Jan 2 & 16. Monthly open mike storytelling competition sponsored by The Moth, the NYC-based nonprofit storytelling organization that also produces a weekly public radio show. Each month 10 storytellers are selected at random from among those who sign up to tell a 3-5 minute story on the monthly theme. The 3 teams of judges are recruited from the audience. Monthly winners compete in a semiannual Grand Slam. Space limited, so it’s smart to arrive early.
7:30-9 p.m. (doors open and sign-up begins at 6 p.m.), Greyline, 100 N. Ashley. $8. 764-5118.
This Washtenaw International High School English teacher and forensics coach has competed in several regional poetry slams. Her most famous poem, “Credentialed Casualty,” recounts her experience receiving active shooter training and the ethical implications of making split-second life and death decisions about the students supposedly in her care. Preceded by a poetry open mike.
7 p.m. Espresso Royale, 324 S. State. $5 suggested donation. facebook.com/AnnArborPoetry.
Local short story writer Alex Kourvo and young adult novelist Bethany Neal discuss the complicated relationship between plot and character development. For adult and teen (grade 6 & up) fiction and nonfiction writers. Also, Kourvo and Neal host an open house for writers to connect with one another and/or work on their projects at 7 p.m. on Jan. 29.
7-8:45 p.m., AADL Westgate Branch. Free. 327-8301
Literati is thrilled to welcome journalist Jason Fagone whose new book The Woman Who Smashed Codes explores the life of brilliant codebreaker Elizabeth Smith.
About The Woman Who Smashed Codes:
Joining the ranks of Hidden Figures and In the Garden of Beasts, the incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, an American woman and her husband who invented the modern science of cryptology together and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War II
In 1916, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the “Adam and Eve” of the NSA, Elizebeth’s story, incredibly, has never been told.
In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizabeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma—and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.
Fagone unveils America’s code-breaking history through the prism of Smith’s life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence. Blending the lively pace and compelling detail that are the hallmarks of Erik Larson’s bestsellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is page-turning popular history at its finest.
Jason Fagone is a journalist who covers science, sports, and culture. Named one of the “Ten young Writers on the Rise” by the Columbia Journalism Review, he is a contributing writer to the Huffington Post Highline, and writes for a number of outlets, including GQ, Esquire, The Atlantic, the New York Times, Mother Jones, and Philadelphia magazine. He is the author of Ingenious and Horsemen of the Esophagus, and lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Literati is excited to partner with our neighors at the Arbor Brewing Company to welcome author William Rapai who will be sharing his new book on craft beer Brewed in Michigan.
About Brewed in Michigan
Brewed in Michigan: The New Golden Age of Brewing in the Great Beer State is William Rapai’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn”-a discussion of art and art’s audience. The art in this case is beer. Craft beer. Michigan craft beer, to be exact. Like the Great Lakes and the automobile, beer has become a part of Michigan’s identity. In 2016, Michigan ranked fifth in the number of craft breweries in the nation and tenth in the nation in craft beer production. Craft brewing now contributes more than $1.8 billion annually to the state’s economy and is proving to be an economic catalyst, helping to revive declining cities and invigorate neighborhoods.
This book is not a beer-tasting guide. Instead, Rapai aims to highlight the unique forces behind and exceptional attributes of the leading craft breweries in Michigan. Through a series of interviews with brewmasters over an eighteenth-month sojourn to microbreweries around the state, the author argues that Michigan craft beer is brewed by individuals with a passion for excellence who refuse to be process drones. It is brewed by people who have created a culture that values quality over quantity and measures tradition and innovation in equal parts. Similarly, the taprooms associated with these craft breweries have become a conduit for conversation-places for people to gather and discuss current events, raise money for charities, and search for ways to improve their communities. They’re places where strangers become friends, friends fall in love, and lovers get married. These brewpubs and taprooms are an example in resourcefulness-renovating old churches and abandoned auto dealerships in Michigan’s biggest cities, tiny suburbs, working-class neighborhoods, and farm towns. Beer, as it turns out, can be the lifeblood of a community.
