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Tulsa LitFest

Tulsa Lit.Fest | Spoken. Written. Read.

April 11-14, 2019

Tulsa LitFest brings together diverse literary artists and writers to collaborate and inspire, enriching the Tulsa community.


From the Co-Chairs:
This year’s Tulsa LitFest, our sophomore effort, builds on the successes of our first year with a few additions that further our goal of hosting the most thought-provoking and inclusive literary event in the region. Along with a varied and dynamic roster of established authors gathering together over the weekend, new and local talent will express themselves through flash prose, slam poetry, and writing workshops in multiple genres. New this year are a reading with K-12 students in OSU’s Writers in the Schools program, a storytime, and family zinemaking. Our small press fair is a great opportunity to pick up indie books you may not find elsewhere and to network with editors who can offer insight into the publishing process. We’ve taken care to create events that foster dialogue between local and national literary talent and hope that this year you’ll become a new fan of authors you weren’t already familiar with from both far away and just up the road. Better yet, maybe you’ll be inspired to become a LitFest author yourself!

Thank you for being a part of Tulsa LitFest 2019!

Lindsey Smith, Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Jeff Martin, Magic City Books
Please send media inquiries to and


2019 LitFest Schedule of Events


Don Stinson

Date/Time: Thursday, April 11; 1:30 p.m.

Location: TCC Southeast Campus, Student Union Auditorium (with Allen Culpepper)

Don Stinson divided his childhood and adolescence between Southern California and western Arkansas. He moved to Oklahoma at 17 and later earned a B. A. and an M. A. from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and a Ph.D. in Poetry Writing and Contemporary Literature from Oklahoma State University. He has taught at NSU, OSU, and Ridgewater College in Minnesota, but has now spent over 20 years at Northern Oklahoma College, where he teaches writing and literature courses and helps organize the annual Chikaskia Literary Festival every fall. He has written short fiction and one-act plays in the past, but has concentrated on poetry more recently and has published his work in numerous literary journals since the late 1980s. “Flatline Horizon” is his first book, though he is currently working on his second. He and his wife Pamela–parents of three grown children–have traveled to all 50 states and over two dozen foreign countries, but spend much of their time at home in Tonkawa, Oklahoma.


Ron Silliman with Grant Jenkins

Date/Time: Thursday, April 11; 5:00 p.m.

Location: Living Arts of Tulsa

Ron Silliman has written and edited over 30 books, and had his poetry and criticism translated into 12 languages. Silliman was the 2006 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, a 2003 Literary Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and was a 2002 Fellow of the Pennsylvania Arts Council as well as a Pew Fellow in the Arts in 1998. He received the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2010. Silliman has a plaque in the walk dedicated to poetry in his home town of Berkeley, although he now lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and works as a market analyst in the computer industry.


Heid E. Erdrich and Sly Alley

Date/Time: Thursday, April 11; 7:30 p.m.

Location: OSU-Tulsa Auditorium (with Lindsey Smith and Julie Pearson Little Thunder)

Heid E. Erdrich, Ojibwe citizen enrolled at Turtle Mountain, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media. Her landmark 2018 anthology, New Poets of Native Nations, collects poems by twenty-one Indigenous writers whose first books were published after 2000.

Sly Alley writes both poetry and short fiction, and his works have appeared in The Muse and Dragon Post Review. He has presented at the Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, the Woody Guthrie Festival, and Poetry at The Paramount. He writes on a Royal typewriter in his fortified shack in Tecumseh.


LitFest Writing Workshops

Date/Time: Friday, April 12; 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: OSU-Tulsa, Tulsa Room

Tulsa LitFest workshops are free and open to the public. Designed to provide exceptional content, LitFest workshops provide an intimate learning and sharing opportunity for writers.

Workshop capacity is 20 with a required pre-registration. Please sign up for NO MORE THAN ONE workshop so that we can accommodate more aspiring writers!

9:00 am: Experimental Translation and the New Multicultural Avant-garde in Contemporary Poetry with M.L. Martin

A fascinating shift in contemporary translation is happening in works that are not exactly finding new solutions to the classical problems of translation, but rather redefining the questions and problems themselves. The works of Erin Mouré and Oana Avasilichioaei (Expeditions of a Chimæra), Sawako Nakayasu (Mouth: Eats Color), and Jonathan Stalling (Yíngēlìshī), for example, have altered the landscape of translation in a way that refocuses some of the fundamental problems of translation, while at the same time engendering a new field of poetics that refuses to reside in one language or one cultural experience alone, embracing instead a multiplicity of voices, narratives, and languages.

