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CityLit Festival Postponed Due to the Coronavirus Outbreak

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20th Annual Baltimore Book Festival Includes CityLit Stage

CityLit Project is thrilled to once again host the CityLit Stage at the Baltimore Book Festival, which celebrates its 20th edition! this fall. We are especially excited to present CityLit original board member and recent Newbery Award winner Kwame Alexander. Join us for a Literary Happy Hour with Raven Beer, music by Limestone Connection, a special program by Ink Press Productions, and the engaging programs brought to you by the region's best literary journals and reading series that call the CityLit Stage home for the weekend.

See you at the Inner Harbor!

FRIDAY September 25

Fri 12pm – 2pm Free Friday Feedback!

Writers!  Bring 2-3 short poems or 4-5 pages of prose (fiction or nonfiction) and receive on-the-spot feedback and suggestions on what to do next. Published authors and publishing professionals on hand will include:

Amanda Fiore received her MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in print and online in literary journals including The Sentinel Quarterly, Prick of the Spindle, Unlikely2.0, The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and Guanxi. Amanda currently teaches academic writing at the University of Maryland and is a resident at Creative Alliance.

Jen Grow
’s debut collection, My Life as a Mermaid, was winner of the 2012 Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Competition. She is the Fiction Editor of Little Patuxent Review. She’s received two Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and her stories have earned nominations for Best New American Voices and a Pushcart Prize. 

B. Morrison is the author of two poetry collections, Terrarium and Here at Least, and a memoir, Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother. An editor, teacher, and publisher, her award-winning work has been published in anthologies and magazines.

Michael J Seidlinger is the author of a number of novels including The Strangest, The Fun We've Had, and The Laughter of Strangers. He serves as Electric Literature‘s Book Reviews Editor as well as Publisher-in-Chief of Civil Coping Mechanisms, an indie press specializing in unclassifiable/innovative fiction and poetry.

Gabriella Souza
is Arts and Culture Editor for Baltimore magazine. She has won national and state awards while writing at newspapers and magazines in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. In her new role in Baltimore, she’s returning to her arts roots—her parents are both professional musicians and she considered a singing career.

Fri 5:00pm Literary Happy Hour

Beer courtesy of Raven Beer

Join the CityLit family, Poe Baltimore, and Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore for cold beer and lit gab celebrating the fabulous Baltimore Book Festival.

Fri 5:30pm – 6:00pm Edgar Allan Poe’s Baltimore

Edgar Allan Poe wrote his great works while living in several cities on the East Coast of the United States, but Baltimore’s claim to him is special. His ancestors settled in the burgeoning town on the Chesapeake during the 18th century, and it was in Baltimore that he found refuge when his foster family in Virginia shut him out. Most importantly, it was in Baltimore that Poe received payment for his literary work. And, Baltimore has his bones! Join author and Poe House volunteer David Gaylin and Poe Baltimore vice president Gregg Wilhelm for a conversation about Gaylin’s new book, Edgar Allan Poe's Baltimore.

Fri 6:00pm – 7:00pm Smile, Hon, You’re In Baltimore

Join a rambunctious cast of writers for a RELEASE PARTY for the latest edition of Smile, Hon, You’re In Baltimore.  Impresario and ringmaster William P. Tandy leads the way with contributing writers from the zine recently dubbed a “Best of Baltimore” by Baltimore magazine.

Baltimore satirist D.R. Belz has published essays, poetry, and fiction in a variety of publications, including The Antietam Review, The Baltimore Sun, and the Arbutus Patch. He is the author of White Asparagus and also serves as the fiction editor at The Loch Raven Review.

E. Doyle-Gillespie is a Baltimore City police officer and frequent contributor to Smile, Hon. He is the author of the chapbook Masala Tea and Oranges. His new book, Woman from Guernica, is due for release this spring.

Kate Gillespie is a microbiologist as well as a poet, playwright, and writer of things both scientific and strange. Her work has been featured in Smile, Hon, The Baltimore Ekphrasis Project, and the poetry journal Syzygy.

Kat Malone is a whiskey enhanced witty retort specialist and expatriate of Baltimore.

Mike Murphy lives and writes in Baltimore with his wife and two cats named Daisy and Zelda. His work in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction has appeared previously in Smile, Hon, Cobalt, Seltzer, and Pen & Ink.

Geoffrey Welchman is a writer, digital media specialist, and musician who lives in Baltimore with his wife, Betty. His writing has previously appeared in Smile, Hon #15 and the Alleyways issue. That's all he can remember at the moment.


Sat 12pm – 1:00pm MSAC Individual Artist Award Winners: Playwriting

Presented by the Maryland State Arts Council, these winners of the annual Individual Artist Awards showcase some of the very best playwrights in the state today.  Hosted by Christine Stewart, program director for literary arts with the Maryland State Arts Council.

