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Spring Writes Literary Festival







The 8th Annual Spring Writes Literary Festival (it was May 4-7) featured over 35 literary themed events (panels, performances, workshops, fun stuff, readings) that took place over 4 days in 10 downtown Ithaca locations!

Come backin 2018 for another amazing event. (Probably May 2-6, 2018, but the dates are not yet confirmed!)  I'll keep the 2017 event list below so you can see how cool the festival is!  

The Festival is a program of the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County. Please peruse our website (you're on it!) for our other events, programs, and grants!  Thank you to our 2017 Sponsor, Wegmans! This event is also supported by New York State Council on the Arts and the Tompkins County Tourism Program. 
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$5 Button is Your Ticket to the Entire Festival!** 

You can buy your button at all of the events, or ahead of time at
the Downtown Ithaca Visitor Center or Buffalo Street Books.  
Thanks you Alice Muhlback (aka Spirit and Kitsch) for the artwork!   
**Two events at Lot 10 have $5 cover


Watch the 1-minute Spring Writes Promo - "Hamster Ball"! 

The 7 - minute version of this film will be linked to this site soon.  In this short silent film by Little Whale Productions, Tom leads a dreary, 3-book existence. But when a mysterious couple invites him to a lively party full of books and people reading, he finally finds love and a new lease on life. For the full 7 minute film, visit 

Full Program Download - click here (print in landscape format)

List of all events, plus location information.
A special thanks to all our advertiser supporters! 

Throughout the Weekend

Storm Country: Immersive Walking Headphone Play. To celebrate Spring Writes, The Cherry Arts offers a special discount on Storm Country, their celebrated "immersive walking headphone play” (which involves a walk of about one mile starting on the Cayuga west end inlet. The play runs seventy minutes, punctuated with several stops to sit.) Called "beautiful" and "haunting" by the Ithaca Journal, Storm Country is based on the iconic 1909 novel of Ithaca, Tess of the Storm Country. Layering voice, ambient sound, and movement, the play interweaves dramatized episodes from the novel with meditations on Ithaca’s railway history, its bygone businesses, its unusual houses, and the power of water to transform and to be transformed. See for tickets and details.



Day 1, Thursday, May 4

5:00 - 6:30pm
Buffalo Street Books
Reading: Finger Lakes Anthology Writers

Cayuga Lake Books showcases its two recent Finger Lakes Anthologies with contributors Peter Fortunato, Stephen Poleskie, Mary Gilliland, Alex Chertok, Jack Hopper, Jeanne Mackin and Laura Glenn reading poetry and prose - from the collections as well as from other writing. The prose and poetry anthologies will be there for signatures and sale, as well as recently published works by Alison Lurie and Peter Fortunato. * See writer bios at end. 

Doors open 6:45, storytelling 7:15 - 9:00pm
Lot 10, 2nd floor ($5 cover at the Door)
Storytelling Competition: Presents “She Blinded Me With Science”

Trampoline Presents is Ithaca's premiere competitive storytelling event hosted by the Mighty Mickie Quinn and featuring personal stories by YOU. This month, storytellers will take inspiration from “She Blinded Me With Science“ and tell a 5-minute story about experiments gone wrong, alien encounters, love potions and more. Storytellers will be scored by judges in the audience. Show up. Sign up. Tell your story!


Day 2, Friday, May 5

4:00 - 5:30pm
Tompkins County Public Library
Poetry Open Mic
This event, a program of the Library, is in celebration of poetry and is open to all poets.  Registration to read begins at 3:30.  For more information about this event contact Teresa Vadakin at

4:00 - 5:00pm
Buffalo Street Books
Reading: J. Robert Lennon
Local author and Cornell professor J. Robert Lennon kicks off his 2017 book tour with a reading from his new novel, Broken River, a psychological thriller set in central New York.  “Compelling from the first page, and then smart, sophisticated, suspenseful and satisfying throughout…a first class ride.” – author Lee Child.

