Art by Jingo de la Rosa

Join us at the Indiana State Library when Indiana’s best established and emerging writers will meet for a full day of classes on the writing craft. Featuring a keynote address and a poetry breakout session from Indiana Poet Laureate, Curtis Crisler. Other breakout sessions include poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, social media for writers and more presented by Barbara Shoup, Jill Christman, Jackie Rodriguez, Natalie Solmer, Sarah Layden, Manòn Voice, and Terry Kirts. You’ll leave full of inspiration, armed with writing drafts ripe for experimentation—along with a hundred other writers who feel the same way.

Purchase tickets here!


Curtis L. Crisler was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. Crisler, an award-winning poet/author,
has a new book called Doing Drive-bys on How to Love in the Midwest. He has six poetry books,
two YA books, and five poetry chapbooks. He’s been published in a variety of magazines,
journals, and anthologies. He’s co-editor of poetry for the museum of americana. He created the
Indiana Chitlin Circuit and the poetry form called the sonastic. He’s the Indiana Poet Laureate
and Professor of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW). He can be contacted at

Keynote address: “Finding Your Voice:

Class Description:

Finding Your Voice Through the Epistolary Poem

We will create epistolary-prose poems that make a reader unable to evade them because you have established your voice through tone and atmosphere, propelling what’s written (using the 5 sensory attributes, word choices, syntax, and style) to your advantage. These epistolary-prose poems, you are writing to another person (character). With that, they are great for the development of narrator, and I believe are useful to establish one’s narrator on the
page using research and imagination. I will supply samples of poems for the group to view and discuss as we deal with the elements in the poems that address the prior-mentioned reasons for the master class.

Jill Christman is the author of If This Were Fiction: A Love Story in Essays (2023 Foreword INDIES Silver Winner) and two memoirs, Darkroom: A Family Exposure (winner of AWP Prize for CNF) and Borrowed Babies: Apprenticing for Motherhood. Her essays have appeared in many anthologies and in magazines such as Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, Iron Horse Literary Review, Longreads, The Rumpus, and O, The Oprah Magazine. A 2020 NEA Literature Fellow, she teaches at Ball State University where she is a senior editor of River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative and Beautiful Things. Visit her at,, and on the site formerly known as Twitter @jill_christman.

Class Description:

Beautiful Things: Writing & Publishing Miniature Essays

In this nonfiction session, we’ll look at a handful of published examples from Beautiful Things (River Teeths weekly online magazine of micro essays) and think about specific strategies we can play with as writers to identify the images, locate the voice, build the structures, and sculpt the language that will help us to craft our own real-life material into miniature essays that “[magnify] some small aspect of what it means to be human” (Bernard Cooper). We’ll reserve time at the end for some publishing tips specific to short nonfiction from essayist, teacher, and editor Jill Christman.

Sarah Layden is the author of Imagine Your Life Like This, stories; Trip Through Your Wires, a noveland The Story I Tell Myself About Myself, winner of the Sonder Press Chapbook Competition. She is co-author with Bryan Furuness of The Invisible Art of Literary Editing. Her short fiction appears in Boston Review, Booth, Blackbird, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Best Microfiction 2020, and elsewhere, with recent nonfiction in The Washington PostPoets & WritersSalonThe Millions, and River Teeth. She is an Associate Professor of English at Indiana University Indianapolis, where she serves as faculty advisor to genesis, the campus literary and art magazine.

Class Description:
Rendering the Real: Using Research in Creative Nonfiction and Fiction

Many writers want to incorporate research into their work, be it creative nonfiction or fiction. In a seemingly limitless digital world coupled with undigitized paper archives, where to start? What, exactly, do we hope to find, and how will we use it? This session will help writers think creatively about brainstorming and using sources, as well as establishing authority with factual material. We will zero in on our own areas of curiosity and obsession, and consider how research can broaden and expand our work. The session is focused on prose writing, but poets are always welcome, and resources and examples will be provided across multiple genres.

Barbara Shoup is the author of eight novels for adults and young adults, most recently An American Tune and Looking for Jack Kerouac, as well as a memoir about writing, A Commotion in Your Heart, and Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process. Shoup is the Writer-in-Residence at the Indiana Writers Center and a faculty member at Art Workshop International, in Assisi Italy. She hosts the Substack newsletter Book Pilgrim. A new YA, About Grace, is forthcoming from Querencia Press in 2024.

Class Description:

Point of View: Who Are You and Why Are You Telling This Story?