This workshop will explore some of the fascinating ways in which translation and poetry techniques are intertwining in the current landscape of contemporary writing. Participants will get a quick-and-dirty crash course in the latest in avant-garde poetics, and learn how to use translation techniques to explore new facets of their work. Workshop attendees can expect to gain thoughtful feedback and a deep understanding of craft that comes from engaging critically with each others’ writing. An aesthetically diverse range of readings in conjunction with a variety of fun writing prompts will enable participants to access new avenues of creation.

If you are a poet / a translator / both / neither, embark with us on a rigorous and rewarding journey of insight, composition, and discovery. Knowledge of a second language is very welcome, but not required.

10:30 am: In Raptures: Writing the Ghazal with Janine Joseph

“A ghazal,” writes poet Agha Shahid Ali, “could go on forever.” In this generative workshop, we will study the time-honored ghazal form and similarly compose poems that are rooted in song, balance unity and autonomy, and encourage audience participation at readings. Our models will include a mix of traditional and innovative contemporary ghazals, including an essayist’s adaptation of the poetic form.

12:30 pm: Borrowed Forms with Liz Blood

This workshop is designed for writers of any skill level who wish to practice their creative writing, learn new forms and prompts, and play. We will explore how the seemingly-boring world of formalities like mortgage payoff letters and orthodontic reports is actually rich, fertile soil for writing. Poets and prose writers alike are welcome! We will practice using existing forms to act as a container for your writing and will consider what stories or meditations various forms suggest. This will be a craft and generative workshop with discussion and writing prompts. Don’t do any work ahead of time, but do bring pen, paper, and a form that is personal to you—perhaps a bank statement, resume, note, prescription, birth certificate, field guide, horoscope, etc. (There are no “wrong” forms.)

2:00 pm: Getting Published: Trends and Opportunities in the Rapidly Changing World of Books for Young Readers with Karl Jones

Familiarize yourself with the fast-changing world of publishing for young people. An editor from Penguin Young Readers, Karl Jones explains the process of landing a book deal with a major publishing house and offers advice on honing your craft, building relationships, and transitioning from aspiring author to published author.

3:30 pm: How to Snag a Story (or Poem) with Heid Erdrich

Where does inspiration come from? How does an idea make it to the page? Is there such thing as writer’s block? Sometimes writing requires a little courting. We will do an exercise and talk about a few tricks to get original thoughts and images on the page before they run off. Heid will talk about imagination, dream, memory, and collaboration in her poems, films, and stories.

If your desired workshop is full, message to be placed on the waiting list.

CLICK HERE for workshop registration.


Seven Minutes in Heaven with Liz Blood

Date/Time: Friday, April 12; 5:00 p.m.

Location: Mainline Art Bar

Seven Minutes in Heaven is a reading series of short fiction and nonfiction. Readers will dazzle you in seven minutes or less.



SOLD OUT: An Evening with Stacey Abrams

Date/Time: Friday, April 12; 7:30 p.m.

Location: Booker T. Washington High School Field House

Stacey Abrams is an author, serial entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO and political leader. After eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, Abrams became the 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia, where she won more votes than any other Democrat in the state’s history. She has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels; and she is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Abrams is the 2012 recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award and the first black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States.


Saturday Morning Storytime

Date/Time: Saturday, April 13; 10:30 a.m.

Location: Magic City Books (Algonquin Room)

Bring the kiddos for stories, snacks, and more. Stories presented in English and Spanish.


The World of LitMags: Finding a Good Home for Your Work with Sarah Beth Childers

Date/Time: Saturday, April 13; 10:00 a.m.

Location: Greenwood Cultural Center

This panel discussion will demystify the publication process and introduce tips for identifying the appropriate venue for your work. Editors from Cimarron Review, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, and Mojo & Mikrokosmos will share insider information and answer questions about literary magazines.


Small Press Book Fair

Date/Time: Saturday, April 13; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Location: Greenwood Cultural Center; Goodwin/Chappelle Gallery

The LitFest Small Press Book Fair is an opportunity to celebrate print with small, regional presses, independent publishers, artists, designers, the literary-inclined and more.

Current Tulsa LitFest Small Press Book Fair participants include:

    • AWST Press
    • BkMk Press
    • Cimarron Review
    • Deep Vellum Publishing
    • Guernica
    • Magic City Books
    • Mojo & Mikrokosmos
    • MUSED
    • The New Territory
    • Penny Candy
    • Nimrod International Journal
    • The New Territory
    • Tulsa Artist Fellowship
    • Tulsa Review
    • The Tulsa Voice
    • Whitty Books

For fair inquiries, please email


Children’s Lit Publishing Panel with Chad Reynolds (Penny Candy Books) and Mariana Llanos

Date/Time: Saturday, April 13; 11 a.m.