William Rapai lives in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and is the author of two other books: Lake Invaders: Invasive Species and the Battle for the Future of the Great Lakes (Wayne State University Press, 2016) and The Kirtland’s Warbler: The Story of a Bird’s Fight Against Extinction and the People Who Saved it.
Literati is excited to host author and Oylmpian Casey Barnett to read from and discuss his new novel Under Water.
About Under Water:
Duck Darley should have been a winner. Once a competitive swimmer destined for Olympic gold, he drank away his gilded youth and followed his fraudster father’s footsteps into prison. Barely scraping by as an unlicensed private investigator, Duck now chases down cheating spouses for the same Manhattan elite who once viewed him as equal, and drowns bitter memories with whatever fills his glass.
Duck’s lost glory days resurface when he’s tasked with finding the teenaged sister of a former teammate turned Olympic champion. Privileged Madeline McKay vanished over Labor Day weekend, leaving behind a too-perfect West Village apartment and a promising athletic career of her own. Duck thinks he’s hunting for a self-destructive runaway–until Madeline’s film student ex is savagely murdered, and the media spins her as the psycho who killed him.
As Duck searches for Madeline, he’s plunged back into the dark underbelly of Olympic swimming–a world rife with wild lies and terrible violence. And he soon learns that no matter how hard he tries to escape his past, demons still lurk beneath every surface . . .
CASEY BARRETT is a Canadian Olympian and the co-founder and co-CEO of Imagine Swimming, New York City’s largest learn-to-swim school. He has won three Emmy awards and one Peabody award for his work on NBC’s broadcasts of the Olympic Games in 2000, 2004, 2006, and 2008. Casey lives in Manhattan and the Catskill mountains of New York with his wife, daughter, and hound. He can be found online at caseybarrettbooks.com.
All invited to read and discuss their poetry or short stories. Bring about 6 copies of your work to share.
7-9 p.m., Crazy Wisdom, 114 S. Main. Free. 665-2757
Toastmasters is an international group devoted to helping each other grow in our abilities to give speeches. The Sweetwaters Toastmasters Club meets twice monthly. We are a fun and friendly group! Toastmasters also helps you develop leadership skills if you wish to do that. Come as many times as you want for free, and decide later if you want to join. In the meantime, come make new friends and have fun!
Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea on Washington Street, 123 West Washington Street. Free. 323-286-3999. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TMSweet/
Join us as we are excited to hear authors Cindy Milstein and Jeff Clark share the book Rebellious Mourning, a look at grief’s power for social transformation
About Rebellious Mourning:
We can bear almost anything when it is worked through collectively. Grief is generally thought of as something personal and insular, but when we publicly share loss and pain, we lessen the power of the forces that debilitate us, while at the same time building the humane social practices that alleviate suffering and improve quality of life for everyone. Addressing tragedies from Fukushima to Palestine, incarceration to eviction, AIDS crises to border crossings, and racism to rape, the intimate yet tenacious writing in this volume shows that mourning can pry open spaces of contestation and reconstruction, empathy and solidarity. With contributions from Claudia Rankine, Sarah Schulman, David Wojnarowicz, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, David Gilbert, and nineteen others.
Cindy Milstein is the author of Anarchism and Its Aspirations, co-author of Paths toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism, and editor of the anthology Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism.
Jessica Shattuck is the award-winning author of The Hazards of Good Breeding, which was a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, Wired, and The Believer, among other publications. A graduate of Harvard University, she received her MFA from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Laura Hulthen Thomas’s short fiction and essays have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including The Cimarron Review, Nimrod International Journal, Epiphany, and Witness. She received her MFA in fiction writing from Warren Wilson College. She currently heads the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan’s Residential College, where she teaches fiction and creative nonfiction.