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CAP was founded in 1990 to act as an advocate for the arts, serve the public by providing services and resources for county artists and arts organizations, and encourage collaboration among arts, education, business, civic and government organizations.Learn more

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May 1 to 3, 2015 (events not yet posted)


Amy Dickinson at Spring WritesThe Spring Writes Literary Festival combines workshops, panels, performances, and public events for writers and readers.  There are more than 30 opportunities for education, inspiration and entertainment at 10 locations in downtown Ithaca. Here's last year's schedule so you can get a taste of the event!  The 2015 schedule will be posted by March 25.  Come back and take a look!
(Image: Amy Dickinson reads from her novel "The Mighty Queens of Freeville".)

Thank you!!! - Robin Schwartz, Program Director at


2014 Event


Storytelling: Trampoline Presents: More Than Words
Thursday, May 1, 7:00pm-9:00pm at Lot 10
Ithaca's monthly competitive storytelling event, a program of Buffalo Street Books, presents a special Spring Writes opening event. Participants get five minutes to tell a true story with no notes. The theme for this installment is "More Than Words". Stories about poor word choices, when words fail you, and trying to get a word in edgewise. If you want to join in, just show up!


Reading: History Slam
Friday, May 2, 3:30pm-5:15pm at Buffalo Street Books
Hosted by Historians Are Writers with support from the Cornell History Department. Please join us for the fifth annual History Slam -- like a poetry slam (only with history) or a blues jam (only not at a bar). Graduate students, faculty, and community members will read short pieces of experimental history.

Reading: Saltonstall Colony Alumni
Friday, May 2, 5:30pm-7:00pm at Buffalo Street Books
The Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts presents an all-local group of past and current Saltonstall Fellows. They include Sarah Jefferis (2014 Non-fiction), Fran Markover (2010 Poetry), and Bob Proehl (2013 Fiction).
* Sarah Jefferis recently won the Bea Gonzalez poetry prize from Stone Canoe, is the author of a collection of poems entitled, Forgetting the Salt.
* Fran Markover, a Pushcart Prize nominee with poems published in many journals. Her chapbook, History's Trail, was published by Finishing Line Press.
* Bob Proehl is a writer, a DJ, a NYFA Fellow, and host of the Trampoline Storytelling Event.  His first book, The Gilded Palace of Sin was published by Continuum Press in 2008.

Music: The Starry Mountain Sweetheart Band
Friday May 2, 7:00pm-8:30pm at Lot 10
Ithaca's most literate and literary rock band kicks off the festival weekend at Lot 10. If you've ever wondered what They Might Be Giants would sound like as a country band made up of MFA students, here's your chance to find out. The Starry Mountain Sweetheart Band features professor J. Robert Lennon and Daniel Peña, Adam Price, Elizabeth Watkins Price, and Lauren Schenkman.


Entertainment: At the Book Sale Line
Saturday, May 3, 7:00am to 8:00am, Book Sale on Esty Street
Actors from the Ithaca Shakespeare Company will entertain the folks lined up outside the Friends of the Library Book Sale on opening day. The doors open at 8am.

Reading: Pale Fire Marathon
Saturday, May 3, 9:00am to 8:00pm at The Shop
One of the greatest novelists of the 20th century, Vladimir Nabokov, did some of his best work while living in Ithaca. Stop by for a cup of coffee and a taste of Nabokov's Pale Fire, read aloud over the course of a full day by various fans of the book.

Free Comic Book Day
Saturday, May 3, 10:00am to 7:00pm, Comics for Collectors
Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE to anyone who comes into their stores. Comics for Collectors will be celebrating with signings by Roger Stern (Spider-Man, Captain America) and Ethan Young (Tails).

