in learning about a dynamic, low-residency program should especially attend.  Hosted by Diane Finlayson, WYPR.

Nathan Deuel, Jason Ockert, and Jeff Parker


11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. RELEASING THE MUSE
Three poets converge on Baltimore with brand new collections making their local debuts. Join Baltimore’s own Lalita Noronha (Her Skin, Phyllo-thin), Marylander Erica Dawson from Tampa (The Small Blades Hurt), and former Baltimorean now Salt Lake City-based Natasha Sajé (Vivarium) for a reading hosted by Kristen Harbeson, board chair, Poe Baltimore.

Erica Dawson, Lalita Noronha, and Natasha Sajé

Alan Cheuse reads from his just published An Authentic Captain Marvel Ring, which collects the best short stories from this National Public Radio book reviewer. The title story—a flash fiction piece that acts as both prologue and an intriguing look at a writer's inspiration—takes readers into a fantastic land, one that informs, shapes, and travels along with the other stories in this wonderful collection. Introduced by Andrew Gifford, publisher, Sante Fe Writer’s Project.

Alan Cheuse

1:30 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. POETRY IN TRANSLATION
Presented by the DC-Area Literary Translators Network (DC-ALT) and Loch Raven Review, this discussion features Nancy Naomi Carlson (French), Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak (Persian), Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka (Polish), and Katherine E. Young (Russian). Each translator will read one or two poems in the original and translation, offer insight into the art of poetry translation, and take questions from the audience.

Nancy Naomi Carlson, Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, and Katherine E. Young



Short Leash is a moving tale of love and loss, the journey of two broken souls finding their way toward wholeness. Janice Gary takes the reader on "a vast inward journey toward freedom from the effects of real trauma in her youth as she walks her dog in a public park” (Meredith Hall, author of The New York Times bestseller Without a Map). Join Janice for a conversation with Lisa Robinson of WBAL-TV.

Janice Gary

1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. THE MEMOIR AND YOU

Join author and teacher Janice Gary for a mini-workshop on “The Memoir and You: On Writing About Yourself.” Janice leads writing workshops throughout the U.S., including “Writing the Memoir You’ve Been Dreaming About” at the C.G. Jung Institute of New York City. Bring your memories, your aspirations, and your pen!

Join hosts Deborah Rudacille and John Barry for their monthly installment of this popular nonfiction reading series. Readers include Elaine Eff (The Painted Screens of Baltimore), D. Watkins ("Too Poor for Pop Culture"), and Joe MacLeod (ex-City Paper).

Elaine Eff, D. Watkins, and Joe MacLeod


Nancy Naomi Carlson’s
most recent book is a collection of critically acclaimed translations, Stone Lyre: Poems of René Char. She is the author of Kings Highway (WWPH), Complications of the Heart (chapbook, Texas Review Press), Imperfect Seal of Lips (chapbook, Middle Tennessee State U), The Nomads, My Brothers, Go Out to Drink from the Big Dipper: Poems of Abdourahman Waberi (Seagull Books, distributed by the U. of Chicago Press) and two forthcoming translations  of Suzanne Dracius: Calazaza's Delicious Dereliction(poetry) and The Dancing Other (novel). A senior translation editor for Tupelo Quarterly and an instructor at the Bethesda Writer’s Center, a recipient of grants from the NEA, Maryland Arts Council and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of the District of Columbia where she coordinates the graduate school counseling program.

Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio's longtime "voice of books," is the author of five novels, four collections of short fiction, the memoir Fall Out of Heaven, and the collection of travel essays, A Trance After Breakfast. As a book commentator, Cheuse is a regular contributor to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The Idaho Review, and The Southern Review, among other places. He teaches in the Writing Program at George Mason University and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

Elisabeth Dahl writes for children and adults from her home in Baltimore. Genie Wishes, a middle-grade novel with line drawings, is her first book. Her short stories, essays, and poems have appeared at,,, and elsewhere. Elisabeth holds degrees in literature and writing from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities, and she teaches for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth.

Erica Dawson’s second collection of poetry, The Small Blades Hurt, was published by Measure Press in January. Slate says, “She generates great energy by pulling at the impossible and sometimes pleasurable tangles of what is constant in us, and what is disposable in the world.” Her first collection, Big-Eyed Afraid, won the 2006 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and was published by Waywiser Press in 2007. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2012 and 2008, Poetry: A Pocket Anthology, Barrow Street, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals and anthologies. Erica, a native Marylander, is an assistant professor of English and Writing at University of Tampa.

