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Writing Illness: The Pandemic & Beyond

This panel will gather authors experienced in writing about illness to consider the work of writing about, and after, COVID-19. What can writing offer, as a space for mourning and for healing, as a call for racial and socioeconomic justice, for responsibility toward those who remain ill, and for rebuilding of community after isolation and through vulnerability? How do we help each other find language for the personal, systemic, and global nature of this pandemic? This panel hopes to offer some places to start.


Caren Beilin is the author of a nonfiction book Blackfishing the IUD (Wolfman Books, 2019), the memoir Spain (Rescue Press, 2018), and a forthcoming novel from Dorothy, a publishing project, Revenge of the Scapegoat, a comedy about chronic pain. She teaches at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and lives close by, in Vermont.

Ali Black is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prize for her poem “Kinsman.” Her work has appeared in December, jubilat, LitHub, The Offing and elsewhere. Her first book of poetry, If It Heals At All, was selected by Jaki Shelton Green for the New Voices series at Jacar Press.

Leora Fridman is a writer whose work is concerned with issues of identity, assimilation, care, ability, and embodiment. Within and across these frames, she writes on books, art, and human stories. She's author of My Fault, selected by Eileen Myles for the Cleveland State University Press First Book Prize, in addition to other books of prose, poetry and translation. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Lithub, the Millions, the New York Times, the Rumpus, Tricycle Magazine, Open Space, Denver Quarterly, jubilat and jacket2, among others. She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Nonfiction at Saint Lawrence University. More at

Hilary Plum is the author of the novel Strawberry Fields, winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose (2018); the work of nonfiction Watchfires (2016), winner of the 2018 GLCA New Writers Award; and the novel They Dragged Them Through the Streets (2013). She has worked for a number of years as an editor of international literature, history, and politics. She teaches at Cleveland State University and in the NEOMFA program and is associate director of the CSU Poetry Center. With Zach Savich she edits the Open Prose Series at Rescue Press.


Details: Writing Illness: The Pandemic & Beyond takes place Tuesday, July 13 from 7-8:30pm remotely through Zoom. 


Zoom Info: Register for the panel and Lit Cleveland will send you an invitation and instructions on how to attend via Zoom. 

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