Calendar

Nov
19
Tue
Wallenberg Lecture: Safa Al Ahmad @ Rackham Auditorium
Nov 19 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Safa Al Ahmad, a Saudi Arabian journalist and documentary filmmaker, will receive the 2019 Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan. She has produced documentaries for the BBC and PBS about uprisings in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Her 2014 BBC documentary, Saudi’s Secret Uprising, brought attention to government suppression of unreported popular demonstrations in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. At great personal risk, she has been one of the few journalists to report from the ground on the crisis and conflict between Houthi rebels, militant groups, and the Yemeni government and its Saudi allies. Her documentaries for PBS’s Frontline, including “The Fight for Yemen” (2015), “Yemen Under Siege” (2016), and “Targeting Yemen” (2019), reveal the human cost and the underlying contending interests that are engaged in a deadly and complex regional conflict. As an Arab woman, she has won precious access to communities and human beings suffering in this war. Her courageous reporting has provided essential and intimate perspectives that challenge assumptions that often shape conventional journalistic narratives.

The medal will be awarded on November 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rackham Auditorium on the U-M campus, where Al Ahmad will give the Wallenberg Lecture.

The Wallenberg Medal and Lecture program honors the legacy of U-M graduate Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews near the end of World War II.

“Safa Al Ahmad shows how journalism can give a voice to persons who are voiceless and give witness to events that escape the world’s notice,” said John Godfrey, chair of the Wallenberg Committee. “She embodies the courage and commitment to human rights and human dignity that the Wallenberg Medal recognizes.”

The Wallenberg Medal and Lecture program honors Raoul Wallenberg who graduated from U-M’s College of Architecture in 1935. In 1944, at the request of Jewish organizations and the American War Refugee Board, the Swedish Foreign Ministry sent Wallenberg on a rescue mission to Budapest. Over the course of six months, Wallenberg issued thousands of protective passports and placed many thousands of Jews in safe houses throughout the besieged city. He confronted Hungarian and German forces to secure the release of Jews, whom he claimed were under Swedish protection, and saved more than 80,000 lives.

U-M awards the Wallenberg Medal annually to those who, through actions and personal commitment, perpetuate Wallenberg’s own extraordinary accomplishments and human values, and demonstrate the capacity of the human spirit to stand up for the helpless, to defend the integrity of the powerless, and to speak out on behalf of the voiceless. Safa Al Ahmad, through her courageous and outspoken work as a journalist and documentarian, demonstrates that one person, individually or collectively, can make a difference in the struggle for a better world.

Last year was historic in that the Wallenberg Medal was awarded to two youth-led organizations committed to ending gun violence, March For Our Lives of Parkland, Florida and The B.RA.V.E. Youth Leaders of Chicago. Recent recipients of the Wallenberg Medal include Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative; Masha Gessen, Russian-American author and activist; and Maria Gunnoe, environmentalist and social justice activist from rural West Virginia. A complete list of the twenty-six past recipients, along with video or transcripts of their lectures, can be found at the Wallenberg website (wallenberg.umich.edu).

The November 19 medal presentation and lecture is open to the public at no charge and will not be ticketed.

Nov
20
Wed
Tia Powell: Dementia Reimagined @ Literati
Nov 20 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

We’re partnering with Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center to welcome Tia Powell in support of her book Dementia Reimagined. A book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public. 

About the book: The cultural and medical history of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by a leading psychiatrist and bioethicist who urges us to turn our focus from cure to care.

Despite being a physician and a bioethicist, Tia Powell wasn’t prepared to address the challenges she faced when her grandmother, and then her mother, were diagnosed with dementia–not to mention confronting the hard truth that her own odds aren’t great. In the U.S., 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day; by the time a person reaches 85, their chances of having dementia approach 50 percent. And the truth is, there is no cure, and none coming soon, despite the perpetual promises by pharmaceutical companies that they are just one more expensive study away from a pill. Dr. Powell’s goal is to move the conversation away from an exclusive focus oncure to a genuine appreciation of care–what we can do for those who have dementia, and how to keep life meaningful and even joyful.