Genevieve DeLeon graduated from Columbia University in 2010 with a BA in English Literature. After graduating, she worked for author Abdi Latif Ega to copyedit the manuscript for his novel, Guban, and for the Manhattan-based Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. She has been managing editor of Poet Lore since 2011.

Nathan Deuel
is the author of Friday Was the Bomb (Dzanc May 2014) and has written personal essays, creative nonfiction, reported pieces, criticism, and short fiction, in print and online, for The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, GQ, Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, and many others. He is a regular contributor to The Paris Review and The New Inquiry and is a contributing editor at The Los Angeles Review of Books. He graduated from the University of Tampa with an MFA in creative writing.

 Eff served as folklorist for the City of Baltimore and State of Maryland at the Maryland Historical Trust and State Arts Council. She chronicles living traditions and earned national awards for her work in oral history, film and traditional arts.  Her work on Baltimore’s unique folk art culminates in the book The Painted Screens of Baltimore  called the “single greatest book about Baltimore" in fifty years. She is co-founder of the Painted Screen Society of Baltimore

Amy Eisner’s poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Fence, The Louisville Review, Madison Review, and Washington Square Review, among other publications. She teaches creative writing and literature at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Michael Fallon
is a poet, essayist, and a Senior Lecturer in English at UMBC where he has taught Creative Writing, literature, and composition since 1985. His poems have been widely published in literary magazines, anthologies, and pamphlets as well as broadcast on radio and recorded on CDs. Poems have appeared recently in the American Scholar, The Antietam Review, Sin Fronteras, The Oyez Review, and The Loch Raven Review.  Fallon was a winner of a Maryland State Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry in 2009 and is the author of three collections of poetry: A History of the Color Black published by Dolphin-Moon Press in 1991; Since You Have No Body, winner of the Plan B Press Poetry Chapbook Competition and published in 2011; and The Great Before and After published by BrickHouse Books in 2011.

Megan Foley works as a producer for FoundTrack Creative and 522 Productions. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Columbia University, where she also taught creative writing. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Freerange NonfictionThought CatalogCanteen MagazineThe Village VoicePoet Lore, and others. She lives in Washington, DC.

Janice Gary
is the recipient of the Christine White Award for Memoir/Personal Essay and the Ames Award for Essay and is a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has appeared in Literal Latte, Kaleidoscope, The Baltimore Review, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Potomac Review and Women Speak Out, an anthology from The Crossing Press.  She leads writing workshops throughout the U.S., including Writing the Memoir You’ve Been Dreaming About at the C.G. Jung Institute of New York City. Her book, Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, was published by Michigan State University Press in August 2013.

Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak
is professor of Persian Language, Literature, and Cultures at the University of Maryland and Chair of the Middle Eastern Studies Department at the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. He is the author, editor or translator of over 20 books and more than 100 research articles. He counts Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran (University of Utah Press, 1995), Essays on Nima Yushij: Animating Modernity in Persian Poetry (Brill, 2004), and Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature (Arcade, 2005) as most representative of his contributions to the study of Persian literature. He has also written entries on Iran and Persian literature for many reference works, including The Encyclopedia Britannica, The Encyclopaedia Iranica, and The Encyclopedia of Translation Studies.

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka
is a scientist, bilingual poet, writer, poetry translator, photographer, and co-editor of the literary journal Loch Raven Review. Born and raised in Poland, she arrived in the U.S.A. in 1980 on a postdoctoral fellowship. Published in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the U.S.A. and throughout Europe. She is the translator for two bilingual poetry books by Lidia Kosk: niedosyt/reshapings and Sodka woda, sona woda/ Sweet Water, Salt Water, the latter of which she also edited. It has been nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize and Found in Translation Award for book translations. Her translations of poems by three Maryland Poets Laureate – Lucille Clifton, Josephine Jacobsen and Linda Pastan – have been published in Poland; her translations of poems by Lidia Kosk, Ernest Bryll and Wisawa Szymborska  have appeared in many venues in the U.S.A.

Joe MacLeod
worked for 25 years at City Paper.  Now he works at City Paper.

James McBride
is an author, musician and screenwriter. His landmark memoir, The Color of Water, rested on The New York Times bestseller list for two years. It is considered an American classic and is read in schools and universities across the United States.  His debut novel,  Miracle at St. Anna was translated into a major motion picture directed by American film icon Spike Lee. It was released by Disney/Touchstone in September 2008.  James wrote the script for "Miracle at St. Anna” and co-wrote Spike Lee's 2012 "Red Hook Summer." His novel, Song Yet Sung, was released in paperback in January 2009. His latest novel The Good Lord Bird, about American revolutionary John Brown, was released Aug 2013 and won the National Book Award in November 2013.

