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2017 CityLit Festival Schedule Announced, Adichie to Headline


Download a full PDF of Festival Sessions and Author Bios

CityLit Project announces its 14th Annual CityLit Festival, to take place on Saturday, April 29 from 10 am to 4 pm at the University of Baltimore's William H. Thumel Sr. Business Center at 11 West Mt. Royal Avenue.

This day of Poetry, Fiction & Nonfiction will feature WYPR’s Tom Hall in Conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (right), a MacArthur Genius Grant Recipient whose latest book Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was just published this March. Adichie’s 2012 TED Talk, We Should All Be Feminists, has started a worldwide conversation about feminism. Her 2010 TED Talk, The Danger of A Single Story, is now one of the top ten most-viewed TED Talks of all time with over five million views.

(This special event, scheduled for midday, will take place directly across the street at the John and Frances Angelos Law Center.)

Admission is FREE, but advance registration through Eventbrite is recommended. All tickets are General Admission... First Come, First Served:

All general admission tickets were reserved very quickly for this event. (Including extra seats in the auditorium at the University of Baltimore's Business Center, where a live-feed will be telecast.) HOWEVER, we have also started a wait list, should any seats become available.

Register Here for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The CityLit Festival's full day of other FREE sessions include:

Writers Resist: A condensed version of the standing room only Writers Resist Baltimore: Voices United held on January 15th to mark a moment in history when writers from around the world united to speak as one voice to “re-inaugurate” a commitment to the fundamental principles of democracy and free expression. Bowie State University joins CityLit in a visual presentation of Our Future Is Us.

Raising Our Voices: Womanist & Feminist Writers Speak: A powerful reading and panel discussion featuring gifted women writers who address issues of cultural identity, healing and self-love. Their efforts to empower young women and girls in their communities show up in innovative ways.

Writing From the Mountaintops: Two authors writing from different sides of the West Virginia mountains, exploring the complexities of Appalachian life, and the struggle of one embedded observer living between two worlds. Under a state of siege from economic, anti-intellectual, and anti-environmental forces, hear from two writers who give every reason to love it, whether born into this rural culture, or not.

Writer as Activist: Four writers representing FORCE, Broken English, New Day Campaign and re-entry, read their works and discuss their lives as activists, how writing became a necessary tool to gain ground and encouragement to confront the unspeakable. The power of words to transform lives and to create new kinds of freedom is a thread deeply woven in the threads of their lives.

Prostitute Laundry: The Landscape of Women’s Personal Writing: retired sex worker and memoirist Charlotte Shane, whose work has been likened to Charles Dickens and called “addictive (and) intimate” by Vice engages in a conversation about the mutable landscape of women’s personal writing.

Editing 101: Tips & Tricks to Edit Your Work: It remains a universal truth that a writer in possession of a manuscript must be in want of an editor. Four working editors demystify the various types of editing – copy editing, line editing, developmental editing, critique – and offer advice to help you improve your craft and catch some of your own mistakes before you hire a professional.

Dangerous Places: How Setting Becomes a Character in Fiction: Three very different books from three accomplished authors. Danger reigns in an invented town with African-American residents, a fictionalized, magical realist Jim Crow South and an underwater experience that is once gripping and confining.

Legends & Lore: Building a Paranormal / Urban Fantasy World: History is rich with opportunity: the author’s playground becomes a reader’s delight. A richly diverse panel on using myth, magic, and other supernatural elements into world building.

Ain’t I A Woman, Too? A transfeminine poet, a trans choreographer and author, clinical psychologist, and the executive director of Baltimore Transgender Alliance, four acclaimed panelists, celebrate transgender women’s literature, address mental health counseling, and their distinct, but interrelated roles in countering institutional and ideologically bias against trans women.

The Browns: A Family of Scribes: Novelists John Gregory and Carrie Brown share the stage with their daughter poet Molly McCully Brown, whose poetry collection debuts this month. An intimate look at a household of writers, books, and family, and the personal trials of supporting the writing life.

Grants For Writers: NEA, MSAC and GBCA: Maryland is a leader in supporting individual artists. This information-packed session provides funding information and opportunities available to literary artists from three critical resources. Informed representatives are available to answer questions and provide valuable information meant to encourage you to engage, to prepare and to apply.

Writing From Your Roots: The Cultural Connections of Poetry: This session focuses on the commonality across cultures as four poets discuss what influences their writing, and how they bridge race, culture, and their traditions with their poetry.

Coming of Age in the Other America: Two esteemed sociologists’ recent research reveals how inequality and poverty show that those born into low-income families, especially African-Americans, still have difficulty entering the middle class. Despite the overwhelming odds, some disadvantaged urban youth do achieve upward mobility. This work challenges long-held myths about inner-city youth.

Borderlands & Crossroads: Writing the Motherland: Editors and contributors read and discuss this unique collection of poetry and prose which explores the journeys and maternal landscapes in relation to country and transitions, touching on heritage, genealogy, emigration, war, exile, and alienation. “Mothers are the countries we come from,” writes novelist Rachel Cusk.

Writing Identity: Arab American Women’s Literary Voices: Three Arab American women authors discuss how and if literature plays a role in confronting anti-Arab sentiment. Many Arab Americans feel their identities and cultures are under attack, as there are many misrepresentations of the Arab American community, especially of women being circulated and perpetuated. How do intersectionality and identity inform the writing process and figure into completed work?

The day will also featured two special paid activities:

  • MASTER CLASS: Writing Our Stories: Diverse Narratives Across AmericaA 90-minute workshop taught by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and novelist Dinaw Mengestu looks at the way novelists, poets, essayists and journalists tell stories that go against the common grain. Participants will look at how landscape - in particular, cities - shape a community, and the roles writers play in expanding how communities are defined. $10. Registration required.
    Click Here for More Info

  • 30-Minute Manuscript Critique Sessions will be provided by revered writers/editors... Karen Houppert (Nonfiction and Memoir),Tim Wendel (Fiction and Nonfiction), Bret McCabe (Nonfiction, Memoir and Fiction) and Lalita Noronha (Poetry and Fiction.) $10. Registration required.
    Click Here for More Info

UB Barnes & Noble will be selling authors books.

UB Barnes & Noble Café will be open throughout the day.

For more information about this year's CityLit Festival, email

The annual Literary Marketplace will consist of exhibitors from across the region with magazines, books, information on literary programs and organizations. Click here for registration information.

CityLit always welcomes volunteers for this event. If interested, email:

Click here to download PDF

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