One moment please...

From Dream to Reality: Publishing a Debut Novel

Authors Nancy Johnson, Eman Quotah, Laura Maylene Walter, and E. Lily Yu discuss how they came to publish their debut novels in 2021. Panelists will offer insight surrounding the writing and revision process; working with agents and editors; the highlights and challenges of the publication experience; debuting during a pandemic; lessons learned along the way; and practical advice for aspiring writers.


A native of Chicago’s South Side, Nancy Johnson worked for more than a decade as an Emmy-nominated, award-winning television journalist at CBS and ABC affiliates in markets nationwide. Her debut novel, The Kindest Lie, has been reviewed by The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, and was selected as Indie Next and LibraryReads picks. Nancy has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Real Simple, and the Chicago Tribune. Nancy lives in downtown Chicago.

Eman Quotah is the author of the novel Bride of the Sea. She grew up in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, and Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Toast, The Establishment, Book Riot, Literary Hub, Electric Literature and other publications. She lives with her family near Washington, D.C.

Laura Maylene Walter is the author of the novel Body of Stars. Her writing has appeared in Poets & Writers, Kenyon Review, The Sun, Ninth Letter, The Masters Review, and many other publications. She has been a Tin House Scholar, a recipient of the Ohioana Library Association’s Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant, and a writer-in-residence at Yaddo, the Chautauqua Institution, and Art Omi: Writers. Laura is editor in chief of Literary Cleveland’s Gordon Square Review and works for Cleveland Public Library.

E. Lily Yu is the author of On Fragile Waves, published February 2021, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, LibraryJournal, and Foreword Reviews. She received the Artist Trust LaSalle Storyteller Award in 2017, the Astounding Award for Best New Writer in 2021, and has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards. More than thirty-five short stories appear in venues from McSweeney's to, as well as twelve best-of-the-year anthologies.


Details: Dream to Reality: Publishing a Debut Novel takes place Saturday, July 17 from 10-11:30am 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. 

Contact Information