Lalita Noronha
is a widely published research scientist, poet, and fiction writer. Her literary work has appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, including The Baltimore Sun, The Christian Science Monitor, Catholic Digest, Crab Orchard Review, The Cortland Review, Gargoyle, Passager, and Get Well Wishes (Harper Collins). She is the author of an award winning short story collection, Where Monsoons Cry (Black Words Press). She has twice won the Maryland Literary Short Story Award, a Maryland Individual Artist Award, the National League of American Pen Women Award, and Maryland Writers Association Awards in fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. Her poem, "Bar Talk" was awarded first prize by the Arlington Literary Journal, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2011). She is a fiction editor for the Baltimore Review, and she teaches both science and creative writing.

Jason Ockert
is the author of Neighbors of Nothing and Rabbit Punches.  Winner of the Dzanc Short Story Collection Contest, Jason has also been honored by the Atlantic Monthly, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Million Writers Award.  His short fiction has appeared in several journals and anthologies including New Stories from the South, Best American Mystery Stories, Oxford American, The Iowa Review, One Story, and McSweeney’s.  His debut novel, Wasp Box, will be published in early 2015.

Jeff Parker
is the author of several books including Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal (Harper Collins), the novel Ovenman (Tin House), and the short story collection The Taste of Penny (Dzanc). He co-edited the anthologies Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia (Tin House) and Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States (Dalkey Archive). He also co-translated the novel Sankya (Dzanc) by Zakhar Prilepin from the Russian. He is the co-Founder and Director of the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon, and he was the founding Director of the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Tampa. He currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Lia Purpura
is the author of seven collections of essays, poems and translations, most recently, Rough Likeness (essays) and King Baby (poems). Her honors include a  Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, National Endowment for the Arts and Fulbright Fellowships, three Pushcart prizes, the Associated Writing Programs Award in Nonfiction, and the Beatrice Hawley, and Ohio State University Press awards in poetry.  Recent work appears in Agni, Field, The Georgia Review, Orion, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Best American Essays, and elsewhere.  She is Writer in Residence at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a member of the core faculty at the Rainier Writing Workshop, and teaches at writing programs around the country, including, most recently, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference.

Natasha Sajé is the author of three books of poems, Red Under the Skin (Pittsburgh, 1994), Bend (Tupelo, 2004), Vivarium (Tupelo, 2014), and a critical book about poetry, Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory, (Michigan, 2014). Her honors include the Robert Winner and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Awards from the Poetry Society of America, the 2002 Campbell Corner Poetry Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Slovenia, and a Camargo Fellowship in France. Sajé has been teaching in the low residency Vermont College  of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program since 1996, and is a professor of English at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, where she directs the Weeks Poetry Series.

Holly Sneeringer earned an M.S. in professional writing from Towson University and an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, where she won the Chris White Award in the essay/memoir category.  She teaches writing and is the Associate Director of the Writing and Rhetoric Division at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).  Her work has appeared in various places including School Library Journal, Mason-Dixon Arrive, The St. Ann’s Review,, The Gettysburg Review, and The Los Angeles Review.  In 2013 she was the recipient of A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Award in Creative Nonfiction for her essay “Under Water.”

Wesley Stace
 is the author of three widely acclaimed novels: the internationally bestselling Misfortune, selected by the Washington Post and Amazon as one of the best novels of the year; by George, one of the New York Public Library’s 2007 Books To Remember; and Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, one of the Wall Street Journal’s best fiction books of 2011. He has also recorded under the name John Wesley Harding, though his recent album, Self-Titled (September, 2013), was the first released under his own name. He is the founder of the Cabinet of Wonders variety show, contributes frequently to The New York Times, teaches at Princeton, and lives in Philadelphia.

D. Watkins
is a writer whose work has been published in Huffington Post, StopBeingFamous, 1729mag, and Salon. Watkins has been featured on WYPR’s “Maryland Morning,” The Marc Steiner Show, and Huff Post Live. Watkins holds a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Baltimore. He is an adjunct professor at Coppin State University and runs a creative writing workshop at the Baltimore Free School.

Katherine E. Young
is the author of Day of the Border Guards (University of Arkansas Press) and two chapbooks of original poetry. Young’s translation of Russian poet Inna Kabysh won a share of the 2011 Brodsky-Spender Prize; a dual-language iPad edition of Kabysh’s poetry that includes text, audio, and video is forthcoming from Artist’s Proof Editions.


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