Who We Are

Louisville Literary Arts (LLA) has recently revised its mission, vision and strategic plan. The 
nonprofit organization is now both more local and more global, committed to serving overlooked neighborhoods in Metro Louisville and offering online programs to writers throughout the country.
Specifically, we strive to:

  • Break down barriers of access, including geography, education, and socio-economics

  • Recruit more diverse leadership*, membership and guest artists

  • Feature a more inclusive curriculum

  • Introduce programs for young writers

  • Develop and nurture Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) partnerships 

  • Target partnership relationships to serve underrepresented communities

 

We will soon be introducing our new dba name, Writecrowd, to promote a more welcoming and all-inclusive writing community.

MISSION:  Create a safe, inclusive, and accessible community that inspires, encourages, educates, and supports writers and readers of all levels and genres.

VISION: A world that believes in the power of words and the stories of its people. 

PURPOSE: Help people write stories that change their lives – and the lives of the people who read them – by providing much-needed literary programs, resources, and opportunities.

VALUES:

  1. Storytelling and creative expression should reach all corners of our diverse community.

  2. Year-round literary programming keeps a community engaged.

  3. Collaborations/partnerships are essential to an innovative and inclusive literary community.

  4. All writers deserve the opportunity to achieve their highest potential and share their work in front of an audience.

  5. Writers and readers are natural partners; one cannot succeed without the other.

  6. All individuals deserve to learn how to read – and write their story.

Current Programs & Events

  • InKY Reading Series showcases diverse local and national literary voices who have published one or more book-length works of fiction, poetry or creative nonfiction through a nationally distributed, literary or traditional publisher. 
     

  • Wordshops concentrate on a writing genre, style or issue and are both educational and generative in nature, with writers sharing what they create during the 3-hour program. 
     

  • Writer’s Block Festival is a full-day event that welcomes writers, readers, teachers and publishing professionals. It hosts readings, performances, panels, staged interviews, open mics, exhibitors, speakers, craft workshops, writing pitches and literary agents.
     

  • Summer Writing Retreat brings writers together to discuss their writing practices and generate and share new work. A master facilitator leads the day-long event.
     

  • Writers Meet-ups take place every third Wednesday of the month and provide a safe place for writers to share their work and receive feedback and support.

Our History

LLA began as the nonprofit InKY Reading Series in 2004, a brainchild of poets Erin Keane, Pamela Steele, and K. Nicole Wilson, who moved away shortly thereafter. Keane and Steele ran InKY together for the first two years. In 2006, poet Lynnell Edwards moved to town and Keane welcomed her to help run the series after Pam moved back to Oregon. The InKY Reading Series has showcased the varied and unique voices of both local and nationally recognized poets and writers, career as well as up-and-coming talent.

 

In 2010, Keane and Edwards expanded the concept of the InKY Reading Series into the broader literary organization Louisville Literary Arts. Edwards became the first board president and gathered together a working board of local writers and in 2011, as Keane left the organization to pursue editorial work with The Courier Journal, Louisville Public Media, and Salon.com, LLA produced the first Writer's Block Festival, an all-day event celebrating and welcoming readers and writers from across the region.

 

In 2013, memoirist Kimberly Crum was voted Board President and led the organization into a new strategic plan. During this period, the organization began offering pop-up events, educational workshops in the Jefferson County Public School system, and an annual contest in partnership with The Louisville Review, the Writer's Block Prize. A consequence of the new strategic plan was the expansion of monthly programming and the hiring of staff.

 

In 2016, Amy Miller rotated off of the board and became the Director of Communications. Between 2016 and 2018, LLA added monthly and weekly writing workshops and launched a membership program. In 2018, the board and staff embarked on a second strategic plan. From 2019-2020, Ashlee Clark served as the president of the board. During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, interim president, Dean Furman, in-coming president, Erv Klein, and ED, Amy Miller worked on stabilizing programs and funds, moving all programs to an all-virtual platform while postponing others until a safe time to gather together in person again.

In June 2021, Charliese Brown Lewis was appointed the second Executive Director in LLA’s history and the first African-American to serve in this role. Under her leadership and with a newly appointed Board of Directors, the nonprofit reimagined its mission, vision, core values and strategic plan; increased grant funding, diversity and membership; and introduced a cultural equity plan. Charliese has elevated LLA’s visibility in the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities through her partnership as a radio show host and feature writer with minority-owned and Louisville-based EnVision Radio & Magazine