5:30 - 6:30pm
The History Center
Presentation and Q&A: Cornell Race and Empathy Project
Corinna Loeckenhoff and her Cornell colleagues Tony Burrow and Francois Guimbretiere created the Cornell Race and Empathy Project to record, archive, and share the everyday stories of Cornellians that evoke racial empathy. The project (which is part of the Cornell Council for the Arts 2016/17 Biennial Exhibit) involves a listening/recording booth travelling to several locations across campus and an online interface. Visitors are invited to respond to a recorded story or record their own. The three contributors will discuss the project and hold a Q&A session. At the History Center, where this presentation takes place, a small-scale model of the listening booth and an online version of the interface will be on display on Saturday from 10am to 2pm.   

6:00 - 8:00pmBob Proehl
The Range
Genre Savvy, a new Reading and Performance Series!
presents Science Fiction. Hosted by Bob Proehl

featuring fiction by Melanie Conroy-Goldman, poetry by Gina Keicher, fiction by Kaylie Crawford, non-fiction by Philip Sandifer, comedy by Steve Burke & His Talented Minions, music by Black Ops, and The Cherry Arts with an excerpt from the new play What Happens Next by Saviana Stanescu, read by Jennifer Herzog and Erica Steinhagen.  (Image: Bob Proehl

Day 3, Saturday, May 6

10:00 – 2:00pm
The History Center

The Cornell Race and Empathy Project (see above - Friday's schedule at 5:30 for information) A small-scale model of the listening booth and an online version of the interface will be on display at the History Center until 2:00pm

11:00 - 12:15pm
Buffalo Street Books
Reading: What Enters the Mouth and How to Play House 

Dr. Heather Dorn and Dr. Sarah Jefferis will read from their new poetry collections. Heather Dorn is the founder of Sappho’s Circle: A Women’s Writing Workshop for local women poets in Binghamton NY. Her work can be found in Requited, Ragazine, the Kentucky Review, the Paterson Literary Review, and other similar journals. Her first book of poetry, How to Play House, is forthcoming from NeuroQueer Books, an imprint of Autonomous Press, in September. Local author Sarah Jefferis will read from What Enters the Mouth, poems about surviving trauma and poverty in the South. "Fearless poems- a reckoning of the violences of girlhood rendered with grit and clarity." - Ansel Elkins. (Image: Sarah Jefferis)

11:00 - 12:00pm
Research Secrets: How to Write What You Don't Know 

We’ve all heard the adage, “Write what you know.” The theme of this talk by Casey Martinson is “write what you can find out!” We will discuss the wide variety of ways that you can improve the authenticity of your writing through research, including how to identify and interview primary sources. We'll discuss other sources of information as well, including books, periodicals, podcasts, videos, internet forums, maps, practical experience, social and professional networks, and more. Casey is a graduate of Oberlin College and of the Stonecoast MFA program for creative writing at the University of Southern Maine. He served as Fiction Editor for the Stonecoast Review from three semesters, and has published essays and short fiction online. 

11:00 - 12:15pm
Workshop: Translating Is Writing Is Translating
For this introductory workshop with Dan Rosenberg, no expertise in another language is required, but a playful attitude toward English is. Together, we will explore the blurry boundaries between writing and translating, and we will do our best to blur them further. Through a series of irreverent exercises, we will uncover some of the central problems of translating poems. How faithful must we be, and what does “faithful” mean anyway? Is Frost right when he says that poetry is what’s lost in translation, or can translation actually find poetry where there was none before? What is a translator’s job, if we take for granted that a poem in one language cannot exist as itself in another? Once we’re thoroughly confused, we will shift gears and use the tools of translation to create our own work, which is and is not what a translator does. And we will savor the pleasures of translation’s paradoxes on the way. Dan is the author of cadabra and The Crushing Organ, and he co-translated Miklavz Komelj’s Hippodrome. An Assistant Professor of English at Wells College, he teaches literature, creative writing, and translation theory.  

11:30 - 12:30pm
Film & Discussion: "Once Upon An Eye: Telling Stories Without Words: and "The Hamster Ball"

Join us for a screening of the animated short film Once Upon an Eye, co-created by Alice Muhlback aka Spirit and Kitsch and Pamela Tan, followed by a discussion with the filmmakers moderated by the film's producer Christopher Holmes on creativity, collaboration, process, and screenwriting for a film without dialogue. Pamela and Chris create films with Ithaca-based Little Whale Productions. Pamela Tan collaborated with Alice on a one minute animated short Dragon Scarf. Special Bonus!! You'll also get to see the 7 minute silent film The Hamster Ball by Little Whale Productions in which a character named Tom leads a dreary, 3-book existence. But when a mysterious couple invites him to a lively party full of books and people reading, he finally finds love and a new lease on life. (See above for 1 minute promo version.)