Bob Bartlett
is a dramatist whose work has been performed at Seven Devils, Lark New Play Development Center, Theater Alliance, Iron Crow, and the Capital and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, among others. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, teaches theater at Bowie State University in Maryland, and is a founding member of The Welders, a playwrights collective.

Alonzo LaMont has had plays produced in Chicago, Amsterdam, D.C., and LA. He loves biking, looking for UFO’s, and finding good Bakeries. He loves when his plays get produced. He loves going places where his plays ARE produced.

Susan McCully performed her “Cyber Becomes Electra” at festivals and universities across the U.S. and in Budapest, Exeter, and Toronto. Her “Inexcusable Fantasies” played Fringe Festivals in Orlando, Indianapolis, Prague, and New York. Her play “Still the One” premiered at Manhattan Theatre Source.

Pat Montley has had 17 plays published, readings at the Kennedy Center, Center Stage, Rep Stage, and the Abingdon Theatre, productions at the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Source, the Harold Clurman Theatre, the Nat Horne Theatre, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Center Stage’s “My America” series.

Mark Scharf is a playwright, actor and teacher whose plays have been produced and published widely in the United States and internationally. He has an MFA in Playwriting from the University of Virginia and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Sat 1:00pm – 2:00pm Chapbook Champions: Winners of the Harriss Poetry Prize


Celebrating its fifth anniversary, the Harriss Poetry Prize is a chapbook competition open to poets nation-wide who have not published a book-length collection.  Named in honor of the patron saint of Maryland poetry and independent publishing, Clarinda Harriss, and published under the CityLit Press imprint, the prize has been judged by acclaimed poets such as Dick Allen, Marie Howe, Tom Lux, and Michael Salcman, who serves as the series editor.

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka (Oblige the Light) is the author of Face Half-Illuminated, a book of poems, translations, and prose. Her poems, translations, essays, and interviews have appeared in Akcent; Driftwood Press; International Poetry Review; Lalitamba; Little Patuxent Review; Loch Raven Review; Notre Dame Review; Passager; Przegld Polski, Nowy Dziennik; and The Baltimore Review, and elsewhere.

Rebekah Remington (Asphalt) holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her poetry has appeared in Linebreak, The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, Bellingham Review Online, Hayden Ferry’s Review, Smartish Pace, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of two Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards in poetry.

Bruce Sager (Famous) was recently awarded the William Matthews Poetry Prize, judged by Billy Collins. He has been the recipient of Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards in both fiction and poetry, a Baltimore City Arts Grant in poetry, and the 1986 Artscape Literary Arts Award in poetry, judged by William Stafford.

Laura Shovan (Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone) is poetry editor for the literary journal Little Patuxent Review. She edited the Maryland Writers’ Association anthology Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, her novel-in-verse for children, will be published next year.

Sat 2:00pm – 3:30pm Saturday Live! with Ink Press Productions

Ink Press Productions is a collaborative effort devoted to blurring the lines of writing, visual, and performance art in the Baltimore community and beyond. They specialize in handmade books, letterpress printing, and experimental events. The curators of Ink Press Productions, Amanda McCormick and Tracy Dimond, will host a two-hour variety show—Saturday Live!—featuring work by Ink Press authors and various performances by Baltimore artists. Prepare to get blurry!  

Sat 3:30pm – 4:30pm Poets with a “Capital” P


Oh D.C.  So much like Baltimore with your beltway, and your river, and your sports teams.  We hear you even have a Washington Monument. Can your poets match ours?  Check out three of the district’s best!  Lineation with representation!

Sandra Beasley is the author of Count the Waves; I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize; and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a memoir.

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies. Miller is the author of several collections of poems and two memoirs. His collected poems edited by Kirsten Porter will be released this spring by Willow Press. Miller was inducted into the Washington, D.C., Hall of Fame in April 2015.

Richard Peabody is the founder and co-editor of Gargoyle Magazine and editor (or co-editor) of twenty-three anthologies including A Different Beat: Writings by Women of the Beat Generation. Peabody taught at Johns Hopkins University for fifteen years. His new book is The Richard Peabody Reader published by Alan Squire Publishers.

Sat 4:30pm – 5:30pm Writing My Life: The Pros and Cons of Sharing It All


This colorful reading and discussion explores the experience and aftermath of writing memoir. Jamie Brickhouse puts the fun back in dysfunctional, Bruce Jacobs toots his horn about race relations, and Nancy Murray discusses how dropping out can be the best way to graduate in the literary world. Hosted by Diana Gross, founder of Global Citizen Media.

Jamie Brickhouse, author of Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir, has been published in The New York Times, Salon, Publishers Weekly, Lambda Literary Review, and The Fix, among other publications. He is also a guest blogger for the Huffington Post. Brickhouse spent over two decades in the publishing industry, most recently at two major houses as head of their publicity and lecture divisions.

