A literary unconference in Cleveland, Read Local with Joyce Brabner & lit events this week

Accelerate 2015

On Wednesday, I had a chance to pitch my idea, along with Amy Rosenbluth of Lake Erie Ink, for the Cleveland Inkubator: A literary unconference in the city. So grateful to the judges from the Cleveland Leadership Center for including us, and to the staff of the CLC for making the process so seamless. Amy and I received a lot of useful feedback and made some good connections, so while we didn’t make it into the top five, we’re still hoping/planning to do the event.

Here’s a sample of what we pitched:

“Cleveland has so much to offer. But what we don’t have – that many other cities do – is a literary festival in the heart of the city that celebrates writers. Provides free public workshops. Gives people a place to showcase their work. Connects them to new audiences. Here’s our goal: the Cleveland Ink-u-bator, a FREE, one-day celebration of words and literary unconference in Cleveland this summer. Let’s celebrate youth and adults who use words to describe their lives and tell their stories.”

The next day, I was asked to be on the Sound of Ideas on 90.3 along with eight or nine other civic entrepreneurs. Here’s a link to the show.

This Sunday 3/8 from 2-4 pm, I’ll be facilitating the next Read Local book club event with Joyce Brabner, author of Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Dealers and Divas Plotted Against the Plague.

The book is funny, powerful and sad, and it offers a slice of underground life from the 80s that many people probably don’t know about — it tells the story of a group of gay friends who smuggled experimental drugs from Mexico to help their friends dying from AIDS.

Here’s a description from the MacMillan website: “The renowned graphic-book author Joyce Brabner’s Second Avenue Caper is the true story of a tight-knit group of artists and activists living in New York City in the early 1980s who found themselves on the front lines in the fight against AIDS.”

“Struggling to understand the disease and how they could help, they made a deal with a bona fide goodfella, donned masterful disguises, piled into an ‘A-Team’ van, and set off for the border, determined to save their bedridden friends by smuggling an experimental drug into the United States from Mexico. With their community in crisis and the world turned against them, this impassioned gang of misfits never gave up hope as they searched for ways to raise awareness and beat the plague. Fast-paced, poignant, and beautifully illustrated by the award-winning illustrator Mark Zingarelli, Second Avenue Caper is a heartfelt tribute to the generation that faced down AIDS.”

This week is also packed full of can’t-miss events for writers and readers, including Brews and Prose on Tuesday 3/3 with Robert Miltner and NEOMFA writers; author Phil Klay at the Beachwood branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library on Wednesday 3/4; the Indie Author Conference & Showcase on Saturday 3/7 at the Parma-Snow branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library; and the kids’ Comic Con at Lake Erie Ink, which will also be held on Saturday.


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