Reimagining Dementia is a moving combination of medicine and memoir, peeling back the untold history of dementia, from the story of Solomon Fuller, a black doctor whose research at the turn of the twentieth century anticipated important aspects of what we know about dementia today, to what has been gained and lost with the recent bonanza of funding for Alzheimer’s at the expense of other forms of the disease. In demystifying dementia, Dr. Powell helps us understand it with clearer eyes, from the point of view of both physician and caregiver. Ultimately, she wants us all to know that dementia is not only about loss–it’s also about the preservation of dignity and hope.

 

Dr. Tia Powell is Director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Bioethics and of the Einstein Cardozo Master of Science in Bioethics program. She is Professor of Epidemiology, Division of Bioethics, and Psychiatry. She has bioethics expertise in public policy, dementia, consultation, end of life care, decision-making capacity, bioethics education and the ethics of public health disasters. She served four years as Executive Director of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, which functions as New York State’s bioethics commission. She has worked with the Institute of Medicine on many projects related to public health and ethics, and most recently served on the 2017 report on community approaches to address health inequities. She is a board certified psychiatrist and Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, the American Psychiatric Association and The Hastings Center.

Poetry Salon: One Pause Poetry @ Argus Farm Stop
Nov 20 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

ONE PAUSE POETRY SALON is (literally) a greenhouse for poetry and poets, nurturing an appreciation for written art in all languages and encouraging experiments in creative writing.

We meet every Weds in the greenhouse at Argus Farm Stop on Liberty St. The poems we read each time are unified by form (haiku, sonnet, spoken word), poet, time / place (Tang Dynasty, English Romanticism, New York in the 70s) or theme / mood (springtime, poems with cats, protest poems). We discuss the poems and play writing games together, with time for snacks and socializing in between.

Members are encouraged to share their own poems or poems they like – they may or may not relate to the theme of the evening. This is not primarily a workshop – we may hold special workshop nights, but mostly we listen to and talk about poems for the sake of inspiring new writing.

Whether you are a published poet or encountering poetry for the first time, we invite you to join us!

$5 suggested donation for food, drinks and printing costs.

8-10 p.m., Argus Farm Stop greenhouse, 325 W. Liberty. $5 suggested donation. onepausepoetry.org, 707-1284.

 

 

 

Nov
21
Thu
Ebony Roberts: The Love Prison Made and Unmade: My Story @ AADL Downtown
Nov 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

The University of Michigan Prison Creative Arts Project, University of Michigan Carceral State Project, and Literati Bookstore are delighted to welcome Ebony Roberts to the Ann Arbor District Library’s Downtown Branch in support of her new memoir, The Love Prison Made and Unmade: My Story. Ebony will be in conversation with Ashley Lucas, Director of the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan. A Q&A and book signing will follow.

About the book: Ebony grew up in Detroit in the 1980s. As a little girl she witnessed her parents’ brutal physical fights, often fueled by her father’s alcoholism. Then one day her father tried to kill her mother right before her eyes. That day she vowed she’d find a love she didn’t have to run from.

Ebony’s experiences as a child shaped her views on love and set the pattern for her future romantic relationships. Despite her determination not to repeat her parents’ mistakes—she would have a fairytale love—Ebony found herself drawn to bad boys: men who cheated; men who verbally abused her; men who disappointed her. Finally fed up, she swore to wait for the partner God chose for her.

Then she met Shaka Senghor, a man in prison for second-degree murder. Though she felt an intense spiritual connection, Ebony struggled with the idea that this man behind bars could be the love God had for her. Ultimately she ignored other people’s fears and took a chance on Shaka. Through letters and visits, the two fell deeply in love. Almost from the start Shaka and Ebony dreamed about their happily-ever-after. Once Shaka came home, they thought the worst was behind them. But Shaka’s release was the beginning of the end.

The Love Prison Made and Unmade is heartfelt. It reveals powerful lessons about love, sacrifice, courage, and forgiveness; of living your highest principles and learning not to judge someone by their worst acts. Ultimately, it is a stark reminder of the emotional cost of American justice on human lives—the partners, wives, children, and friends—beyond the prison walls.

Ebony Roberts is a writer, researcher, educator, and activist. A former school administrator, she has taught at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. Ebony recently served as program director for #BeyondPrisons, an organization designed to uplift the voices of those impacted by the criminal justice system. She received her BA in Social Relations and Psychology, and a Ph.D in Educational Psychology from Michigan State University.