Bruce A. Jacobs’s latest nonfiction book is Race Manners for the 21st Century. He has appeared on NPR, C-SPAN, and his friend Roy’s back porch. As a drummer and saxophonist, he blends words with other sounds and textures, and he performs with his improvisational band Cymbalism and other groups. He is working on a memoir about race and river gorges.

Nancy Murray is an author, playwright, and storyteller. Her memoir One Child for Another was published earlier this year. Her stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in various media including the Baltimore Post-Examiner, Welter, and Survivor Magazine. She was invited to participate in the Women of the World Festival in 2012. Murray is working on her next memoir, "Out From Under, Waking Up from the American Dream."

Sat 5:30pm – 7:00pm Mixed Genre Fiction Reading


Natalie Eilbert is the author of the debut collection Swan Feast, published this year by Coconut Books. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Conversation with the Stone Wife and And I Shall Again Be Virtuous. Recently a winner of the 2015 Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Prize for Innovative Poetry through Summer Literary Seminars, she is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.

Juliet Escoria is the author of Black Cloud, which was named a best book of the year by Dazed, Flavorwire, Salon, The Fader, and more. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in places like The Believer, Vice, Guernica, Electric Literature, and Hobart. She has a BA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Brooklyn College.

Bill Peak received his Master’s degree in creative writing from Hollins University.  Published in numerous magazines and reviews, he’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The Oblate’s Confession took silver in the Benjamin Franklin Awards and won an Indie Excellence Award.

Art Taylor has won an Agatha, a Macavity, and three Derringer Awards for his short fiction and was a finalist for the Anthony Award. Stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and in other magazines and anthologies. His novel in stories On the Road With Del and Louise was published just this month by Henery Press. He teaches at George Mason University and contributes frequently to the Washington Post and Mystery Scene.

A. Rod Womack’s many years of experience as an entrepreneur bring a thread of realism to his material. Redwood is the true story of The Redwood Grill, an upscale restaurant located near Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor. Set in a world of great cuisine, vivacious music, and A-List celebrity events, three businessmen discover a serial killer in their midst and trust a charismatic con-artist who wanted it all.


Sun 12:00pm – 1:00pm The Poet's Response: A Conversation on Social Justice and Poetics (Little Patuxent Review and Split This Rock)


Co-Sponsored by Little Patuxent Review and Split This Rock, the D.C.-based national network of socially engaged poets, this panel and poetry reading explores how poets respond to issues of social justice, and how activism shapes, informs, and invigorates the poet's craft. The conversation is co-moderated by Sarah Browning, executive director of Split This Rock, and Steven Leyva, editor of Little Patuxent Review.

Mahogany L. Browne is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and Poet’s House, and is the current curator and host for the Friday Night series at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café in New York. Her most recent projects include Redbone: A Biomythography, #Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out Online in 140 Characters or Less, and Swag.

zakia henderson-brown currently serves as Associate Editor at The New Press and on the board of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, North American Review, and Vinyl. zakia is a Cave Canem fellow and resides in her native Brooklyn.

Goldie Patrick has been a feature poet and performer at several poetry venues nationwide. Most recently named one of the top 40 under 40 by the Envest Foundation, Goldie is a self-proclaimed “hip-hop womanist,” inspired to create conversations and movements that empower and liberate the stories of Black women and girls.

Laura Shovan is poetry editor for Little Patuxent Review and editor of two poetry anthologies. Her chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt and Stone, won the inaugural Harriss Poetry Prize. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, her novel-in-verse for children, will be published in 2016.

Sun 1:00pm – 2:00pm Literary Citizenship (The Baltimore Review)


Editors from The Baltimore Review discuss the process for becoming a naturalized citizen of the Country of Writers. No Form N-400, no passport photos. Oath of Allegiance nice, but not required. From simply reading the work of respected literary citizens to making all the right connections, editors discuss what it takes to become a card-carrying citizen—and find a home for your work.

Amanda Fiore
received her MFA in Fiction in 2012. She is currently “Writer in Residence” at The Patterson and teaches writing at College Park. Her work has appeared in Sentinel Quarterly, Prick of the Spindle, and Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, among others.

Lisa Lance
has an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University, and her writing has appeared in publications including The Butter, Full Grown People, Baltimore Magazine, National Parks Traveler, Bmoreart, and others. She is a nonfiction editor for The Baltimore Review.

Holly Morse-Ellington
has published essays with Wanderlust and Lipstick, Matador Network, Three Quarter Review, Baltimore Fishbowl, Outside In Magazine, Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore, Urbanite, The Journal of Homeland Security, The Washington Times, and elsewhere. She writes and performs music, plays, and promotional material with her arts startup, Limestone Connection.

