The CityLit Stage features writers and musicians from around the region all weekend long.

CityLit Stage

The CityLit Stage features authors from around the region reading from new books or participating in captivating panel discussions. The stage is presented by CityLit Project, Baltimore’s nonprofit literary arts center, celebrating ten years serving readers and writers across Maryland.


Friday, September 26


The Magic Book

With one snip of the scissors, a piece of paper can become a diary, a zine, or even a comic book. Learn how to fold, write, and decorate a magic book, and discover the joy of publishing!

 Jenny O'Grady is a writer and book artist. She is editor of a quarterly ekphrasis journal called The Light Ekphrastic, which pairs writers and visual artists from all over the world to create new works online. The Baker Artist Awards named Jenny a 2013 b-Grant winner for her book arts.

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Free Friday Feedback

Writers! Bring 2-3 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:

Christine Stewart is program director for arts in education, literary arts, and children’s events with the Maryland State Arts Council and director of Maryland’s Poetry Out Loud program. A former artist-in-residence with Creative Alliance in Baltimore, Chris has an MA and MFA in creative writing and poetry, is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and has been a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Lalita Noronha is a widely published poet and writer. She is the author of an award winning short story collection, “Where Monsoons Cry,” (Black Words Press.) and a chapbook of poetry, Her Line Phyllo-thin (Finishing Line Press). 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.

Holly Sneeringer teaches in the English Department at UMBC. She 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 first-year composition and creative nonfiction, and her areas of interest are autobiography, memoir, and the essay.

Amanda Fiore received her MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University in 2012. 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 in Baltimore.

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Literary Happy Hour

Join the CityLit family for cold beer and book talk celebrating the fabulous Baltimore Book Festival. Beer courtesy of Union Brewing Company.  

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Smile, Hon, You’re In Baltimore

Join a rambunctious cast of writers from 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.

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Saturday, September 27


Small Court Press: The Role of Small Journals and Presses in the Career of the Fiction Writer

The panel delves into such questions as: What is the process for selecting which journals, magazines, and periodicals to submit work to? What kinds of aesthetics are encountered in small journals? How have smaller journals helped connect a single writer with larger communities of writers?

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 Line 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.

Rafael Alvarez learned to write on the City Desk of the Baltimore Sun and practiced the craft while laboring on ships with the Seafarers International Union. His waterfront experiences were used extensively in the second season of HBO's The Wire, during which he served as staff writer. The author of eight books, Alvarez released a new anthology of stories in 2014 called Tales From the Holy Land. Baltimore magazine recently named him Baltimore's best writer.

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Thaisa Jones

Thaisa Jones from Thaisawrites.com and StatsandStilletos.com joins the Baltimore Book Festival.

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Maya K. Francis

Maya K. Francis, columnist: Philadelphia Magazine & VerySmartBrothas.com will participate in a discussion.

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Essays, Collected: How to Craft a Dynamic Anthology

From brainstorming a concept to revising essays, the editor and writers behind the award-winning Bet on Black discuss the creative and logistical process of creating an anthology.


Kenrya Rankin Naasel is an award-winning author and editorial consultant whose insight has been tapped by leading outlets, including The New York Times, Huffington Post and ThinkProgress. She has published three books, most recently Bet on Black: African-American Women Celebrate Fatherhood in the Age of Barack Obama.


Maya K. Francis is senior writer for VerySmartBrothas.com and a weekly columnist for Philadelphia Magazine's "The Philly Post." Her work has been featured in digital publications including xoJane.com, Esquire.com, and Ebony.com, and landed her on broadcasts such as CNN's Piers Morgan Live and Huffington Post Live.

Thaisa Jones is a communications professional with more than 15 years of experience in public relations, marketing, and journalism. She spends most of her days managing her website ThaisaWrites.com and the brand Stats & Stilettos, an entity she created to bridge the gap between men and women in the world of sports.

Yanick Rice Lamb an award-winning journalist, author and educator at Howard University, where she is an associate professor and interim assistant chair of the new Department of Media, Journalism and Film. She is co-author of Born to Win: the Authorized Biography of Althea Gibson and Rise & Fly. Her forthcoming novel is Nursing Wounds.

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Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Join Baltimore Review editors Barbara Westwood Diehl, Kathleen Hellen, Ann Kolakowski, Holly Morse-Ellington, Seth Sawyers, and Holly Sneeringer as they discuss how the most familiar places, ordinary objects, everyday events, and Average Joes can become extraordinary through the lens of the creative writer. Be inspired to write your own ordinary life into extraordinary poems and stories.

