CityLit Studio VI: Writers on Craft, Creativity & Community with Leslie Pietrzyk & Cherie Jones

CityLit Studio VI: Writers on Craft, Creativity, and Community, presented as a part of Free Fall Baltimore, is a unique opportunity for writers to experience readings and lectures by two authors in different genres. Participants engage in deep-dive discussions on craft and the writing process.

This will be a virtual event (Zoom) and is FREE, but attendees must register.




“This Really Happened: Turning Fact into Fiction” with Leslie Pietrzyk (Author of the short story collection Admit This to No One)

While many writers bravely use their life experiences in their work, some of us (understandably!) are nervous about doing so. What benefits and drawbacks are there to “this really happened”? These tips and strategies will help you successfully navigate your life onto the page, in whatever your chosen genre is.

Leslie Pietrzyk’s collection of linked stories set in DC, Admit This to No One, is forthcoming in November 2021 from Unnamed Press, the publisher of her 2018 novel Silver Girl, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Her first collection of short stories, This Angel on My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Short fiction and essays have appeared in, among others, Ploughshares, Story Magazine, The Hudson Review, Southern Review, Arts & Letters, Shenandoah, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, Washingtonian, The Sun, Salon, and The Washington Post Magazine. Awards include a Pushcart Prize in 2020 and the 2020 Creative Arts Prize from the Polish American Historical Association. Organizations awarding fellowships include the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Virginia Center for the Arts, and Hawthornden International Retreat at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland.
Twitter: @lesliepwriter
Instagram: @lesliepwriter


“Writing Violence – When It’s Better Not to” with Cherie Jones
(Debut novelist of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House):

Writing about violence can lend excitement to a narrative, but what are the alternatives to graphic depictions of gore? When should we use those alternatives, and why? In this session, Cherie shares her tips on writing violence responsibly, and why some things might be better left unsaid.

Cherie Jones is a Barbadian writer, mother and lawyer. Her short fiction has variously been published in PANK, Eclectica, Reflex Fiction and The Feminist Wire and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Cherie is a graduate of the MA Writing programme at Sheffield Hallam University, where she was awarded the Archie Markham Award and the AM Heath Prize. She is also a past fellowship awardee of the Vermont Studio Centre. Her first novel How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021.

Twitter: @csajthewriter
Instagram: @cheriejoneswrites



The signature event exemplifies CityLit’s ongoing commitment to attract premier literary talent, offer free events, elevate inclusive voices, provide access to superior instruction on craft while bridging a community of emerging and established literary talent. The writer-to-writer exchange includes a reading, key aspects of craft instruction to improve writing, an open Q & A session with handouts available to attendees, and the importance of finding artistic communities.

The Studio is a two-hour information session where writers get a unique look behind the writing process of two esteemed literary stars. It’s an informal, writer-to-writer craft series to help poets and writers envision their art.

In addition to offering significant craft instruction, it gives support and insight into preparing writers for the business of publishing. Presenters provide an intense lecture/conversation with engaged, experienced authors who are looking to up the ante on their work. Presenters provide handouts so participants can return to their work armed and ready. These sessions are informal, intimate, and noteworthy and a way of building a literary community. In the past, we’ve had Maurice Ruffin, Donna Hemans, David Yezzi, Danielle EvansEugenia Kim, Derrick Weston Brown, Jocquelyn Downs, Jen GrowSheri Booker, and Carmen Giminez Smith, who learned she was a finalist days before this event.



Free Fall Baltimore would not be possible without our generous supporters.

The Free Fall Baltimore Program is made possible by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts (BOPA). Free Fall 2021 is presented by BGE with the generous support of Atapco Properties, the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) and Reyka Vodka.


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