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Want to write a book? Literary Cleveland launches residency to support writers

Literary Cleveland residency
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The new residency program aims to help more Northeast Ohio writers complete a book project.

Northeast Ohio writers looking for help completing their first book can now apply for assistance from Literary Cleveland as part of its new Breakthrough Writing Residency program.

The literary nonprofit will award various forms of support, such as mentorship, free classes and professional development connections to six writers in fiction, nonfiction and poetry (two in each genre).

Recognizing how a completed book can lead to future work, projects, teaching assignments and more, this program aims to assist emerging writers who haven’t attended a Masters of Fine Arts writing program or published a book. Writers who may have limited income or identify as part of communities historically underrepresented in literature are encouraged to apply.

“We've been talking with a community group of writers over the last year or so about how to make Literary Cleveland more equitable and have a bigger impact on the community,” said Literary Cleveland Executive Director Matt Weinkam. “One of the things that came out is how big of a breakthrough moment publishing a book can be in a writer's life and career.”

Applications will be accepted until June 20, and Literary Cleveland is offering an information session about the residency virtually May 23. Literary Cleveland secured two years of funding for the program and intends for it to continue annually for years to come.

“People that complete the program can become the next mentors and leaders in the community that help pull more people up, “Weinkam said. “So, you know, by having it be an annual program, it can really have this sort of pipeline effect of bringing more and more exciting writers into the community.”

Mentors for this first residency include Laura Maylene Walter, Eliese Colette Goldbach and Kelly Harris-DeBerry.

Carrie Wise is the deputy editor of arts and culture at Ideastream Public Media.