Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013

How to soak up Dayton’s literary scene in 2013


Bookstore photo

By Sharon Short

Are you a New Year’s resolutions maker? If so, how about including one or two about enjoying the Dayton area literary scene, be it as a reader, literature lover or writer? If you’re not into resolutions, then this column can still serve as a handy guide for literary goodness in our region in 2013.

Area writers to read

Our area includes many writers, both published and aspiring. Here are a few writers you’ll want to read, if you haven’t already. (I selected writers who currently live in our area and have traditionally published book-length works in recent years, but there are many fine writers in our area who have published shorter works, published independently, or had works published in the past.)

If fantasy and science fiction with a surreal/literary twist interests you, be sure to read Brady Allen, Kameron Hurley, John Scalzi and Tim Waggoner. (Waggoner also writes in the horror genre.)

For mystery, check out Carrie Bebris (historical), Heather Webber, aka Heather Blake (cozies/paranormal) and Shelley Shepard Gray (Amish settings).

Poetry lovers should enjoy the collections of Jamey Dunham, Catherine Essinger, David Garrison, Herbert Woodward Martin and Julie Moore, all with different, well-honed points of view.

Ralph Keyes is a well-known nonfiction writer who explores a wide variety of subjects. Mindee Arnett’s first young-adult novel will come out in March 2013; Trudy Krisher and Kristina McBride are established YA authors.

Several authors in our area write in more than one genre. Chet Kelly Robinson writes romance and Christian fiction. Katrina Kittle writes literary mainstream fiction as well as middle-grade fiction. Martha Moody is known for her literary mainstream fiction, but her most recent novel crosses into futuristic science fiction territory. I’ve had two mystery series published but have a literary mainstream novel coming out at the end of this month.

Learn more about all of the above writers with a visit to a local bookstore or library or by running an Internet search on the names to find their websites.

Writing education

In addition to the creative writing programs and classes offered at area colleges, the Miami Valley has several renowned writing conferences. Sinclair Community College ( will hold its annual one day workshop on April 5. Antioch Writers’ Workshop ( will present a one-day conference on writing for young adult and middle-grade readers as well as for children on March 30 in addition to its annual weeklong program July 6-13. (Antioch Writers’ Workshop also holds monthly free events; check its website for details.)

Word’s Worth Writing Center ( offers year-round short courses, tutoring and consulting in creative writing. The Ohio Playwrights Circle offers courses in playwrighting through The Human Race Theatre Company ( Aspiring novelists can meet like-minded writers and get inspiration through the area’s NaNoWriMo group ( ).

The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is held every other year. And though the next conference isn’t until 2014 (April 10-12), it’s not too late to start making plans to attend. It sells out quickly. See

Bookstores, libraries

Perhaps it seems obvious, but don’t forget to check out area bookstores and libraries — not just for books but also for readings and events as well as writers groups and book clubs. Libraries: Dayton Metro Library (, Washington Centerville Public Library (, Wright Memorial Public Library ( and Greene County Public Library ( Bookstores focusing on new titles: Books & Co (, Barnes & Noble area locations (, Book Bums in West Chester ( and Jay and Mary’s Book Center in Troy (


And finally, don’t forget to make a resolution to check out these locally published literary magazines. Mock Turtle Zine ( features many local writers. Antioch Review ( is world-renowned for publishing some of the best stories, poems and essays being written today. Flights ( is an annual literary magazine published by Sinclair Community College, featuring work by local writers as well as writers from around the country.

What have I missed?

Let me know about your writing group or book club. I look forward to sharing as much as possible about the literary life of our area this year.


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