Panel Discussion: Writing for the Screen: (with screenings)
Saturday May 3, 10am-11:45am at Cinemapolis
Join three local screenwriters and film makers as they discuss the challenges of writing for the screen in various genres. The panel will include Mary Lorson, (Freak Baby and the Kill Thought), Rachel Ferro (Tell Me the Day Backwards), and Becky Lane (Nice Girl Films), and will feature screenings of some of their work.
* Mary Lorson is a musician, writer and English teacher. Projects include scripts for film and television, and a performance memoir Signals.
* Rachel Ferro is a documentary film-maker. Tell Me The Day Backwards is her first feature length film.
* Becky Lane is an independent filmmaker and founder of Nice Girl Films, a small woman-centered production company with footprints in both Ithaca and NYC.

Workshop: Write What You (Don't) Know!
(A workshop geared to teens but open to all)

Saturday May 3, 10am-11:45am at Buffalo Street Books
If you've ever heard the expression "Write what you know" and thought, "Hey, I don't know anything worth writing about," this is for you! Especially geared to teens with an interest in storytelling, three local fiction writers -- Anne Mazer, Shawn Goodman, and Rob Costello -- will lead a fun and freewheeling workshop designed to introduce some of the basic writing tools that can help any writer spin a good story out of practically anything. Pen, paper, and imagination are all that's required!
* Anne Mazer is the author of 45 books for young readers: The Salamander Room, The Oxboy, The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes series and more.
* Shawn Goodman is the award-winning author of the Young Adult novels, Kindness for Weakness, and Something Like Hope.
* Rob Costello has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. He's hard at work on his first YA novel, The Sheltering Sea.

Workshop: Character Development for Writers and Actors
Saturday May 3, 11am-12:45pm at Tompkins Public Library, Borg Warner Room
Before we can make characters come alive on the page or stage, we need to understand them deeply. Sure... but how? If your approach to characterization is paralyzing your creativity rather than sparking it, our science-based methods may be just what you need to get to the juicy stuff faster. We'll focus on three theories of personality. Practical tips, exercises, and handouts will get you started and keep you going. Led by award winning author Jill Shultz and Dr. Bill Altman.
* Bill Altman teaches psychology, has been a tech director and actor, and does research on creativity, teaching, and learning.
* Jill Shultz author of the award-winning sci-fi novel, Angel on the Ropes. As program director of Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, she ran hundreds of writing workshops.

Reading: My Jewish Mother
Saturday May 3, Noon-12:45pm at Buffalo Street Books
Yvonne Fisher will read from a series of poignant and humorous stories about her mother's life that include themes of the Holocaust, mother/daughter relationship struggles, care taking, old age, and dying. Yvonne Fisher is a psychotherapist, writer, performer, and artist.

Workshop: Writers as Consumers of Culture and History:
The Need for a Critical Awareness of Context

Saturday May 3, 1:00pm-1:45pm at Tompkins Public Library, Borg Warner Room
Writers are notorious for appropriation. As T.S. Eliot once said, "Good writers borrow. Great writers steal." And with that comes the danger of misappropriation, of erasure, of bending the truth. Where does one draw the line? And should we? Art, and with it writing, presents us with new ways of seeing our world, with new ways of interpreting reality through evocative images. Yet it also has a responsibility to the preservation of truth, especially in a world where a social consciousness is ever more critical to the way we engage with the world and create works of lasting relevance. Andrei Guruianu leads this workshop. He teaches in the Expository Writing Program at NYU. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he is the author of poems, short stories, and a memoir.

Reading: New Works: Hosted by Tish Pearlman
Saturday May 3, 1:00pm-2:15pm at Buffalo Street Books
Featuring new works from Poet Laureate of Tompkins County Tish Pearlman, hosting event and reading from her new poetry collection Afterlife, Jeanne Mackin reading from new historical novel The Beautiful American, Alice Lichtenstein reading from her new novel Liberty, Lisa Harris reading from her new poetry collection Entry Points, Jaime Warburton reading new poetry, and Steve Poleskie reading from his latest novel Foozler Runs.
*Tish Pearlman is a poet and broadcast journalist, host of NPR’s Out of Bounds and is the author of poetry collections. She is currently Poet Laureate of Tompkins County.
*Jeanne Mackin is the author of historical novels and mysteries. She’s taught in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Goddard College.
*Lisa Harris reads the world for signs and visions in the ordinary and the extraordinary, the usual and the unique, believing that everything is a miracle and a metaphor.
*Jaime Warburton’s poems and stories have appeared widely in journals and is author of the collection, Note That They Cannot Live Happily.
*Stephen Poleskie's artwork is in the collection of many museums including the MoMA. He has published 7 novels, and shorter works in Australia, Germany, Italy, India, Mexico, and the UK.
* Alice Lichtenstein is the author of two novels and teaches fiction-writing at Hartwick College in Oneonta.