Whether you choose the point of view(s) of a story or the point of view chooses you, getting it right depends on why the story is best told through the eyes of the character(s) you choose, what brings them to the moment the story begins, how they tell the story—and more. This session will address the basics of point of view in fiction and consider how elements like dialogue, voice, place, and the very specific details of characters’ lives blend to convey where they stand in the world of the story and why, as well as their reliability in telling it. Those writing memoir will also find the session useful.

Natalie Solmer was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, a grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe. She is a former horticulturalist and florist who now teaches writing at Ivy Tech Community College as an Associate Professor of English. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of The Indianapolis Review. Her poetry has been published widely in journals such as Colorado Review, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, and Pleiades. Her visual poetry and art has been published in journals such as Harbor Review, Ethel, Talking About Strawberries All The Time, and Yes, Poetry. Her debut book of poems, Water Castle, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in the fall of 2024. 

Class Description:

What Is Visual Poetry? Explore Art + Text In Your Creative Process

In this workshop, we’ll learn about the genre of visual poetry, or what some refer to as graphic literature. This category is vast and includes many variations of visual art combined with text. After going over these exciting forms, we’ll create our own pieces, focusing the workshop primarily on literary collage.

Jackie Rodriguez is the founder and CEO of Lumbre Media (pronounced loom-bray), a bilingual creative agency based in Indianapolis specializing in social media marketing. Lumbre Media is dedicated to providing nonprofits and mission-driven brands with comprehensive marketing solutions, including strategy development, content creation, and implementation.
Jackie has nearly a decade of industry experience, having worked for local and state-wide-serving nonprofits such as Indiana Humanities, Immigrant Welcome Center, and Indiana Health Centers. She is an alumna of Indy Hub’s 1828 Leadership Program, an inaugural member of the International Center’s Jim Morris Global Leadership Series, and was a 2021 Indy Maven Woman to Watch.

Class Description:
Mastering Social Media: Strategies for Writers

This workshop aims to equip writers with the tools and strategies to effectively use social media to build their personal brand, engage with their audience, and promote their work. The session will cover key platforms, content strategies, and best practices tailored specifically for the literary community.

Manòn Voice is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, a multi-hyphenate–poet and writer, spoken word artist and filmmaker, actor, Hip-Hop emcee, educator, and community builder. The spirit of her work finds its niche at the intersection of arts and activism. She serves in the Jordan College of Arts School of Music at Butler University as a Hip-Hop Music, History, and Culture Lecturer. She has performed on diverse stages across the country in the power of the word and has taught and facilitated writing and poetry workshops widely. In 2018, Manòn received a nomination for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry. Her poetry has appeared in The Flying Island, The Indianapolis Review, The House Life Project: People + Property Series, Sidepiece Magazine, The World We Live(d) In Anthology, The Indianapolis Anthology, Questions for a Resilient Future, and Kinship: A World of Relations. She has been featured in publications such as Indy NUVO, The Indianapolis Recorder, Indianapolis Monthly, The Indianapolis Star, FAFCollective, Pattern Magazine, Sidepiece Magazine, and more.

Class Description:

Poetry and Social Practice: Bridging Art and Activism

Explore the powerful intersection of poetry and activism in this workshop designed for reflecting on and utilizing the art of poetry as a tool for social change. This class delves into how poetry can be a catalyst for dialogue, reflection, and transformation within communities and beyond. Examine historical and contemporary examples of poets who have used their craft to address social issues, raise awareness, and inspire action. Explore various forms and techniques that enhance the impact of poetic activism, including narrative, spoken word, and performance poetry. Learn how poetry has been a driving force in movements for justice, equality, and human rights, and, participate in guided writing exercises designed to inspire and refine your voice as a poet-activist.

A senior lecturer in creative writing at Indiana University-Indianapolis, Terry Kirts is the author of To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2010. His poetry and essays have appeared in Alimentum, Another Chicago Magazine, Boog City, Gastronomica, Green Mountains Review, Porridge, and Presence, and the anthologies Food Poems, St. Peter’s B-list, and others. His culinary articles reviews appear widely, and he is the dining critic for Indianapolis Monthly ( He is currently working on a collection of essays and recipes about immigrant food in the Midwest.

Class Description:
Telling Stories Through Food
Whether you want to start your memoir, explore your family culture, or tell a rich narrative in fiction or poetry, food has long been one of the richest vehicles for tapping into literary stories. From poems evoking delicious dishes or memories of cooking with a loved one to stories set in kitchens or restaurants to essays and full-length food memoirs, culinary stories are sure to engage readers’ senses and memories, as well as providing metaphors and analogies for the human experience. Come hungry, as we’ll explore ways to use food in a variety of genres, from literary journalism and restaurant reviews to lyrical essays to poetry that simmers and sizzles off the page.