11:30 - 12:30pm
Tompkins County Public Library - Borg Warner Room
Performance: Stories from the Senior Theatre Troupe of Lifelong: Music and Memories
The Senior Troupe of Lifelong
(performing for more than 18 years!) presents “Living History Theatre” which centers on the theme of music and features stories from the troupe’s lives that are both humorous and serious. The players are the characters, the scenery and props. Directed and coordinated by Sue Perlgut, the troupe features Carolyn David, Connie Currier, Daniel Cooper, Emily Johnson, Paula Twomley, Carol Santucci, Michael Schaff, Deirdre Silverman, Mark Silverman, Jean Senegas, and Sandy Stein.

12:30 - 2:00pm
The Ink Shop Printmaking Center
Demonstration: Coptic Stitch Bookbinding

In this presentation by Rebecca Hahn, participants will have the opportunity to learn the basics of bookbinding; the anatomy of a book, how to choose the right tools and materials for your project, and where to find them. Rebecca will demonstrate how to create a book using the classic, versatile Coptic Stitch, a technique that allows the maker to create large, sturdy books that lie flat when open, making this stitch ideal for sketchbooks and notebooks. Participants will learn how to create their own mini book out of a single sheet of copy paper. Rebecca is a recent graduate of the NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University and is the 2016/17 Ink Shop Fellow.  

1:00 – 2:00pm
Buffalo Street Books
Reading: Rachel Dickinson and Leslie Daniels
Rachel Dickinson
has written for numerous publications including The Atlantic, Smithsonian, and Audubon. Her latest book The Notorious Reno Gant: the Wild Story of the West's First Brotherhood of Assassins, Thieves, and Train Robbers will be published May 1 by Lyons Press. Her first narrative nonfiction book, Falconer on the Edge (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), was published in 2009. Leslie Daniels’ first novel, Cleaning Nabokov’s House came out in 2011 and has been published in translation in Brazil, Russia, Poland, and Italy. The novel, now under option for film, fights the good fight of being both literary and funny. Daniels’ stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications. She is the former fiction editor of Green Mountains Review, teaches writing at the Spalding University MFA program and at the Squaw Valley Writers Conference.  

1:30 – 2:45pm
CAP Office
Workshop: The Short Fiction Market: The Art & Science of Targeted Writing & Publishing

Several thousand journals, both in print and on line, offer respectable venues for publication.  How should an aspiring author choose among them?  And what are the secrets to success in the publication game? In this session, Jacob M. Appel, an author who has garnered more than two hundred acceptance letters and 20,000 rejection slips offers his "tricks of the trade" on such subjects as market selection and submission, contests, cover letters, "best of" anthologies, red flags, how to build a portfolio that will appeal to agents, how to market a collection, and how to work with a small press. 

1:30 to 2:30pm
Tompkins County Public Library Borg Warner Room
Performance: Wolf’s Mouth Theatre Company: Staged Readings of New Short Plays

Members playwrights of Wolf's Mouth were asked to write short plays with titles taken from, or based on, the titles of famous literary works, e.g., “War and Peas” (which, fortunately, is not one of the results).  Member actors, and friends, will perform them script-in-hand. Since 2006 the company has produced theater created, developed, and performed by Ithaca-area artists. Member actors also appear with other theater companies throughout the region. Member playwrights have had their work performed in states totaling 354 electoral votes.   