Panel Discussion: Know Before You Go: The MFA Experience?
Saturday May 3, 2:00pm-2:45pm at Tompkins Public Library, Borg Warner Room
Facilitated by local writer, Casey Martinson, this panel discussion is perfect for aspiring and established writers who are looking to make the leap into an M.F.A. program--or another advanced degree in creative writing. Our panelists include Iowa Writer's Workshop graduate Kate Klein, Warren Wilson graduate Steve Weed, and Jacob White, who holds both an MA (SUNY Binghamton) and a PhD (University of Houston) in creative writing. We'll talk about the decision making process leading up to grad school, the many options available, expectations versus experience, and the writing life post-graduation.
* Casey Martinson writes for non-profit organizations, and has been working toward publication in the fiction market. He holds a Bachelor's in English Literature from Oberlin College.
* Kate Klein is the author of the novel Eternal Girl. She blogs for Unstuck, a literary journal of the fantastic, the futuristic, the surreal, and the strange.
* Steve Weed teaches English at Tompkins Cortland Community College, and runs The Topic Workshop - a course that uses reading, writing, and discussion to explore a one-word theme. 
* Jacob White is the author of the story collection Being Dead in South Carolina.  He edits fiction for Green Mountains Review and is a writing lecturer at Ithaca College.

Workshop: The Struggling Writer's Heart Stopped When She Saw the Workshop That Would Change Her Life Forever - Working With & Against Cliches to Make your Manuscript Shine, & Sell! Saturday May 3, 2:00pm-3:45 at Community School of Music and Arts
Multi-published romance novelist, Ellen Hartman will lead this workshop on scrubbing clichés out of your work in a simple three step process. A must for fiction writers of every genre. What will you learn? Not only where "invisible" clichés are limiting your voice, but also how to examine your writing and root out everything that's old, tired, and been done to death. You'll learn how to think differently about your work so you'll never look at your first drafts the same way again. That's a very big step to finding your unique voice--and your first of many sales! Bring the first page of your current stuff--we'll be critiquing during the session.
* Ellen Hartman has had eight romance novels published by Harlequin. She is currently working on her first young adult book.

Reading: Flash Reading with the Cornell MFAs
Saturday May 3, 3:00pm-3:45pm at Buffalo Street Books
Cornell boasts one of the most prestigious and renowned MFA programs in the country. Come find out why as a group of current Cornell MFA students read from their super-short "flash" fictions and poems.

Panel Discussion: Getting It in Print: A Discussion on Publishing
Saturday May 3, 3:00pm-3:45pm at Tompkins Public Library, Borg Warner Room
There are more options than ever for getting your book out there, but what path is best for you? Join us for a panel discussion, moderated by Attorney Howard Leib, and including Jill Shultz and Paul Cash.  They will talk about navigating the seas of publishing options available to new and established authors.
* Jill Shultz author of the award-winning sci-fi novel, Angel on the Ropes. As program director of Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, she ran hundreds of writing workshops.
* Paul Cash is editor and publisher at Larson Publications and runs Larson affiliated literary services to assist authors with all aspects of publishing.
* Howard Leib is an attorney with over thirty years' experience in intellectual property law, entertainment law and general corporate law. He has represented clients such as KISS, Whitney Houston, Bobby McFerrin, and Judy Collins as well as corporations such as Atlantic Records, Universal Entertainment, and Rhino Entertainment. Howard has taught for NYU, National Paralegal College, and Kaplan University. He hosts "No Soap Radio," on WRFI-FM in Ithaca.

