Lit Youngstown presents a reading by fiction writer Robert Pope of Akron and Thomas Welsh, an author of A History of Jewish Youngstown and the Steel Valley. Open mic to follow, emceed by Bill Soldan.
Robert Pope has published a novel, Jack’s Universe, and a collection of stories, Private Acts, as well as over seventy stories and personal essays in journals, including most recently, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Two Thirds North. His flash fictions have appeared in print and online journals, including Chicago Literati, and his dark fiction in collections including Dark Lane Anthology. He just retired from The University of Akron and is reading and writing as much as he possibly can. He lives in Akron with his wife Lisa Sarkis and their dog Harley.
Thomas Welsh is a professional writer and editor who grew up in the industrial center of Youngstown, Ohio. He is the author of Closing Chapters: Urban Change, Religious Reform, and the Decline of Youngstown’s Catholic Elementary Schools (Lexington Books, 2011), which describes factors that led to the collapse of an urban parochial school system. Thomas went on to coauthor Strouss’: Youngstown’s Dependable Store (History Press, 2012), a historical overview of one of the city’s landmark businesses, and Classic Restaurants of Youngstown (History Press, 2014), which tracks changes in the community’s restaurant industry. Before completing a doctorate in Cultural Foundations of Education at Kent State University in 2009, he worked as a journalist in the United States, South Korea, and Cambodia. He serves as outreach coordinator of the Etruscan Press, a non-profit literary press that works in close collaboration with the YSU Poetry Center.
Founded in the Mahoning Valley during 1837, a tiny settlement of secular German immigrants grew into one of the most influential centers of Jewish life in the Midwest. Home to nationally renowned rabbis and Zionist firebrands alike, the community produced an astonishing array of leaders in an impressive range of fields throughout the twentieth century. This notable legacy ranges from the entertainment juggernaut of Warner Brothers to the Arby’s fast food empire and the prominent Youngstown Sheet & Tube, among many others. Authors Thomas Welsh, Joshua Foster and Gordon F. Morgan trace the unique history of one of Ohio’s oldest Jewish communities from its humble beginnings into the challenging climate of the new millennium.