Fabulous Fiction Firsts #652 and #653

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Conversations with Friends * * * by Sally Rooney (Trinity College, Dublin) is drawn largely from conversations with the author's own friends.

Frances, a poet and aspiring writer performs at spoken-word poetry events around the college with her best friend and former lover Bobbi. At one of these events, Melissa, a well-known photojournalist proposes to do a piece on them. Invited to her Monkstown home, Bobbi falls under Melissa's spell while Frances is more impressed with the trappings of wealth and success, and instantly drawn to Melissa's gorgeous and standoffdish husband, Nick, an actor.

Journalism advocate Wallace House expands programming to engage the public

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Wallace House, Lynette Clemetson, Lydia Polgreen, David Fahrenthold, Alec MacGillis

Clockwise from left: Wallace House director Lynette Clemetson, Huffington Post editor Lydia Polgreen, Washington Post journalist David Fahrenthold, and ProPublica's Alec MacGillis.

Wallace House at the University of Michigan features two major programs that recognize the work of early career and mid-career journalists.

"The Knight-Wallace Fellowships for journalists is a residential program here at the University of Michigan," said Lynette Clemetson, director of Wallace House. "We bring roughly 20 mid-career journalists to the university every year for an academic year of immersive study related to their work as journalists. Our other program is The Livingston Awards, which is an awards program recognizing excellence in journalism by journalists under 35."

Wallace House was a gift from 60 Minutes's Mike Wallace and his wife, Mary, but its offerings aren't strictly for journalists and the organization is expanding its public programming. On Thursday, September 14, award-winning political reporter Alec MacGillis will give the 32nd Hovey Lecture, and he'll cover income inequality in the U.S. and the perilous implications of winner-take-all cities and left-behind places. The additional talks feature the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold (October 26), who was awarded a Pulitzer for his reporting on the Donald J. Trump Foundation, and Lydia Polgreen (January 16), editor of The Huffington Post.

We chatted with Clemetson about these upcoming events, demystifying journalism, and its vital role in a functioning democracy.

Magical Connections: Bookbound's Open Mic & Share Poetry Series turns 5

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Bookbound open mic

Leslie McGraw (left) curates the Open Mic & Share Poetry Series at Bookbound, which is co-owned by Megan Blackshear (right).

There are those who believe the poets will save us all, and those people are probably correct. Lucky for us locals, there are several places around town that feature live poetry readings including the independently owned and operated bookstore Bookbound on the north side of Ann Arbor.

Every second Thursday (except in August and January) at 7 pm finds poets and poetry lovers gathered in Bookbound’s comfortable space. Self-described poetry enthusiast Leslie McGraw curates and leads the Open Mic & Share Poetry Series, which can veer from scheduled poets to open mic explorations and pure party slams.

“There are many poets who write it because they love it and not because it’s their 'career,'" McGraw says. "Poets who have self-published or published with independent presses may not get that big 'book launch' feeling and all of them should still have the chance to market their work. One of the best ways to do this is for readers to meet the person, hear them reading their creations.”

Dwelling on the Tongue: South Asian women poets at Literati

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Ambalila Hemsell, Tarfia Faizullah, Ashwini Bhasi reading at Literati as part of Rasa Festival

Ambalila Hemsell, Tarfia Faizullah, and Ashwini Bhasi took to Literati's lectern as part of the Rasa Festival. Photos by Sairah Husain.

“It’s a small world,” is a clichéd phrase we sometimes use to convey the less than average spaces between physical existences.

Fellow Ann Arbor residents Sreyashi Dey and Paroma Chatterjee experienced this exact phenomenon upon finding themselves together on a return flight to the States from Kolkata, India last year. Discovering that their shared final destination was Ann Arbor, these strangers turned friends took to discussing the state of Ann Arbor’s arts and culture scene, particularly from a South Asian perspective. Their conversation was informed by a national environment infused with rhetoric that seems to jettison the importance of inclusivity and multicultural awareness.

Agreeing that there was South Asian dance representation in the Ann Arbor area, and the occasional UMS performances featuring South Asian musicians, Dey and Chatterjee brainstormed about filling that gap to feature multiple art forms on a more regular basis. Their brainstorming produced multi-cultural, multi-arts organization Akshara that seeks to present “art inspired by India.”

One of the arts featured on Wednesday, September 6 was poetry, during Akshara's first annual Rasa Festival.

Share Button: Scott Stabile's "Big Love" encourages people to express themselves

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Scott Stabile, Big Love

Share alike: Scott Stabile opens up about his life to let readers know they're not alone.

Love is the answer. Love will find a way. Love the one you’re with. Love is never having to say you’re sorry.

OK, fine.

But what does it really mean to embrace love and share that love with others?

