Like many great organizations, Literary Cleveland exists because a small group of people had “an idea, a passion and the need to fill a void.” Ohio is home to all variety of literary talent and curiosity, but until recently there has been no way for a lone Cleveland journalist, blogger, poet or songwriter to connect with other people who share an interest in their creative niche – or for an aspiring writer to seek out encouragement and connections with those who have tried, failed and succeeded before them.
I feel kind of lucky actually, because Literary Cleveland’s first official event, the Cleveland INKubator, took place the same month I officially began my freelance writing career. In August of 2015, when 300 enthusiastic participants filled all the seats at Cleveland Public Library during the full-day conference of writing workshops, author readings and craft talks for professional and aspiring writers, the future of Literary Cleveland officially took root.
And while their non-profit status might still be in its infancy, this group’s leadership, board members, instructors and guest speakers are anything but green. Lee Chilcote, poet, journalist and founding Director, came to Lit Cleveland from his post as Managing Editor of Freshwater Cleveland and has worked tirelessly to bring a full calendar of diverse workshops, events and opportunities geared toward stretching creative boundaries, developing new skills and elevating the literary arts.
For many writers, myself included, the personal relationships developed through Literary Cleveland are the most meaningful benefit of attending events and supporting the organization. Writing can be a lonely job. In fact, sometimes it has to be. But even for the most contented introvert, the boost in confidence and energy that comes from sharing space and ideas with your creative tribe can be life (and career) changing. From talented newbies and seasoned amateurs, to inspiring professionals – the connections I’ve made through Literary Cleveland have left me with more new friends and story ideas than I can keep up with. What a wonderful problem to have!
So thank you, Literary Cleveland, for a wonderful first year. I look forward to celebrating our unofficial, joint anniversary at the second annual Cleveland INKubator on July 30th at the Cleveland Public Library. To preview this year’s line up of speakers, sessions and workshops or to register as a guest or sponsor of the event, click here. For a full list of all Literary Cleveland’s upcoming, FREE and low-cost events, visit their website at www.litcleveland.org.