Drew Philp’s debut memoir A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City grew out of Philp’s Buzzfeed essay, “Why I Bought a House in Detroit for $500,” which received nearly 2 million views and was named one of “100 Exceptional Pieces of Journalism” by The Atlantic. His story is a transparent look into the struggle, pain, joy, and hope of what Detroit, and by extension the American city of the twenty-first century, is going to become.
Disenchanted with the privilege he saw as a University of Michigan student from a blue-collar background, Philp moved to Detroit in 2008; a year later, at the age of twenty-three, he bought a ruined house for an astonishing $500. Now he tells the story of how he grew from a naïve college student to a resident and homeowner, fighting to protect, grow, and add to the city of Detroit without overwriting its unique character. Philp shows us Detroit’s complicated mix of gentrification, race, and class, while he attempts to find his footing in the city, the country, and his own generation.
Drew Philp’s work has appeared in publications including BuzzFeed, The Guardian and The Detroit Free Press, among others. His essays and reporting have appeared in books and collections in the United States and Europe, in English and in translation, including the forthcoming "Why Detroit Matters: Decline, Renewal, and Hope in a Divided City." In addition to writing, Drew has hitchhiked across the United States; taught writing, literature, and theater extensively in prisons and juvenile institutions; and is a graduate of the New England Literature program. He is 30 years old and lives in Detroit with his dog, Gratiot.
This event includes a book signing and books will be for sale.