The Critique Sessions will return in the future.
For a full list of CityLit Festival events, see our website.
Tickets are $10 and limited. The event is open to all. Registration is required. You will receive a Zoom link upon registration & further instructions for choosing your slot and sending in your piece.
Bret McCabe (Creative Nonfiction)
Bret McCabe has been an arts and culture reporter, critic, and a freelance features writer and editor over the past 20 years. His work has appeared in the Baltimore City Paper, Dallas Observer, BmoreArt, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, among other magazines, newspapers, and websites. He was a 2010 finalist for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism Arts & Culture Fellowship and a 2010 fellow at the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera at Columbia University. He is the senior humanities writer at the Johns Hopkins Magazine.
Karen Houppert (Fiction & Creative Nonfiction)
Karen Houppert is the author of three nonfiction books, Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People’s Justice (New Press, 2013), Home Fires Burning (Ballantine, 2005), and The Curse (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999). Her reporting has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The Washington Post Magazine, Newsday, The Nation, Salon, Mother Jones, Ms, and Baltimore City Paper. A former staff writer for The Village Voice, she moved to Baltimore in 2006 and began reporting on the city for Urbanite and The Washington Post Magazine and then served as editor of Baltimore City Paper.
She is the Associate Director of the MA in Writing Program at Hopkins and has taught at NYU, Towson, and Morgan State.
Rosalia Scalia (Fiction)
Rosalia Scalia is the author of the story collection, Stumbling Toward Grace (Unsolicited Press). Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Oklahoma Review, North Atlantic Review, Notre Dame Review, The Portland Review, and Quercus Review, among many others. She holds an MA in writing from Johns Hopkins University and is a Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artist’s Award recipient. She won the Editor’s Select award from Willow Review and her short story in Pebble Lake was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Baltimore City with her family.
Laura Ballou (Screenwriting & Playwriting)
As an writer and educator, Laura believes that the art of storytelling is a powerful tool to touch hearts, change minds and affect social change. Working in the public school system for the past twelve years, she’s witnessed many of the issues that today’s youth encounter in their daily lives. She's co written a teen sci-fi/socially conscious TV series and and a feature screenplay with Emmy Award Winning Director, Mary Maderias. She's also co wrote the film adaptation to "Eyes in the Mirror" by Albert C. Moore.
Laura graduated with a BA in Political Science and History at the University of Texas at Arlington. She continued her education at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks for her teacher's certification. In 2011, she earned a Professional Certificate in Screenwriting from UCLA. She is a Northern Virginia Writing Project teacher consultant at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She has worked with CityLitProject in Baltimore, Maryland as a script consultant. She received her script supervising training with Kimberley Roper in Los Angeles and has been on various projects in the DC area as a script supervisor.
During the past ten years, Laura's screenplays have placed and won various film festivals and screenwriting competitions, notably, best screenplay at the Rising Above Film Festival, second round placement at the Austin Film Festival, finalist at the LA Live Film Festival, best screenplay at the Snowdance Film Awards, long list selection at the UK Film Festival, semi-finalist at the Shutter Speed Film Festival, quarter finalist at the Page International Screenplay Competition and official selection in the WIFV Spotlight on Screenwriters Catalogue. She continues to write her own screenplays as well as help others write their stories.
Born in Puerto Rico, Laura is honored to be a part of a movement to bring the Latino community of creatives to the forefront of Hollywood’s screenwriters. Laura's Puerto Rican heritage, faith, love of history, teaching experiences, and living and traveling around the world as a military spouse have been the inspiration for her writing. She writes to offer audiences fresh, new experiences in hopes that they can better understand themselves and others.
Nora Belblidia (Fiction & Creative Nonfiction)
Nora Belblidia is a magazine writer and editor, specializing in profiles that dig into a person’s creative process, and longform narratives that examine subcultures, science, and small worlds. Her writing has appeared in Al Jazeera, Columbia Journalism Review, and BmoreArt, where she has also worked as a contributing editor. She previously studied nonfiction writing at Johns Hopkins.
She views editing as a collaboration, one which brings a writer’s prose to its highest potential while keeping their voice intact. Her aim is for writers to feel empowered by the editing process and proud of their work.
She currently works as a fact-checker for Undark Magazine in addition to freelancing.
Chelsea Lemon Fetzer (Poetry)
Chelsea Lemon Fetzer holds an MFA in Fiction from Syracuse University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in journals such as Callaloo, Tin House, Mississippi Review, and Minnesota Review. She serves as the editor of Little Patuxent Review. Her essay “Speck” appears in The Beiging of America: Personal Narratives about being Mixed Race in the 21st Century. Fetzer currently teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Baltimore and serves on the board of CityLit project.
Media Sponsor: BMoreArt Magazine
Enoch Pratt Free Library | Maryland Centers for Creative Classrooms | Arts Education in Maryland Schools
Maryland Humanities | Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance | Motor House | Busboys and Poets -Baltimore
Maryland State Arts Council | Maryland Humanities | Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts | Creative Baltimore Fund | National Endowment for the Arts | Amazon Literary Partnership | Robert W. Deutsch Foundation
William G. Baker Memorial Fund | T. Rowe Price Foundation | Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation | Motor House | Insight 180
Saturday, March 12, 2022
10:00 AM EST - 12:00 PM EST
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Please consider donating to our Festival Goal! CityLit Project's FREE programs serve various audiences to encourage and support a life-long love of literature. Since its inception, CityLit Project has presented 350 programs involving more than 1,000 literary artists and serving nearly 14,000 people (including 450 youth).
Saturday, March 12, 2022
10:00 AM EST - 12:00 PM EST
You will also be emailed a Zoom link prior to the event.
If you are not familiar with Zoom, please also take a few minutes to review our guide doc.