Location: Greenwood Cultural Center

Chad Reynolds is the co-owner and co-founder of Penny Candy Books, an independent children’s book press with a mission to publish children’s literature that reflects the diverse realities of the world we live in, both at home and abroad. As a former English teacher and insurance broker, Chad brings his education and business experience to Penny Candy Books.

Mariana Llanos was born in Lima, Peru. She studied Theatre in the prestigious school CuatroTablas based in Lima, and moved to Oklahoma in 2002. In 2013, she published her first book, Tristan Wolf, which won a Finalist spot in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Award, and a spot in the 2013 Gittle List Independent Book Awards. Since then, she has published several books in English and Spanish, including Luca’s Bridge, published by Penny Candy Books. Using Skype and Google Hangouts, she has visited more than 150 schools in the United States and around the world. She has been awarded the Most Outstanding Latino Artist in Literature (Hispanic Arts Council of Oklahoma), Global Citizen Award in Arts (World Experiences Foundation), and the Human Rights Award (United Nations Association of Oklahoma City). In 2017 she was selected as Best Artist by the Hispanic Arts Council of Oklahoma.


An Afternoon with Eileen Myles

(with Adam Fitzgerald)

Date/Time: Saturday, April 13; 1 p.m.

Location: Greenwood Cultural Center

Eileen Myles is the author of more than twenty books, including Afterglow (a dog memoir), Inferno (a poet’s novel), Chelsea Girls, and Cool For You. Myles’s many honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, four Lambda Literary Awards, the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing, as well as grants from Creative Capital (nonfiction) and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (poetry), and the Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers grant.

Adam Fitzgerald is a White queer poet and educator interested in reparative poetics. He is the author of two books of poetry, both published by W. W. Norton’s Liveright imprint: The Late Parade (2013) and George Washington (2016). He is a visiting professor in creative writing at Rutgers University. His newest manuscript is a non-fiction study of White Supremacy. He lives in New York City on the ancestral territories of the Lenape peoples.


Quraysh Ali Lansana and Clemonce Heard

(with Andrew Belton)

Date/Time: Saturday, April 13; 2:30 p.m.

Location: Greenwood Cultural Center

Clemonce Heard is a New Orleans native. He received a BFA in Graphic Communications from Northwestern State University and his MFA in Creative Writing from Oklahoma State University. He is now a resident writer with the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. He was awarded an honorable mention in the 2017 Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, 2nd place in the 2018 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize, 1st place in the 2018 Connecticut Poetry Award Contest, and was named runner-up for the 2018 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival Poetry Award. His work has appeared in Obsidian, Ruminate, Four Way Review, World Literature Today, and Opossum among others, and is forthcoming in Saranac Review.

Quraysh Ali Lansana is author of eight poetry books, three textbooks, three children’s books, editor of eight anthologies, and coauthor of a book of pedagogy. He is an Upper School Humanities Teacher at Holland Hall School, and is a former faculty member of both the Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Drama Division of The Juilliard School. Lansana served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011. Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience & Change Agent, w/Georgia A. Popoff (Haymarket Books, 2017); Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writings of Gwendolyn Brooks w/Sandra Jackson-Opoku (Curbside Splendor, 2017); A Gift from Greensboro (Penny Candy Books, 2016); The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop w/Kevin Coval and Nate Marshall (Haymarket Books, 2015) and The Walmart Republic w/ Christopher Stewart (Mongrel Empire Press, 2014). Lansana’s work appears in Best American Poetry 2019, and he was recently named a Tulsa Artist Fellow.

Andrew Belton is Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies at Oklahoma State University. His book project, “Hip Hop Illiterate: Hermeneutics for the Future of Literary Theory and Criticism,” puts the aesthetic techniques and critical reading practices of the hip hop emcee at the center of a millennial theory of African American literature and cultural criticism. His study places Rakim, Nas, and Lauryn Hill in critical conversation with canonical black writers such as Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Alice Walker.


Reading with Youth in CPW Writers in the Schools

Date/Time: Saturday, April 13; 4 p.m.

Location: Greenwood Cultural Center

Facilitated by Clemonce Heard and RJ Young

Teaching Artists RJ Young and Clemonce Heard will lead this showcase of poetry and spoken word with K-12 students. In partnership with ahha Tulsa and the Mervin Bovaird Foundation, the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa launched its Writers in the Schools program this year, and to date, students at Eugene Field, Kendall Whittier, KIPP Tulsa, Jenks East, Jenks Alternative Academy, and Drexel Academy have all been mentored by writers with extensive teaching and publishing experience. Come show your support for Tulsa youngest writers! Anthologies of student writing will be available. (You may have a chance to get yours autographed).


