LOCATION

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

Sponsors - The Johns Hopkins University, MA in Writing, Advanced Academic Programs

University of Maryland, Baltimore County
An Honors University in Maryland


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CityLit Stage

CityLit Project
Insight180
Christen B
Jahiti of Brown FISH
Letitia VanSant
100 Thousand Poets for Change

Since 2004, CityLit Project (CLP) has worked to build and connect a community of avid readers and writers across Maryland through a wide range of programs, creating opportunities for diverse audiences to embrace the written word. CityLit nurtures the culture of literature, and creates enthusiasm for literary arts, making it as pronounced and celebrated as the performing and visual arts. Defined by two signature events, the CityLit Stage in partnership with the Baltimore Book Festival and the day-long CityLit Festival each spring, as well as the CityLit Press, all of which drives and extends CLP's mission. With the fall revival of the national Harriss Poetry Prize with final judge Erica Dawson and series editor Kwame Alexander, the Press is currently accepting submissions for a full-length poetry collection. CLP makes every effort to grow a larger, more informed and cohesive literary community. This year’s CityLit Stage pays homage to women writers in light of the 2017 VIDA Count which takes measure of the number of women getting published. A special nod to Asian Beach Reads, She Would Be King debut author Wayétu Moore, Danielle Evans, DaMaris Hill whose celebrated forthcoming work A Bound Woman is deemed “a reckoning” by Roxane Gay, and our global 100 Thousand Poets for Change celebration with renowned poets Patricia Smith, and local lit stars Gayle Danley, Kondwani Fidel, Dora Malech, among a host of others. CityLit Project thanks sponsors Insight180 Brand Consulting & Design, “where creative and strategic come together” - a woman-owned graphic design company in Ellicott City that withstood the storms of 2016 & 2018 - for keeping us in the light, and Johns Hopkins University.

Stage: Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, In front of the Maryland Science Center, 601 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230



Friday, September 28




12PM

Free Friday Feedback

This popular feature returns for a sixth straight year with editors from regional and online journals, and seasoned writers who will critique poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and scripts, and provide submission guidelines for their publications. Thirty-minute One-on-One conversations. Sign-up sheets available at the Festival opening. First come. First served. Five double-spaced pages. Only 16 30-minute slots available. Must register in advance at the Festival opening.

Laura Ballou, screenwriter, educator: scripts; Chelsea Lemon Fetzer, CityLit Project board member, writer: poetry, fiction, nonfiction; Lalita Noronha, fiction and poetry editor for Baltimore Review & CityLit Project board member: poetry, fiction, nonfiction http://baltimorereview.org/; Tyrese Coleman, writer, reviews editor for SmokeLong Quarterly, an online journal of flash fiction: fiction, nonfiction, flash fiction, experimental http://www.smokelong.com/

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5:30PM

True Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder

Three contributors of compact tales of intrigue will read and discuss their works, the genre, and what it takes to create mystery on the page. Hear ‘bite-sized crime stories' from some of the region’s most accomplished authors Danielle Evans, Rion Amlicar Scott and Erica Wright. “An intriguing take on crime/noir writing, this collection … investigates crimes both real and imagined. Despite their diminutive size, these tales promise to pack a punch.” ~ Chicago Tribune Expect stories that reveal unlikely allies who drag a woman from a leech-filled creek, but she's not who they expected, a whacked-out apartment dweller who discovers the pharmaceuticals that can set his world back on kilter, but does he have to take them by force? And about pirate librarians if you're an optimist, or about precariousness human connections in the face of racism and our looming dystopian future, if you're not.

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6:30PM

Featured Musical Guest Artist: DYYO Live!

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Saturday, September 29




12PM

New Releases with Marion Winik, author of The Baltimore Book of the Dead, as curator

Joining her on the stage are novelists Evan Balkan, Victoria Kennedy, Heather Huddleston, and memoirist Anthony Moll. Huddleston’s work has appeared in Forge Journal, on the TEDx and Listen to Your Mother stages. She’ll read from Mary Walks, a coming-of-age story about the mother of Jesus. Balkan’s Spitfire follows 11-year-old Caroline’s journey through a world that is rapidly changing around her in 1952 Baltimore, that daily tests her mettle and her will. Kennedy’s Zoë Browne is on top of the world, her own boss, and enjoys the security of a loving, supportive family. All that's missing is someone to save her from her happy but loveless life. Moll will read from Out of Step, a queer coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of masculinity and secrecy.

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1PM

Where are all the Asian Beach Reads?