Panel Discussion: Striving, Surviving or Thriving: On the State of Bookstores
Saturday May 3, 4:00pm-4:45pm at Buffalo Street Books
The book industry is in a state of radical change from top to bottom, and bookstores are on the front line. Local booksellers, including Jack Goldman (owner, The Bookery), Asha Sanaker (General Manager, Buffalo Street Books) and Joe Wetmore (Autumn Leaves) discuss what the present looks like and what the future may hold for brick and mortar bookstores.

Reading: Writer's Café: Local Authors Read on the Theme of Adolescent Angst
Saturday May 3, 5:30pm-6:30pm at Felicia's Atomic Lounge
Curated by and featuring Amelia Sauter, a group of local writers read pieces on the theme of Adolescent Angst. Readers include Sauter, Laura Reid, and Laurel Lathrop, and more. A specialty menu of writers cocktails for the event will include the Hemingway Daiquiri, the London, and the Gertrude Stein.
* Amelia Sauter is a published humor columnist, cartoonist, and essayist who currently shares her cocktail and culinary adventures in Edible Finger Lakes magazine.
* Laura Reid is a regular storyteller (and repeat winner) on stage at Ithaca's Trampoline Storytelling Competition and has been published in Montessori Life magazine. 
* Laurel Lathrop currently works as a writer and editor for Ithaca's green-living magazine Fresh Dirt and as a shopgirl at vintage clothing store Petrune.

Reading and Meet-and-Greet: Literary Journal Showcase
Saturday May 3, 6:00pm-8:00pm.  Argos Inn.
Some of the finest literary journals in the Finger Lakes will be on hand for a reading and meet-and-greet at one of Ithaca's newest venues. Featured journals include Bitter Oleander (readings by Danielle Winterton on behalf of editor Paul B. Roth), Essays & Fictions (readings by David Nelson Pollock), Harpur Palate and Stone Canoe (readings by Sarah Jefferis and Chris Gonzalez). Learn more at,,,
* Danielle Marie Winterton is a literary writer and co-founder of the online and in print literary annual Essays & Fictions.
* David Nelson Pollock is a founding editor of the online and in-print journal, Essays & Fictions. His fiction, poems, and essays have appeared in various publications.
* Sarah Jefferis recently won the Bea Gonzalez poetry prize from Stone Canoe, is the author of a collection of poems entitled, Forgetting the Salt.
* Christopher Gonzales won the 2014 S.I. Newhouse School Prize in Creative Nonfiction for his essay, "Mother, Father, Memory, Me," published in Stone Canoe 8 in January.


Workshop: Shy Writers Desiring to Speak Dynamically
Sunday, May 4, 10:00am-11:45am at CAP ArtSpace
You're a gifted writer but when it comes to reading your work you are shy, stumbling and self conscious. Does this sound like you? This workshop utilizes the tools of storytelling; breath, phrasing, image driven language, gesture and characterizations to affect and inform both the crafting of your writing and the performance of it. This interactive workshop will increase your comfort and effectiveness as a dynamic speaker of the spoken word. Bring a copy of a short story (10 minutes) you would like work on to class. Led by award winning storyteller, professor and teaching artist Regi Carpenter. Regi is a performance artists those diverse repertoire of world stories, folktales, myths, music and personal stories.

Performance: Senior Troupe of Lifelong
Sunday May 4, Noon-12:45pm at Buffalo Street Books
This performance centers around the theme of "dreams" featuring stories from the troupe's lives that are both humorous and serious. Directed and coordinated by Sue Perlgut, the troupe features, Connie Currier, Carolyn David, Margaret Dennis, Eva Luby, Sue Norvell, Natasha Tall, Carol Santucci, Deirdre Silverman, Mark Silverman, Sandy Stein and Barbara West.