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Geo-Poe: A Literary Geo-Caching Adventure

Join Dean Bartoli Smith and Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson—contributors to CityLit’s Geo-Poe project—as they read their short short stories and help describe the Edgar Alan Poe-themed literary geo-caching “hide-and-seek” adventure in Baltimore throughout October (part of Free Fall Baltimore).

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Steve Boone

Steve Boone will present his book, Hotter Than A Match Head: My Life on the Run with The Lovin' Spoonful.

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Hotter Than A Match Head

Musician and Lovin’ Spoonful co-founder Steve Boone speaks with writer Rafael Alvarez about his new memoir, Hotter Than A Match Head: My Life on the Run with The Lovin’ Spoonful. Part of the story runs through Baltimore durinmg the 1970s, when Steve maintained a floating barge-recording studio moored where the Hard Rock Café stands today. There, Steve recorded the likes of Little Feat, Bonnie Rait, and Robert Palmer.

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Steve Almond

Steve Almond will be presenting his book, Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto.

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Dean Bartoli Smith

Dean Bartoli Smith will present his book, Never Easy, Never Pretty: A Fan, A City, A Championship Season.

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Are We Really Ready for Some Football?: A Critical Look by Serious Fans

Join authors Steve Almond (Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto) and Dean Bartoli Smith (Never Easy, Never Pretty: A Fan, A City, A Championship Season) for a frank and heated conversation about the state of America’s favorite sport. Moderated by Stan “The Fan” Charles, founder and publisher of PressBox.

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Sunday, September 28


Clare Banks

Clare Banks will present her book, Associate Editor, Smartish Pace.

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Sally Rosen Kindred

Sally Rosen Kindred will present her book, Book of Asters.

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Sid Gold

Sid Gold will be presenting Good with Oranges, The Year of The Dog Throwers, Working Vocabulary.

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Leslie Harrison

Leslie Harrison will present her book, Displacement.

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Ailish Hopper

Ailish Hopper will present her book, Dark-Sky Society.

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MSAC Individual Artist Award Winners: Poetry

Presented by the Maryland State Arts Council, these winners of the annual Individual Artist Awards showcase some of the smartest, sharpest poetry being created in the state today. Hosted by Christine Stewart, program director for literary arts with the Maryland State Arts Council.

Ailish Hopper is author of Dark~Sky Society, and the chapbook, Bird in the Head. Work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and Tidal Basin Review, among others. She’s received support from the Maryland State Arts Council, MacDowell colony, and Yaddo, and teaches at Goucher College.

Sally Rosen Kindred’s poetry books from Mayapple Press are No Eden (2011) and Book of Asters (2014). Her most recent chapbook is Darling Hands, Darling Tongue. She has received two fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her poems have appeared in Quarterly West, Linebreak, and Verse Daily.

Leslie Harrison is the author of the poetry collection Displacement, published by Mariner Books. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Republic, West Branch, Orion, FIELD, Gulf Coast, and The Kenyon Review. She teaches creative writing and literature at Towson University and lives in Baltimore.

Katy Richey’s work has appeared in Rattle, Gargoyle Magazine and Full Moon on K Street: Poems about Washington D.C. She is a Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow. She hosts the Sunday Kind of Love reading series open mic at Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C. and teaches high school ESL and Theater in Maryland.

Sid Gold has written two collections of poetry, Working Vocabulary and The Year of the Dog Throwers, and a third, Good with Oranges, is forthcoming. He is a two-time recipient of a MSAC Individual Artist Award for Poetry and currently has poems in Poet Lore, Loch Raven Review, and Free State Review.

Rebekah Remington’s poetry has appeared in Agni online, Blackbird, The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, Hayden Ferry’s Review, Rattle, Smartish Pace and elsewhere. Her chapbook Asphalt (CityLit 2013) was selected by Marie Howe for the Clarinda Harriss Poetry Award. A recipient of three Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards, Remington currently lives in Catonsville with her husband and two sons.

Clare Banks is associate editor for Smartish Pace. Her poems have appeared in the Santa Clara Review, BODY, and The Louisville Review, among others. She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland and lives in Baltimore City with her family.

Katherine McCord’s poetry has been published in such journals as American Poetry Review.  Her memoir, her third book, My CIA, was named a top-ten book of 2012 by the Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy, and Humanities and added to its ongoing list of Great Nonfiction Reads. This is her second MSAC Individual Artist Award.

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John Thomas Everett

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From Here: New Fiction

Jason Tinney, Ripple Meets the Deep. Tinney is an award-winning fiction writer, musician, freelance journalist, and actor. His previous books are Louise Paris and Other Waltzes and Bluebird. Three of his short stories were published in the anthology Out of Tune. Tinney and artist Brian Slagle have collaborated on The Swinging Bridge, a traveling literary and visual arts project, since 2004. He performs with, and is the co-founder of, the award-winning music groups Donegal X-Press and The Wayfarers.