Lalita Noronha is a widely published poet and writer. She is the author of an award winning short story collection, Where Monsoons Cry, and a chapbook of poetry, Her Skin Phyllo-thin. She has won the Maryland Literary Short Story Award, a Maryland Individual Artist Award, and Maryland Writers Association Awards in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

Barbara Westwood Diehl is founding editor of The Baltimore Review. Her fiction and poetry have been published in journals including MacGuffin, Potomac Review (Best of the 50), Measure, Little Patuxent Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, Gargoyle, Superstition Review, Penduline Press, NANO Fiction, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

Sun 2:00pm – 3:00pm Lit & Art Reading Series

Started in 2007, the Lit & Art Reading Series takes place five times a year at the Watermark Gallery near Harborplace. The program features artists who represent various literary genres combined with visual art.  This festival edition is emceed by Aaron Henkin of WYPR’s “The Signal,” which takes listeners on a weekly tour of Baltimore’s cultural landscape. Eric D. Goodman is co-founder and co-curator of the Lit & Art Reading Series. Nitin Jagdish assists with the series, and is a regular contributor to The Potomac and Syndic.


Readers include:


Holly Morse-Ellington has published essays with Wanderlust and Lipstick, Matador Network, Three Quarter Review, Baltimore Fishbowl, Outside In Magazine, Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore, Urbanite, The Journal of Homeland Security, The Washington Times, and elsewhere. She writes and performs music, plays, and promotional material with her arts startup, Limestone Connection. She and Jason Tinney co-authored the play, "Fifty Miles Away," winner of Frostburg Center for Creative Writing’s 2015 One Act Festival.

Richard Peabody is the founder and co-editor of Gargoyle Magazine and editor (or co-editor) of twenty-three anthologies including Mondo Barbie, Conversations with Gore Vidal, and A Different Beat: Writings by Women of the Beat Generation. The author of a novella, three short story collections, and seven poetry books, Peabody’s new book is The Richard Peabody Reader published by Alan Squire Publishers.

Jason Tinney is the author of Ripple Meets the Deep (named “Best Book” for 2015 by Baltimore magazine), Louise Paris and Other Waltzes, and Bluebird. He has been a contributor to several publications, including Baltimore, Style, Urbanite, and Maryland Life. As an actor, he has appeared in more than thirty stage productions. He and Holly Morse-Ellington perform together as Limestone Connection.

Gregg Wilhelm founded the literary arts organization CityLit Project in 2004 and serves as publisher of its CityLit Press imprint.  He has worked for several independent presses and has taught writing and publishing courses at several universities. In 2014, Gregg earned an MFA from the University of Tampa and won a Rubys Artists Project Grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

Sun 3:00pm – 4:00pm Conversation with Newbery Award Winner Kwame Alexander


Kwame Alexander is a poet and author of eighteen books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Other works include Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band and the YA novel He Said, She Said. He is the founder of Book-in-a-Day, a student-run publishing program that has created more than 3000 student authors, and a founding board member of CityLit Project. Join Kwame in a conversation with CityLit Project founder Gregg Wilhelm.

Sun 4pm – 5:30pm Nonfiction Presented by the New Mercury Series

The New Mercury, the area’s only on-going nonfiction reading series, takes place every month at the Windup Space in Station North.  This festival edition, hosted by series curators Deborah Rudacille and John Barry, includes:


Firmin DeBrabander is an associate professor of philosophy at Maryland Institute College of Art. He is the author of Do Guns Make us Free? He has written numerous articles for the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, The, and Salon. In Do Guns Make Us Free?, DeBrabander examines the ways that the proliferation of guns impacts freedom and finds that a heavily armed citizenry diminishes core freedoms for all of us.

Curtis Smith has published over one hundred stories and essays. His work has been cited by The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and The Best American Spiritual Writing. He has published five fiction collections, three novels, and two essay collections. His latest books are Beasts and Men (stories) and Communion (essays). Next spring, Ig Publishing will put out his next book, a series of essays about Slaughterhouse-Five.

Marion Winik is the author of First Comes Love and The Glen Rock Book of the Dead.  Her other books are Telling, The Lunch-Box Chronicles, Rules for the Unruly, Above Us Only Sky, and Highs in the Low Fifties: How I Stumbled Through the Joys of Single Living. She has also published two books of poetry, Nonstop and Boycrazy.

Jamie Zvirzdin is a science editor and freelance writer. She is the editor of the newly published Fresh Courage Take: New Directions by Mormon Women, featuring twelve diverse essays from Mormon and formerly Mormon women. She has worked for Atomium Culture, A K Peters, Taylor & Francis, and other clients in the publishing industry, and she is the founder of The Unbound Bookmaker Project, which publishes books written and illustrated by children in developing countries.

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