Reading: CAP Fellowship Showcase
Sunday May 4, 1:00pm-1:45pm at CAP Art Space
The Community Arts Partnership's annual fellowship goes to five artists each year. This reading features three literary recipients. Tamara Watson (poetry), Wendy Dann (playwright) and Kathy Henion (fiction).
* Wendy Dann is a director and playwright. Her work has been produced on stages from Dallas to Atlanta to Ithaca.  
* Tamara Watson’s poetry has appeared in various many publications.  Her work has been featured in the anthology Human Cuisine. 
* Kathryn Henion’s fiction has appeared in The Briar Cliff Review, Confrontation, The MacGuffin, and RE:AL, among others. She reads fiction for the online journal Drunken Boat. 

Panel Discussion: What's Big in YA: An Author Panel
Sunday May 4, 1:00pm-1:45pm at Buffalo Street Books
Maybe no genre is growing faster than YA. Join three established YA authors to discuss the ins and outs of writing for a younger audience while trying to appeal to crossover readers as well. Panelists will include Katherine Howe (Conversion), and Nancy Ohlin (Always, Forever).
* Katherine Howe is the NY Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The House of Velvet and Glass. Conversion will be released on July 1.
* Nancy Ohlin is the author of the YA novels Always, Forever and Beauty (Simon Pulse) as well as dozens of books for early and middle grade readers.

Performance: Wolf's Mouth Theatre Group
Sunday May 4, 2:00pm-3:15pm at Community School of Music and Arts
Staged readings of short plays and works in progress by playwrights of the Wolf's Mouth Theatre Company.

Reading: Works in Progress
Sunday May 4, 3:00pm-4:30pm at Buffalo Street Books
Buffalo Street Books presents a collection of local authors reading from books in various genres that they are currently at work on. The list of readers will be on

Performance: Cayuga Vocal Ensemble
Sunday May 4, 4:00pm-6:00pm, First Presbyterian Church
Spring Writes: Poetry and Song: The Ensemble will visit the theme of American choral music based on American poetry and feature music by living composers whose settings include poets such as Sara Teasdale, Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, e.e.cummings and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Joining the Ensemble will be poet and local radio host Tish Pearlman, who will read from her poetry. Local student poets from Ithaca High School will also read from their work. With Carl Johengen, conductor. $15.00 in advance (see, $17.00 at the door; Students: $5.00; Children 12 and under free.

Storytelling: Trampoline Presents: Tramp-O-Teen!
Sunday May 4, 4:00pm-6:00pm at Community School of Music and Arts
Trampoline, Ithaca's competitive storytelling event presents its first even youth-only installment! Area teens will get five minutes to tell a true story with no notes, on the theme of "Prejudice". This event is organized and hosted by local teens and is sponsored by Trampoline. If you are under 18 and would like to participate, just show up!

Reading: Finish With a Joke: A Closing Reading for Spring Writes
Sunday May 4, 6:00pm-8:00pm. Argos Inn
Wrapping up a weekend of literary arts events with three of Ithaca's finest and funniest at one of Ithaca's newest (and coolest) venues. Leslie Daniels (Cleaning Nabokov's House), Amy Dickinson (The Mighty Queens of Freeville, "Ask Amy") and J. Robert Lennon (Familiar, Happyland) help us bring the festival to an end with a reading at one of Ithaca's finest new venues.
* Leslie Daniels, author of Cleaning Nabokov’s House, published in 5 languages and under option for film. She is fiction editor for The Louisville Review.
* Amy Dickinson writes the nationally syndicated advice column, "Ask Amy.", is the author of the NY Times bestseller: The Mighty Queens of Freeville and is a featured panelist on NPR's Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me. 
* J. Robert Lennon is the author of two story collections and seven novels. He teaches writing at Cornell University.

The Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project.
Sunday, May 4, 7:00pm - 8:30pm, Acting Out NY, inside Center Ithaca, 171 The Commons
Darcy Rose and Ithaca's Acting Out NY are proud to be hosting the New York chapter of The Female Playwights ONSTAGE Project this year in Ithaca. This performance reading of 8 short plays and monologues is a branch of Little Black Dress INK's ( national female playwrights festival whose aim is to give voice to women in the theatre arts. Directed by Cynthia Henderson of Performing Arts for Social Change, and starring all local Ithaca talent.