2:30 – 4:00pm
Buffalo Street Books
First Books After 40: A Panel Discussion & Reading 
The Saltonstall Foundation
hosts three of their Fellowship recipients for a reading and lively panel discussion on publishing their first books after 40. The New York Times poetry columnist David Orr will serve as moderator. Syracuse poet Jessica Cuello is the author of Pricking (Tiger Bark Press, 2016) and Hunt, winner of The 2016 Washington Prize from The Word Works. Jessica is also the author of the chapbooks My Father’s Bargain (2015), By Fire (2013), and Curie (2011). Lisa Harris, who recently returned to the Finger Lakes, is a poet and novelist. Her two novels, Geechee Girls and Allegheny Dream were published by Ravenna Press. Her third novel in this trilogy, The Raven’s Tale, is forthcoming this spring.  Poet Michael Morse lives in Brooklyn. His first book, Void and Compensation (Canarium Books, 2015) was a finalist for the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Prize. He has published poems in various journals and in the anthology, The Best American Poetry, 2012

3:00 – 4:00pm
Hive 45, 45 E. Main Street, Trumansburg
The First Time: Selected Readings by Trumansburg Writers

Beer, wine, cupcakes will be available during this gathering at Hive 45 in Trumansburg. Local creative writers Kate Frazer, David Wren, Laura Reid, and Amelia Sauter will read personal essays on the theme The First Time. * See writer bios at end. 

3:00 – 4:00pm
Tompkins County Public Library Borg Warner Room
Panel: Writing Across the World: Translators and the Translated

Three translators discuss the challenges translations pose as well as how they navigate the many cultures and languages. Kerri Pierce is a translator and writer living in Rochester, NY. She has published translations in a variety of genres from eight languages into English, and her short translations have appeared in The New Yorker and World Literature Today.
K. E. Semmel, a 2016 NEA translation fellow, is a writer and translator. Among other things, he has published 11 books in translation. He is now the Executive Director of Writers & Books in Rochester, NY. Kaija Straumanis is a translator and Editorial Director at Open Letter Books in Rochester, NY. Her translations include High Tide by Inga Ābele and Flesh-Coloured Dominoes by Zigmunds Skujiņš. (Image: K.E. Semmel)

3:00 – 4:30pm
The Ink Shop Printmaking Center
Demonstration: Letterpress Printing
Marcie Farwell
 will share some of the printmaking techniques she uses in her own work using traditional pilot and poster presses and the Ink Shop's collection of line blocks, dingbats and metal and wood type. Marcie immersed herself in letterpress through a class at The Arm in Brooklyn and an apprenticeship with Jim Tyler at the Risley Letterpress Studio at Cornell. Marcie sits on the board at the Wells Book Arts Center and is currently curating an exhibit of artists' books at the Cornell Library Rare and Manuscript Collection where she works as an archivist.

4:30 – 5:30 pm
Buffalo Street Books
Reading: Lanre Akinsiku & Renia White

Renia White earned her MFA in poetry from Cornell University where she is now a lecturer. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The New Guard, Stone Canoe, The Offing, Prelude, Sonora Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Slice, and elsewhere. In 2016, she won Sonora Review's poetry contest and, in 2015, a Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award.  Lanre Akinsiku's fiction and non-fiction have appeared in NPR, The Kenyon Review and Gawker. In 2016, the New York Public Library named his debut Young Adult Novel, Blacktop V.1, one of the best books of 2016. He's currently a lecturer at Cornell University. 

Doors open at 6:30, show at 7:00 - 9:00pm
Lot 10, 2nd floor - ($5 cover at the door)
Cosmic Joke Collective: “Hope Springs Eternal”

The Cosmic Joke Collective presents “Hope Springs Eternal” featuring music and poetry from Mary Lorson, A LilySilly Puppet Show written by Bob Proehl, and musical sets by Angie Beeler, Ken Hallet, and more! The Cosmic Joke Collective is a monthly curated performing arts salon that encourages artists to experiment, collaborate, and let the audience inside the artistic process. Hosted by the Mighty Mickie Quinn

Day 4, Sunday, May 7

11:00 – 12:00pm
CSMA Main Floor
"Sunlight Under My Bed" - Poetry and Prose 
Lehman Alternative School juniors and seniors will share their poetry and prose exploring identity, relationships and self. The work is not appropriate for children or curmudgeonly adults. The writers include Bailey Lyons, Tahjay Louis, Julia DePaolo, Indie Stratton, Jeremiah Sokol and Clio Hamilton. LACS is a public middle and high school located on West Hill. It has been part of the Ithaca scene since the mid-70s. Personal expression through writing, art, activism and more is a fundamental part of LACS pedagogy. 