Author Scott Stabile shares his thoughts on this and so much more on his social media accounts (followed by more than 350,000 people) and in his new book, Big Love: The Power of Living With a Wide-Open Heart. (He'll also share his ideas live at Nicola’s Books on Wednesday, September 13 at 7 pm.)

Oliver Uberti launches "Where the Animals Go" at Literati -- where it all began

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Oliver Uberti, Where the Animals Go

Oliver Uberti's new book, Where the Animals Go, was conceived in Ann Arbor.

On Tuesday, September 12, designer and author Oliver Uberti returns to Ann Arbor to launch the Where the Animals Go at Literati. It's a full-circle journey for the book and Uberti.

"I discovered graphic design as a student at the University of Michigan. I drafted many sections of Where the Animals Go in Literati’s cafe," Uberti said. "I found the book’s epigraphs on Literati’s shelves. Quite literally, Ann Arbor is where this book originated. I’m very excited to come back to say thank you."

Where the Animals Go is the first book to offer a comprehensive, data-driven portrait of how creatures like ants, otters, owls, turtles, and sharks navigate the world. Uberti teamed up with James Cheshire, whose award-winning maps have appeared in publications like the Financial Times and The Guardian, to create this collection of charts and maps that tell fascinating stories of animal behavior through an intersection of technology and design.

"James and I are not biologists. He’s a geographer; I’m a designer," Uberti said. "That’s the beauty of the animal-tracking revolution. The convergence of ecology and technology invites more people from more disciplines into the conservation conversation. We hope this book will inspire readers to get involved in any way they can."

The book has already earned incredible praise, including from legend Jane Goodall, who called Where the Animals Go “beautiful as well as informative and inspiring.” We chatted with Uberti ahead of his visit.

The Literary Works: Kerrytown BookFest offers a farmer's market of prose and poetry

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15th annual Kerrytown BookFest

The 15th Kerrytown BookFest will features dozens of authors while also reaffirming its dedication to highlighting book-making arts.

For the past 15 years, the Kerrytown BookFest has honored and celebrated writers and readers with speakers, panels, and a sprawling book fair held under the farmers’ market sheds.

But for this year, BookFest Co-Chair Linda Kimmel is particularly pleased with the festival’s re-emphasis on book arts, including “letterpress printers, binders, illustrators, papermakers. ... ["W"]e have once again increased the number of book artists who are vendors at the event ... and increased the number of book arts demonstrations to six this year.”

Zilka Joseph will lead a panel of musing poets at Kerrytown BookFest

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Zilka Joseph, Sharp Blue Search of Flame

Zilka Joseph (upper left) will moderate a panel with Michigan poets (clockwise from upper right) Keith Taylor, Z.G. Tomaszewski, Cindy Hunter Morgan, and Robert Fanning at the 15th annual Kerrytown BookFest.

On Sunday, September 10, the 15th annual Kerrytown BookFest takes over the Farmer’s Market and Concert House for a full day of book arts demonstrations, author signings -- see the full list here -- and panel discussions, such as "Short Stories From 'Bob Seger's House'" with Ellen Airgood, Loren D. Estelman, Gordon Henry, and Michael Zadoorian moderated by M.L. Liebler. (AADL card holders can download the book they're discussing here.)

It's truly a celebration of this region's rich literary scene, all neatly packed into one of Ann Arbor's most beloved neighborhoods. (See our full preview of the festival here.)

Ann Arbor poet, editor, and educator Zilka Joseph will moderate a 4 pm panel at Kerrytown BookFest called “Poetic Musings” with Robert Fanning, Cindy Hunter Morgan, Keith Taylor, and Z.G. Tomaszewski. Joseph’s most recent collection is Sharp Blue Search of Flame, published by Wayne State University Press in 2016. We chatted with her about Michigan poets, favorite Ann Arbor literary haunts, and being a citizen of the world.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #651

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #651

Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, is one of the swankiest locales in the United States. Yet it is there that this gem of a contemporary western The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo * by Ian Stansel is set.

Brothers Frank and Silas Van Loys, the best horse trainers in San Geronimo and former partners in the ranching business, have been feuding for years: drunken brawls, nasty pranks, poisoning each other's livestock, and they are not above shooting each other, often for nothing more than a Stetson hat.

Author Events: September 2017

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September 2017 Author Events

Image by Mystic Art Design/Pixabay

What does having an amazing university, a plethora of fantastic local independent bookstores, and a pretty slam-bang public library system (if we do say so ourselves) bring to a town?

Authors. Lots and lots of authors.

In fact, so many authors pass through the area that sometimes it can be hard to keep track of who is speaking and when and where. To help guide you, Pulp curated a highlights list of September 2017 author events.