Littsburgh Shines a Light on PGH’s Literary Talent
From its broad range of working-class poets, to accomplished authors, to novelists who have long promoted and hosted local literary activities, our city’s writing scene has proven its remarkable diversity.
But when Pittsburgh native, Rachel Ekstrom Courage, moved back from New York with her husband Nick, they weren’t sure what to expect. As members of NY’s publishing industry, the couple was quickly overwhelmed by the number of literary events happening in the city, eager to keep track of them all. Thus, with the help of their friend and book publicist Katie Kurtzman–a previous NYC transplant and University of Pittsburgh grad–Littsburgh was born this August “over beers at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern.”
According to co-founder and developer, Nick Courage: “Littsburgh really grew out of a natural inclination to spread the word about all the amazing things that are happening in our new hometown. Some cities are known for their football teams; some are known for their barbecue. Our hope is to rebrand Pittsburgh as America’s most literary city, to inspire publishers to send more authors here on tour; to help local authors find their readerships, both locally and nationally.”
So, how exactly does Littsburgh function, and where can you find out more? Currently, the website serves as an online aggregator, pulling together independent bookstores, literary professionals and events onto a master list of resources for the city’s reading and writing community. The site provides a forum that brings readers and writers together–“to showcase Pittsburgh as a hub of literary talent and activity, and to serve as a resource to foster further collaboration and connection within this community.”
In addition, the ‘Burgh has slowly become home to many different genre writers, from poets, to romance and young adult novelists; but Littsburgh organizers found that these groups didn’t cross paths often.
“Pittsburgh has such a vibrant literary scene. It just makes sense to connect all of these different kinds of people–to celebrate what they’re all doing with books–and see what happens,” explains Courage.
Aside from authors, alone, one look at the Littsburgh site directory shows that our city is host to many more creatives within the literary realm. The directory has quickly become a thriving population composed of independent publishers, book marketers, literary agents, and even book jacket designers. Writers and literary professionals, alike, can submit their names to Littsburgh’s directory to connect with other professionals in the PGH community.
The site is complete with a master event calendar, and the Littsburgh crew hopes writers across genres will find opportunities to meet and share ideas. From large events like the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series, to smaller salons at City of Asylum, or “Coffee and Crime” readings at Mystery Lovers Bookshop, there is something for every type of reader or writer in Pittsburgh.
Following the success of their first “literary happy hour” hosted at Spirit, Littsburgh is now definitely underway, and organizers are planning to host many more social events that bring Pittsburgh’s diverse lit scene together. Whether it’s online or IRL, Rachel, Nick and Katie plan to keep connecting readers with local authors, written works, and more. Their ultimate goal? Hosting Pittsburgh’s first book festival. Keep a look out for it.
Now that Littsburgh is lighting up our creative community, be sure to dive into a good book or blog post by one of our many local writers, or get involved in some upcoming events if you’re itching to flex your literary skillsets.