On Wednesday, November 12, 6 authors will gather at Indy Reads Books as part of The Downtown Writers Jam, Vol. 2 hosted by The Geeky Press. We’re currently curating those authors, and taking recommendations from friends, colleagues, and other people involved in the Indiana writing scene. Don’t wait to be nominated, though. You can submit your work for consideration.

Meanwhile, we wanted to introduce you to our first brave newbie: Aistė Manfredini.


AisteManfrediniAistė is a fourth-year student at Ball State University, where she studies magazine journalism.

Having emigrated from Lithuania at seven years old, writing in English–especially stories–was a daunting task that she had never thought of pursuing professionally. It wasn’t until her first collegiate English course that she had decided to take writing seriously. Her English professor required the class to read The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal.

After having read the book, she was inspired by the author’s ability to tell a story in a simple yet thought-provoking way. Wiesenthal’s story about forgiveness made her realize that writing is the most important thing anyone could do; it can change the way people perceive the world. And that is exactly what she has always wanted to do: to help people see life from a different perspective while taking in the various aspects of the human condition.

After she graduates in the spring of 2015 she hopes to find work with a consumer, trade or literary magazine. She’s still a newbie in the writer’s world but excited to see where writing will take her in the future.

You can find her on Twitter.


At The Downtown Writers Jam

What’s the name of the piece from which your DWJ story comes? The piece is currently untitled but the story will come from a long-form essay and memoir that is part of The Invictus Writers 2015 book project.

What was the question or idea that sparked that original piece? When I was a kid, I remember wishing there was someone out there like me who knew what hearing loss felt like. I wished someone had written about his or her personal experiences, I was always on a search. My memoir is a story of identity and search for normality. Most of my life I’ve spent hiding my hearing loss from others. In my younger years, most of my friends never knew — and many still don’t know — that I am partially deaf or that I wear hearing aids.

I could never accept that I was different; I was always too concerned about what others thought of me. But I also longed for that mentality to change. When I was asked to join the Invictus Writers project I thought it’s either now or never. It was time to start thinking about my internal-struggle with hearing loss outside of my head, on paper. So I never did find that someone that shared a similar experience with hearing loss, but now I realize that someone could be me.

Where can people find or buy your work? You can see more of her work at her website.

What should the audience expect from your storytelling at the Downtown Writers Jam? A better understanding of how hearing loss feels. Although this is my first memoir and out-loud storytelling piece, it will be the second time I talk about my struggle with hearing loss to a large group of people. It might sound like an emotional roller coaster, but I promise you will walk away with a story you don’t usually hear about.


Get to Reading

Best book or long-form writing we should read, but probably haven’t? And why? The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa, by Josh Swiller. My mom bought me the book in my later high school years. It’s a story that will take you on an adventure to the rural villages of Africa where deafness doesn’t seem to matter. Swiller’s story has not only inspired me to travel to understand the world but also helped me realize that I wasn’t alone after all. His advice to me prior to my volunteerism in Ghana in 2009: “And always try, whatever you do, to find that different deeper perspective. The whole world needs our help!”