Ends on

Literary Cleveland, in collaboration with Cleveland State University, is organizing a free staged reading titled “What Makes Us Well” during the Cleveland Humanities Festival, on Saturday, April 8, 2023 at CSU Mather Mansion.

We invite Northeast Ohio writers to contribute a written or spoken word poem, play (scene, monologue, dialogue), personal essay, short story or other literary work addressing the Cleveland Humanities Festival theme of wellness. Contributors are encouraged to interpret the theme broadly (see examples below). 

“The theme of the 2023 Cleveland Humanities Festival is WELLNESS. What is wellness? Where does wellness dwell? Does society bear full responsibility for collective wellness, or is it ultimately up to a person to decide for themselves? Mental, physical, social, spiritual—is any one sphere of wellness more important than another? Who decides? What aspects or forms of wellness are always celebrated and what others are dormant or less well known? How much does the physical environment—air, water—figure in? Should the food we eat simply feed our bodies, or should it nourish our minds and spirits?  And what happens when approaches to wellness no longer work, or worse, go wrong?  These questions will be addressed by Cleveland area arts, cultural and educational organizations through a series of public events in the spring of 2023.”

Accepted submissions will be adapted, in collaboration with the authors, for the staged reading. The readings will be performed by experienced actors under the direction of Christine Howey.  Submissions will be read and selected by Literary Cleveland staff and volunteers, not by Gordon Square Review editors. Responses will be send by mid-March.


  • Writers must live in Northeast Ohio to submit.
  • Submissions can be in any genre and should be less than 1,000 words
  • Multiple submissions are allowed. If possible, please include all of your submissions in a single document.
  • Previously written or published pieces that connect to the theme are also welcome. (Please indicate in your cover letter if the piece has been published elsewhere.)
  • Deadline: Monday, February 27, 2023

Examples of the types of submissions we're seeking may include, but are not limited to:

  • Personal stories of mental, physical, social, or spiritual wellness from all perspectives
  • Scenes that dramatize the challenges of wellness within relationships, families, communities
  • Explorations of the meanings of wellness beyond simply “health”
  • Narratives that challenge or question common tropes, stereotypes, or cliches about wellness
  • Poems that examine the language of illness, health, recovery, and wellness
  • Meditations on social wellness, collective good, shared responsibility, and interconnectedness
  • Fiction that imagines what a city and people that truly values wellness might look like

“To be well again, what might that mean?” — “Revenant” by Meena Alexander

“I think it is healing behavior, to look at something so broken and see the possibility and wholeness in it.” — Emergent Strategy by adrienne marie brown

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” — Audre Lorde

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.