11:00 – 12:15pm
CSMA Lower Level
Panel: No Fight, No Fun: Four Writers Argue about Creating Conflict in Fiction

“Say what you want about it,” Charles Baxter writes, “Hell is story-friendly. Paradise is not a story.” We can agree that a good short story or novel depends on some kind of Hell: some tragedy, challenge, or obstacle a character must face. But how do we create that conflict, and how do we do it well? How much is too much? What kinds of conflicts engage readers? How does conflict reveal character? And how do we sustain narrative tension over dozens or hundreds of pages? Moderator Eleanor Henderson, and writers Leslie Daniels, Rhian Ellis, Jack Wang, and Shawn Goodman battle their way to some answers. * See writer bios at end. 

11:00 – 12:15pm
History Center
Panel: World Building: If You Build It, They Will Come

A panel discussion by genre fiction writers Doreen Alsen, E.C. Barrett, Cara DiGirolamo, Jackie Swift and Gigi Vernon on the ins and outs of world building. Come learn how these authors create rich, believable worlds in a variety of genres including science fiction, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and more.  * See writer bios at end.  

12:00 – 1:15pm
CAP ArtSpace
Intimate Communities: Starting and Sustaining a Writing Group That Works

Writing groups can be an essential part of the writing life, a supportive mini-community to help you develop your writing projects and goals. They can also be challenging to create and sustain. Authors Kathy Henion, Angie Pelekidis, Aimee Lehman, Bob Proehl and Gigi Verson share their experiences forming and/or participating in writing groups, including how these groups were essential in drafting, revising, and/or publishing their work. They will also discuss how to find or create a group and provide practical strategies for organizing, dividing time wisely, and critiquing fairly. * See writer bios at end. 

12:00 – 1:15pm
Buffalo Street Books
Reading: Cheap Whatever

"It's all I have to bring today—/This, and my heart beside—" writes Emily Dickinson. Poetry and prose have the power to point out how things that cost nothing can mean everything while the rich of the world are often quite poor. And sometimes a toss-off dare between friends turns into inspiration, as this one has; four local writers approach an odd writing prompt, spinning four different tales out of two little words: "Cheap Whatever." featuring fiction, poetry, and personal narrative from Brenna Fitzgerald, Kate Klein, Casey Martinson and Jason Warshof.  * See writer bios at end.  (Image: Kate Klein)

CSMA Main Floor
Story As Medicine: Using Stories for Healing

Traditional folk and fairy tales contain universal themes of identity, transformation, suffering and wisdom. Using a combination of storytelling, reflective writing, deep listening and discussion we learn how to use a traditional story to inspire an original piece. A resource book of traditional stories is available. Regi Carpenter is an internationally known award winning storyteller, author and workshop facilitator.  She has performed and taught throughout the world. Her memoir Where There's Smoke, There's Dinner: stories of a seared childhood was published in 2016.  

1:00 – 2:00pm
History Center

Chicken Feathers: stories and poems by Zee Zahava
Zee Zahava is the 2017 Tompkins County Poet Laureate. She has been leading writing circles in her downtown Ithaca studio since 1994.  A collection of her poetry, here i am, was recently published by Wildflower Poetry Press. 


1:00 – 2:30pm
CSMA Lower Level 
Performance: “Moving Words,” Spoken Word and Movement

Three artists present short performances using spoken word and movement. In "Dichotomy", Rik Daniels shares the nature and roots of ‘characteristics' of his personality that mask and conceal his true self. Through deconstructing longing, loss and desire Lindsay Gilmour's work explores how the body, voice and emotions combust and collide in harmony and disharmony both honoring and poking fun at the deep emotions we express through art. From NYC to Tompkins Co., Jim Self  draws on being "40 Years a New Yorker.” Using short episodic vignettes, Self, a multi-media artist including dance, performance, painting and photography, shares and reflects on what it meant, how it now occurs, and what it could be for an Alabama born man living in the Empire State.  “Moving Words,” is made possible in part by the New York State Dance Force, a NYSCA Partner. (Images: Rik Daniels, left; Linsday Gilmour, right)

1:45 – 3:15pm
Buffalo Street Books 
Readings: Works in Progress: Six Writers

Jennifer Savran Kelly, Melanie Conroy-Goldman, Adam Berenstain, Bob Proehl, Jose Perez Beduya and Emily Hopkins. * See writer bios at end.  (Image: Jennifer Savran Kelly) 


2:00 – 3:00pm
CSMA Main Floor
Reading: Works in Progress: Three Writers

Alicia Rebecca Myers, Caroline Marring, and EA Cunningham. *See writer bios at end.  