James Magruder, Let Me See It. Magruder is a fiction writer, playwright, and translator. After fifteen years in show business as a playwright and dramaturg, he turned to fiction in 2002. His stories have appeared in New England Review, The Normal School, The Gettysburg Review, and Bloom, among others. His debut novel, Sugarless, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist and was shortlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelists Award and the 2010 William Saroyan International Writing Prize.

Dan Fesperman, Unmanned. Fesperman's travels as a writer have taken him to 30 countries and three war zones, but it was his introductory trip to the besieged city of Sarajevo in January 1994 that inspired his first novel, Lie in the Dark. Memories of his three years in Germany eventually helped inspire The Arms Maker of Berlin, and his occasional travels to the Middle East deeply influenced The Amateur Spy. Unmanned is his ninth novel.

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Nitin Jagdish

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Eric D. Goodman

Eric D. Goodman will present his book, Tracks: A Novel in Stories.

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Tom Glenn

Tom Glenn will be presenting his book, No-Accounts.

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Lit & Art

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. Emceed by Aaron Henkin of WYPR’s “The Signal,” which takes listeners on a weekly tour of Baltimore’s cultural landscape. Readers include:

Tom Glenn has worked as an intelligence operative, a musician, a linguist (seven languages), a cryptologist, a government executive, a care-giver for the dying, a leadership coach, and, always, a writer. Apprentice House of Baltimore published his most recent novel, No-Accounts, this year.

Eric D. Goodman is the author of Tracks: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books) set on a train from Baltimore to Chicago. He lives in Baltimore and writes about trains, wombs, and exotic animals gone wild.

Nitin Jagdish’s job is to put words into sentences and paragraphs that form all types of government documents. Sometimes, his employer uses those words. When he is not working for his employer, he puts words into sentences and paragraphs that form stories, essays, and (very rarely) poems. Sometimes, publishers use those words.

Holly Morse-Ellington's prose appears in Three Quarter Review, Outside In Magazine, Baltimore Fishbowl, and elsewhere. She is a fiction editor for The Baltimore Review and a consultant writer for Federal grant review panels.

Nathan Leslie has published seven books of short fiction, a novel, and a collection of poems; his latest collection of short stories is Sibs (Aqueous Books). He is currently co-editing an a fiction anthology for Texture Press.

Liz Moser writes poetry, fiction, essays, and memoirs. She received an F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference fiction award and The Potomac Review’s poetry prize, and her poems have appeared in national and regional journals and magazines. She was an editor of The Baltimore Review from 2003 to 2011.

Manzar was born in Tehran, Iran. Her work has been exhibited around the world. Find her permanent collection at the Watermark Gallery.  

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Geo-Poe: A Literary Geo-Caching Adventure

Join Aaron Henkin and Rahne Alexander—contributors to CityLit’s Geo-Poe project—as they read their short short stories and help describe the Edgar Alan Poe-themed literary geo-caching “hide-and-seek” adventure in Baltimore throughout October (part of Free Fall Baltimore).

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Rachel Donaldson

Rachel Donaldson will present her book, Roots of The Revival: Folk Music in the United States and Great Britain in the 1950s.

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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:

Philip Mackowiak is Professor of Medicine and the Carolyn Frenkil and Selvin Passen History of Medicine Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. For almost two decades, he has hosted a series of Historical Clinicopathological Conferences that gave rise to his second book, Post Mortem: Solving History’s Great Medical Mysteries. In 2013, Oxford University Press published a sequel to Post Mortem, entitled Diagnosing Giants: Solving the Medical Mysteries of Thirteen Patients Who Changed the World.

Troubled human-ness is at the core of Arthur Magida’s work—a homicidal rabbi in New Jersey (in The Rabbi and The Hit Man), an angry black man in Chicago (in Prophet of Rage), an ambitious clairvoyant in the early years of the Nazi regime (in The Nazi Séance)—that illuminates the chaos at the center of life, a chaos that we ignore at our peril. He teaches at the University of Baltimore, where he is writer in residence at the Klein Family School of Communications Design.

In “I Hear America Singing": Folk Music and National Identity Rachel Donaldson traces the vibrant history of the twentieth-century folk music revival from its origins in the 1930s through its end in the late 1960s. She investigates the relationship between the revival and concepts of nationalism, showing how key figures in the revival—including Pete Seeger , Alan Lomax, Moses Asch, and Ralph Ringlet—used songs to influence the ways in which Americans understood the values, the culture, and the people of their own nation.

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View Full Bookfest Schedule

Special Events


Sept 26-28, 2014
Fri & Sat: Noon - 8pm
Sun: Noon - 6pm


Baltimore Inner Harbor

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