Literary Interlude at Tulsa Artist Fellowship

Date/Time: Saturday, April 13; 4:30-6 p.m.

Location: Tulsa Artist Fellowship Archer Studios, 109 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Entrance is on the northwest corner, please proceed to second floor. Join us for refreshments, art, and conversation before the evening’s poetry slam.


Poetry Slam: Beast Mode

Date/Time: Saturday, April 13; 8 p.m.

Location: Living Arts of Tulsa

18 verbal gladiators will engage in a lyrical war of words to compete for prize money of $500 for 1st place, $200 for 2nd place and $100 for 3rd place. Five judges will be chosen at random from the audience.



An Afternoon with Peter Carey

Date/Time: Sunday, April 14; 1 p.m.

Location: Central Library

Peter Carey is the author of thirteen previous novels and is a two-time winner of the Booker Prize. His other honors include the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Born in Australia, he has lived in New York City for more than twenty-five years.


Tulsa Reads: T-Town Poets and Writers

Date/Time: Sunday, April 14; 3 p.m.

Location: Duet Jazz Club

Close out LitFest 2019 with a celebration of all things local. Led by Eilis O’Neal of Nimrod and Jezy Gray of The Tulsa Voice.

Tony Brinkley’s introspective wanderings and emotional, story-telling style appeal to a wide variety of audiences. Sometimes referred to as “The Godfather of Tulsa Poetry,” he was the first “OK SO … We Tell Stories” grand champion and has performed onstage for the Moth Radio Hour in several cities across the country. He has been published in a Living Arts poetry chapbook and in J’Parle and was a featured artist in Urban Tulsa. To quote him, “I am young and old, seriously silly, open-minded, and look for the good in everyone.”

Cynthia Gustavson is a psychotherapist, writer, and leader in the emerging field of arts therapy. She is the author of In-Versing Your Life, an acclaimed series of writing-directed guidebooks, and the poetry collections Please Use This for Children and Not for War and Guns and Between Tahlequah and Tulsa. An international speaker on the use of writing in therapy, she has taught at Louisiana State University and Northeastern State University graduate schools and is a member of Nimrod’s editorial board.

Deborah J. Hunter is a poet, essayist, performance artist, actor, teaching artist, workshop facilitator, and social justice activist. She was presented with the Jingle Feldman Artist Award in 2000 and the Woman of the Year Pinnacle Award in 2018 and was a 2013 Oklahoma Poet Laureate finalist. Her work has been published in many journals, magazines, and anthologies, including Nimrod.

Markham Johnson won Nimrod’s national Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry in 2016, and his book Collecting the Light was published by the University Press of Florida. His poems have been included in many magazines, including Nine Mile, Coal Hill, English Journal, Cimarron Review, and This Land. He has an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and for 20 years he has been a teacher at Holland Hall.

Katy Mullins‘s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bayou Magazine, Crack the Spine, South Dakota Review, and Typehouse Literary Magazine, among other publications. She received her Bachelor’s in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, where she also studied education, music, and children’s literature. She is a member of Nimrod’s editorial board, and she teaches high school English in Tulsa.

Chris Murphy’s work has appeared in Gulf Coast, This Land, The Jellyfish Review, and decomP, among other publications. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Arkansas and currently teaches creative writing at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He is also a member of Nimrod’s editorial board.

And the soon-to-be-announced winners of the 2nd Annual The Tulsa Voice Flash Fiction Contest!

Festival Co-Chairs
  • Jeff Martin, Magic City Books
  • Lindsey Smith, Center for Poets & Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Advisory Board
  • Liz Blood, Tulsa Artist Fellowship
  • Jessica Borusky, Living Arts
  • Anthony Brinkley, Living Arts
  • Grant Jenkins, University of Tulsa
  • Eilis O’Neal, Nimrod International Journal
  • Allen Culpepper, Tulsa Community College
  • Shawn Crawford, Tulsa Library Trust
  • Clemonce Heard, Tulsa Artist Fellowship
  • Carolyn Sickles, Tulsa Artist Fellowship
  • Barbara Thompson, Trabar Communications
  • Jezy Gray, The Tulsa Voice
Community Partners
  • American Indian Quarterly Journal
  • The Bob Dylan Center
  • Booker T Washington High School
  • Center for Creativity | Tulsa Community College
  • Center for Poets & Writers at OSU-Tulsa
  • Duet Restaurant + Jazz
  • Greenwood Cultural Center
  • Living Arts Tulsa
  • Magic City Books
  • Mainline Art Bar
  • Nimrod International Journal
  • Oklahoma State University
  • PEN America
  • Tulsa Artist Fellowship
  • The Tulsa Voice
  • Tulsa City-County Library
  • Tulsa Literary Coalition
  • University of Tulsa