2:30 – 3:45pm
History Center
NY Votes for Women: A Suffrage Centennial Anthology
2017 marks the 100-year anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in New York State. The Writer's Block Party, an informal group of novice and experienced writers, is publishing NY Votes for Women:  A Suffrage Centennial Anthology.  These short works of prose and poetry offer experiences of women all over New York State - women who experienced the suffrage movement 100 years ago, women at other points in time that were shaped by that event, and women exploring implications for our future.  Join us for a sneak peek into the Anthology, due out later this year.  Contributors Rachel Dickinson, Stacey Murphy, Nora Snyder, Erica S. Brath, Liz Thompson, Jennifer Cremerius and Barbara Mink will share their pieces on what “herstory” means to them in our world now. *See writer bios below.

3:00 – 4:15pm
CSMA Lower Level
Panel: VIDA: Women and Writers of Color in Literary Arts

The United States publishing industry has historically underrepresented the voices, stories, and literature of women and people of color, both on and behind the page. VIDA is a "non-profit feminist organization committed to creating transparency around the lack of gender parity in the literary landscape and to amplifying historically-marginalized voices, including people of color; writers with disabilities; and queer, trans and gender nonconforming individuals." The intersectional VIDA tally both "highlights imbalances" in the representation of and "provides a platform" for the amplification of these voices and works. This panel of local authors Melanie Greaver Cordova, Jaime Warburton, Alexandra Chang and Christine Kitano will explore VIDA's purposes and goals, along with its efficacy, and bring in personal experience with diversity in the worlds or writing, publishing, editing, and marketing. * See writer bios at end (Image: Melanie Greaver Cordova)

3:30 – 4:30pm
Buffalo Street Books
Readings: Ithaca City of Asylum Writers

Ithaca City of Asylum supports writers from abroad and provides a residency for a writer who due to politics is unable to remain at home. We are a literary-minded group, we ourselves are writers, and we have fun. Katherine Lucas Anderson, Edward Hower, Brenna Fitzgerald, David Guaspari, and Gail Lillian Holst-Warhaft. * See writer bios at end.  

3:30 – 4:30pm
CSMA Main Floor
Readings: Stone Canoe Journal
Stone Canoe, published by the YMCA’s Downtown Writers Center in Syracuse, is the only national journal focused on writers
and artists from Upstate New York. Contributors to the journal’s 11th issue will read, including Katharyn Howd Machan,
Fred Muratori, Bridget Meeds
, Ian Brown, Ann Sutera Botash, and Bob Colley (host).  

5:00 – 6:00pm
Bar Argos

End with a Murder: Literary Murder Mystery Cocktail Party
written by local puppeteer, Scott Hitz

For the closing event of the festival, six famous detectives from literature come together to find who is the greatest among them, but one of them is not who they claim to be, and when a murder is committed it is up to you to discover who did it, in what room, and with what weapon. Welcome to Literary Clue: “Would You Kill for a Good Book? Come have a few drinks with your friends at Bar Argos, and while you are at it help solve a murder! You, alone or with a team of friends, take part in a live game of Clue. Live performances, clues left around the Inn, and special drinks all help to solve the mystery, and at the end of the night the correct answers are gathered and a winner is chosen. The prize? The immortality of having an Argos drink named after you or your team. Come for the game, or just to have a few drinks with friends and watch the chaos as it unfolds. No interaction with the characters will be needed, and you can solve the mystery all from the bar if you so desire. Literary Clue! It's an evening of so much fun you would have to be dead not to enjoy it!

*Writer Bios (That are not already listed in the descriptions above)

Katherine Lucas Anderson things poetry is all that. A finalist for more first-book prizes than she cares to count, her poems were most recently in Stone Canoe and Hotel Amerika.  

