The political context of the past few years has brought the Midwest and its communities into the spotlight, but the conversation often relies on broad, simplified narratives of “Trump Country” and the white working class. But we know (and we know you know) that’s far from the whole story: the Midwest is a rich, complex, and vital place, full of thoughtful, diverse people and crucial stories. To elevate those stories, Belt Magazine, in partnership with PEN America, is staging a series of community media events in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Chicago on the theme of “Changing the Narrative” in the spring of 2020.
A 90-minute mix of reading, discussion, and flash writing workshop, each event features local writers and journalists (most with connections to Belt) reading from their work, followed by a facilitated conversation led by Belt Publishing senior editor Martha Bayne, on the process of telling our own stories and the work of responsible journalism. The event will end with a short writing workshop, in which participants will be given the opportunity to write about the places where they live in response to a prompt. These short bits of creative writing will be collected and edited for possible publication on Belt Magazine (beltmag.com).