Who We Are
Louisville Literary Arts is a nonprofit literary center that serves local, regional, and national readers and writers through writing classes, literary events, and professional development. Our programs provide opportunities for writers to connect with one another, strengthen their craft, and promote their work in a supportive environment that welcomes all who believe in the power of language.
MISSION: Louisville Literary Arts creates vibrant spaces where writers and readers learn, grow, and connect.
The InKY Reading Series, the longest running independent reading series in Louisville. Every second Friday, featuring visiting and local writers and poets at The Bardstown, open mic, and Q&A.
Writing Classes are offered evenings and weekends year-round and taught by local and visiting writers, poets, performance artists, and university professors. Classes include two-hour, generative, craft classes in all genres of writing, as well as one-hour seminar presentations. Choose from one-day or multi-week options.
A full-day Summer Writing Retreat.
The Writer's Block Prize, an annual creative writing contest with cash prize & publication.
The Writer's Block Festival, a day-long free, public event that welcomes national and local writers for panels, interviews, readings, book signings, and a vendor fair. The day ends with the University of Louisville Department of English Anne and William Axton Keynote Reading, featuring an author of national acclaim. Fee-based offerings include small group workshops and agent pitch sessions.
Special events include staged and virtual interviews with published authors and special author readings and showcases.
Louisville Literary Arts believes . . .
Creative expression should reach all corners of our community.
We hold readings, workshops, and events in multiple locations, including arts centers, flea markets, coffee shops, restaurants, and event spaces. We have brought programming to zip codes all around Metro Louisville, engaging different audiences with the written word. Our home is where our community gathers, both in our new office in the Portland neighborhood and in coffee shops, galleries, and libraries throughout Metro Louisville. We welcome all writers and literary enthusiasts to our events and programs and provide need-based scholarships to students, seniors, and starving artists.
Year-round literary programming engages a community of readers and writers.
The InKY Reading Series kicks off in August and continues through May, along with monthly and six-week workshops, and our signature Writer's Block Festival occurring in the Fall of each year. In June, we head to a quiet location for a full-day writing retreat.
Creative work has value and all writers deserve the opportunity to achieve their highest potential .
We pay guest writers, instructors, and panelists an honoraria for sharing their work & expertise. For emerging writers who haven't published a book or who are still learning the craft, we provide opportunities to share their writing at open mics, workshops, and meet-ups with other writers in the community. Our programs allow community writers to learn from published writers through Q&A, panels, interviews, and workshops.
Collaborations are essential to an innovative and inclusive literary community.
We love partnering with local businesses, universities and schools, and nonprofit organizations. These partnerships introduce new audiences to contemporary writing, encourage ordinary citizens to take up a pen and write, and break down outdated stereotypes about the literary arts. Partnerships build bridges across neighborhoods, strengthening community relationships. We are proud to partner with 21c Museum Hotel, Carmichael's Bookstore, Fante's Coffee House, Waterfront Botanical Gardens, the Flea Off Market, The Bardstown Restaurant, The Village Anchor, The Louisville Free Public Library, Marion C. Moore Traditional School, The Conrad-Caldwell House, Creasey-Mahan Nature Preserve, and The Filson Historical Society. We would love to partner with you!
Louisville Literary Arts is grounded in the Kentuckiana region, that between space where the South and Midwest collide, where voices are tinged with bourbon and Falls City, and where food trucks and galleries meet farmer's markets, basketball, and horse racing. Kentuckiana writers are as varied and unique as its landscape, tastes, and culture, from Gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson to fiction writer, Z. Z. Packer, and playwright, Marsha Norman to mystery writer, Sue Grafton.
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. We are excited about our momentum and hope to serve ALL writers in Metro Louisville.