This lively session curated by Aesthetic Distance’s Eliza Romero with Dr. Tamara Bhalla, Sunny J. Reed, Vanessa Ulrich, Chris Jesu Lee and Keith Chow who discuss the dearth of Asian American "beach reads." Why are there so few of them? Why is Asian-American literature so weighty and serious? The idea is to unravel through conversation the reason for the dearth of lighthearted, fun and fluffy reads in Asian American literature. Are the stories only appreciated if they’re tragic, weighty stories? According to Romero, beach reads are considered middlebrow literature but they shouldn't be dismissed. Middlebrow entertainment is the most important genre in creating a cultural baseline. It's why Asian beach reads are so necessary.

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2:30PM

Incarceration / A Bound Woman

Poet and scholar Dr. DaMaris Hill reads and discusses her new work, A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland, hailed “a reckoning” by writer, professor, editor and commentator Roxane Gay, as well as incarceration and restorative justice with writer/researcher Bilphena Yahwon, a prison abolitionist who does restorative justice and restorative practices work with Restorative Response Baltimore. Lisa Snowden McCray, former Baltimore Beats editor, is the moderator.

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3:30PM

She Would Be King: Wayétu Moore in conversation with Angela Carroll

Moore’s debut novel reimagines the dramatic story of the formation of Liberia through the eyes of three unforgettable characters. She will read from her new work, a blend of magical realism, and history, discuss her upcoming memoir and her work as founder of One Moore Book, a children's book publishing company created in order to provide stories for children living in regions with low literacy rates and underrepresented cultures. She will be in conversation with Baltimore’s own Carroll, an artist-archivist and investigator of culture.

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4:30PM

A Family Affair: On Parents, Parenting, Siblings, and Childhood

Riffing on Tolstoy’s famous quote—"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."—Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing students share their diverse, true stories about family. Writing about family can be tricky—and yet in the memoir and the essay, writers throughout time have been inevitably drawn to these intimate, revealing stories that help us make sense of our lives. Moderated by Hopkins Associate Director of the MA in Writing Program, Karen Houppert, the lineup will feature essays about everything from a parent’s injury in the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon to growing up on an Israeli military base to raising toddlers in Baltimore.

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5:30PM

Featuring Musical Guest Artist: Christen B. Music

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6PM

Introducing Writers Who Deserve Their Own Light

Three literary ‘institutions’ introduce writers who are worth a listen. Mason Jar Press’ Ian Anderson introduces Tyrese Coleman’s new “fictional memoir” How to Sit. Eclectic PR’s Cherrie Woods introduces teen author and motivational speaker Shakira Rayann, discussing Real Talk: A Journey to Faith, Hope, and Love, a series of prose, essays, affirmations and poetry about the challenges she faced during her time in middle and high school. Baltimore Review’s Barbara Diehl presents writer/translator Jake Weber and his new short story collection, Don't Wait to Be Called stories "populated by two distinct sets of characters that have dominated recent headlines: Refugees and blue-collar Americans,” says Washington Independent Review of Books.

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Sunday, September 30




12PM

A Revolutionary Summer: I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America

Founder Andria Nacina Cole curates a session based on the summer program for high school and college-age students, an intensive critical reading and writing program dedicated to shifting harmful narratives about Black women and girls through both the meaningful study and creation of art and the deliberate application of self-inquiry. Cole will be joined by the daughters who will share their I Dream a World monologues.

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1PM

Lit! Pop! Bang! - Live!

Podcast recording: writers and educators talk race in writing, publishing and pop culture. Lit!Pop!Bang! is a monthly, Baltimore-based podcast hosted by Anthony Moll and CeCe (celeste doaks), which discusses all things books, writing and pop culture. They’ll bring their unique brand of thought-provoking analysis, with a slight dose of shade, before a live audience. For this live episode, they’ll bring together 2018 Baltimore Youth Poet Laureate Maren Wright-Kerr (Lovey), the 2018 Hyperbole poetry slam champion and poet Ailish Hopper to have a gloves-off discussion about racism and intersectional identity.

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2PM

Featured Artist: Patricia Smith & A Bunch of Incendiary Poets Poeting

The celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change continues with esteemed Patricia Smith, the author of eight books of poetry including Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize and Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist. Joining her to fire up the CityLit Stage will be nationally celebrated poets Gayle Danley, Kondwani Fidel, Dora Malech, Lady Brion, and Keegan Cook Finberg, among others.

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4PM

Featured Musical Guest Artist: Letitia VanSant

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5:30PM

Featured Musical Guest Artist: Jahiti

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