Doreen Alsen writes contemporary romantic comedy. Her seventh book, Worth A Thousand Words, came out in September, 2016.  

Jose Perez Beduya is the author of Throng, a book of poems. He lives in Ithaca. 

Adam Berenstain is a freelance writer and cartoonist who has lived in Ithaca since 1996.

E.C. Barrett writes weird and macabre speculative fiction. She teaches writing at the Community School of Music & Arts and is a freelance journalist. 

Erica S. Brath has written for publications including Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Weekly, and the Syracuse New Times, and is a contributor to the book Looking for Lockerbie. 

Alexandra Chang is a fiction MFA candidate at Syracuse University. Previously, she worked as a journalist. 

Alex Chertok completed his MFA degree at Cornell. He has work published or forthcomng in The Kenyon Review Online, the Missouri Review, and Best New Poets 2016. He currently teaches at Ithaca College and through the Cornell Prison Education Program.

Melanie Conroy-Goldman teaches fiction writing at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  Her work has appeared in Southern Review, on McSweeneys and elsewhere. Her novel, The Likely World, is represented by Bill Clegg. @mscongo

Jennifer Cremerius has a background in and passion for writing, editing, and journalism. She holds an MA in Writing and Publishing and BA in English.

EA Cunningham is a YA Fantasy novelist and author of several short stories. A graduate of Binghamton University, she currently lives in Ithaca, Her first self-published novel, The Quiet Dark, can be found on Amazon. 

Leslie Daniels first novel, Cleaning Nabokov’s House has been published in translation in Brazil, Russia, Poland, and Italy. It is under option for film.  

Rachel Dickinson has written for numerous publications including The Atlantic, Smithsonian, and Audubon.  

Rhian Ellis is a writing teacher and the author of the novel After LIfe

Cara DiGirolamo is a graduate student in linguistics, with a particular interest in how our world is shaped through language, and how writers use language to shape their worlds.

Brenna Fitzgerald holds an M.F.A in creative nonfiction writing. She has published work in Creative Nonfiction, Ars Medica, Signs of Life, EcoChronicle Sonora, and The Ithaca Times. She works as an editor and outreach coordinator for the Cornell Southeast Asia Program.

Peter Fortunato has just published Entering The Mountain, his fourth collection of poetry. Writer, painter, educator and performer, he is also a founder of Cayuga Lake Books and co-edited the landmark book, From the Finger Lakes:  A Poetry Anthology.  

Kate Frazer's journalistic work focuses on environmental and food issues and has appeared in Nature Conservancy magazine and “Hot Potato Press.” Her creative work focuses on built and natural environments as well as experiences growing up in Erie, PA.

Mary Gilliland’s poetry has appeared in AGNI, Hotel Amerika, Notre Dame Review, Poetry, Stand, Tampa Review, and The &NOW Awards: The Best Innovative Writing, and she has been a featured poet at the International Al Jazeera Film Festival in Doha. 

Melanie Greaver Cordova is the editor of the SFWP Quarterly, former editor-in-chief of Harpur Palate, and assistant editor of the Picayune. She has a Ph.D. in English from SUNY Binghamton and works at Cornell University. Twitter @mjcwrites. 

Laura Glenn is a visual artist and has published a book of poems, I Can’t Say I’m Lost, and a chapbook, When the Ice Melts.

David Guaspari claims to be, of all post‑19th century mathematical logicians, the funniest.  He has published technical mathematics, fiction, essays, and reviews, and has had plays produced throughout the country. 

Eleanor Henderson teaches in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College. Her second novel, “The Twelve-Mile Straight,” will be published in September.  

Kathryn Henion’s fiction has appeared in Saranac Review, Natural Bridge, & Green Mountains Review, among others. Currently she reads fiction and serves as a production editor for the online journal of art and literature Drunken Boat .

Emily Sanders Hopkins is a magazine writer, magazine editor, and cartoonist whose cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker magazine. She earned a master's in fiction writing from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. 

Jack Hopper served two terms as TC poet laureate and has three published books of poetry. He is a co-founder and editor of Cayuga Lake Books; previously he edited scholarly books for AMS Press in NYC.

Edward Hower, author of eleven books, has worked with refugees in Uganda and in Ithaca.  He has been awarded an NEA fellowship and two Fulbright grants to India.  

