On Tuesday, December 18th, we attended Literary Cleveland’s 3rd annual Holiday Mixer which took place at CLE Urban Winery on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Early in the night, Ms. Christine Howey, who will officially become the organization’s new Executive director in early 2019, addressed the gathering. Ms. Howey spoke of how much writing meant to her in terms of developing her own creative voice and pledged to devote herself to helping others do the same.
Mr. Ray McNiece, who composed a poem for us at a Literary Cleveland affair at BOP STOP@The Music Settlement earlier this year, was also there. Additionally, we encountered our good friend, Ms. Sujata Lakhe Barnard, the President of FICA, and made new friends with authors Mr. Tim Richards and Ms. Susan Petrone who also happen to love movies just like we do. In fact, Mr. Richards gave us a copy of a poem that he had written titled “The Ballad of Boogie Bill” that had a quirky style to it that we believed was was very reminiscent of the films of the Coen Brothers like Fargo and Raising Arizona which made sense because, as it turned out, Mr. Richards happens to be a big fan.
For a few minutes, we visited with Ms. Marie Vibbert, a very socially concerned writer of science fiction. Not surprising, the topic of immigration entered into our conversation and Ms. Vibbert believed that there was definitely room for it to be incorporated into the science fiction genre wherein human rights is a consistent theme. Along these lines, Ms. Vibbert told us that she and her fellow writers were very upset about how Ms. Amal El-Mohtar, an acclaimed Canadian Muslim author, was detained when she attempted to enter the United States.
Later that evening, Mr. Lee Chillicote, the founder of Literary Cleveland and its outgoing executive director, thanked all of the attendees for helping make Cleveland a great place for writers and readers. In turn, Mr. Aaron Schmidt, a board member, praised Mr. Chillicote for “setting the foundation” that has allowed Literary Cleveland to grow and expand.