Jennifer Savran Kelly has written for film and print, and her fiction has appeared in Green Mountain Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts (Online Companion), Souvenir and elsewhere. 

Christine Kitano is the author of the poetry collections Sky Country and Birds of Paradise. She is an assistant professor in the Writing and English departments at Ithaca College.  

Kate Klein wants to write one novel about each of the five senses. She's completed one, Eternal Girl, about a rebellious cook, and is revising the second. Kate works as a writer for Cornell and is active in the Ithaca theater community.

Aimée Lehmann is a local fiction writer who lives between Ithaca, NY and Berlin, Germany and has writing groups in both locations.  

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several novels including A Lady of Good Family and The Beautiful American from New American Library. She has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in j periodicals including American Letters and Commentar and SN Review, and received a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society. 

Caroline Manring's Manual for Extinction won the 2012 National Poetry Review Book Prize. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she lives and teaches in Ithaca.

Casey Martinson is a graduate of Oberlin College and of the Stonecoast MFA program for creative writing at the University of Southern Maine. He served as Fiction Editor for the Stonecoast Review from three semesters, and has published essays and short fiction online. 

Barbara Mink is an artist and writer, former Tompkins County Legislature Chair and founder of the Light in Winter Festival.  Her artwork is exhibited nationally. 

Stacey Murphy's poems appear in several online journals and in the print anthology Wild Voices.

Alicia Rebecca Myerswriting has recently appeared in Creative Nonfiction and Best New Poets 2015.  From Fall 2017-Spring 2019, she will be a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Wells College. 

Angie Pelekidis worked in public relations before receiving her Ph.D in Creative Writing from Binghamton University. Her dissertation won the Distinguished Dissertation Award and her work has appeared in The Michigan Quarterly ReviewConfrontation, The Masters Review, and other journals

Stephen Poleskie is an artist and writer. His artwork is in the collections of numerous museums including: The Metropolitan and the Modern in NYC and the Victoria and Albert in London. He has published five novels and fifty-nine short stories.

Bob Proehl is the author of the novel, A Hundred Thousand Worlds, was a 2012 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction and a 2013 resident at the Saltonstall Arts Colony. 

Laura Reid is a teacher, entrepreneur, writer (Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine and Montessori Life,) photographer and life coach. Laura is a multiple winner and one-time champion of Ithaca’s story-telling competition, Trampoline. 

Amelia Sauter is a humor columnist, cartoonist, and freelance food and drink writer who has written for Edible Finger Lakes magazine and other local publications. She has personal essays in two Seal Press anthologies and will also have a piece included in the forthcoming Janeland.  

Nora Snyder facilitates the writer support group, Writer’s Block Party, and writes for her website.     

Jackie Swift creates science fiction and fantasy worlds by harnessing poetic inspiration and science to blind leaps of faith via binary code. Also, she’s a freelance writer and editor.

Liz Thompson is a lawyer, consultant, motivational speaker and writer for Huffington Post and Mogul. She is the author of the soon to be published motivational book, Make Yourself Happy.

Gigi Vernon is an historical crime fiction author and a class of 2016 Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate. Her short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies. 

Jack Wang teaches at Ithaca College. His work has appeared in The Malahat Review and The New Quarterly, among other journals, and was shortlisted for the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 

Gail Lillian Holst-Warhaft is a poet and musicologist whose work focuses on Greece. She was poet laureate of Tompkins County for 2011 & 2012. Her most recent book is The Fall of Athens, a mixture of poetry and prose memoir.

Jason Warshof is a writer and editor specializing in the Middle East and the literature of the city. His essays and reviews have appeared in the Antioch ReviewBoston GlobeJerusalem Report, and elsewhere. 

David Wren has been a newspaper reporter and features writer focusing on history and art. His book, Ardrossan: The Last Great Estate on the Philadelphia Main Line, is due out this year from Bauer and Dean Publishers.

Jaime Warburton (MFA, Sarah Lawrence College) teaches in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College. Her poems and stories have appeared in publications such as Storyscape, The Southeastern Review, and Gargoyle Magazine.

Thank you to our 2017 Spring Writes Literary Festival sponsor! 

This event is also supported by