Janet Gilsdorf: Continual Raving: A History of Menoingitis and the People Who Conquered It @ Bookbound
Nov 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Reception at 6:30pm
Program to follow

We are excited to welcome Janet Gilsdorf to celebrate the launch of her book, Continual Raving: A History of Meningitis and the People Who Conquered It (Oxford University Press). Dr. Gilsdorf is a research scientist, pediatrician, educator and author. She is the Robert P. Kelch Research Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan, where she cares for children with complex infectious diseases, and formerly directed the Haemophilus influenzae research laboratory.

Continual Raving tells the combined stories of how scientists across the 19th and 20th centuries defeated meningitis — not through flawless scientific research, but often through a series of serendipitous events, misplaced assumptions, and flawed conclusions. The result is a story of not just a vanquished disease, but how scientific accomplishment sometimes occurs where it’s least expected. 

Reception with light refreshments at 6:30pm, program and book signing to follow. 

 “In Continual Raving, Dr. Janet Gilsdorf, a true expert, brings alive  for all readers a profoundly important history that is a paradigm for  disease, failure, progress, and redemption. Recounting the origins and  the activities of the protagonists make this is a real story of science,  warts and all” — Martin Blaser, Author of Missing Microbes 

Nov
26
Tue
Skazat! Poetry Series: David Hornibrook @ Sweetwaters
Nov 26 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Skazat! is back, and have we got a season lined up for you! Join us at Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea Washington St. to celebrate with fabulous poetry and tasty treats. Whether you’re a page poet, slammer, performance artist or refuse a label, we want to hear your new stuff on our open mic. We look forward to sharing great poetry (and great coffee) with you and invite you to join this free open mic and monthly reading series!

Sign up! 7:00 p.m.
7:15 p.m. – Open mic
8:00 p.m. – Featured Reader
This month’s feature: David Hornibrook

Nov
27
Wed
Poetry Salon: One Pause Poetry @ Argus Farm Stop
Nov 27 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

ONE PAUSE POETRY SALON is (literally) a greenhouse for poetry and poets, nurturing an appreciation for written art in all languages and encouraging experiments in creative writing.

We meet every Weds in the greenhouse at Argus Farm Stop on Liberty St. The poems we read each time are unified by form (haiku, sonnet, spoken word), poet, time / place (Tang Dynasty, English Romanticism, New York in the 70s) or theme / mood (springtime, poems with cats, protest poems). We discuss the poems and play writing games together, with time for snacks and socializing in between.

Members are encouraged to share their own poems or poems they like – they may or may not relate to the theme of the evening. This is not primarily a workshop – we may hold special workshop nights, but mostly we listen to and talk about poems for the sake of inspiring new writing.

Whether you are a published poet or encountering poetry for the first time, we invite you to join us!

$5 suggested donation for food, drinks and printing costs.

8-10 p.m., Argus Farm Stop greenhouse, 325 W. Liberty. $5 suggested donation. onepausepoetry.org, 707-1284.

 

 

 

Dec
2
Mon
Johannes and Dorothea von Moltke: Last Letters – The Prison Correspondence Between Helmuth James and Freya Von Moltke, 1944-45 @ Literati
Dec 2 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

We’re pleased to welcome Johannes and Dorothea von Moltke to the store for a discussion of Last Letters: The Prison Correspondence Between Helmuth James and Freya Von Moltke, 1944-45, for which they served as co-editors. The event is free and open to the public. 

About the book: Available for the first time in English, a moving prison correspondence between a husband and wife who resisted the Nazis.

Tegel prison, Berlin, in the fall of 1944. Helmuth James von Moltke is awaiting trial for his leading role in the Kreisau Circle, one of the most important German resis- tance groups against the Nazis. By a near miracle, the prison chaplain at Tegel is Harald Poelchau, a friend and coconspirator of Helmuth and his wife, Freya. From Helmuth’s arrival at Tegel in late September 1944 until the day of his execution by the Nazis on January 23, 1945, Poelchau would carry Helmuth’s and Freya’s letters in and out of prison daily, risking his own life. Freya would safeguard these letters for the rest of her long life. Last Letters is a profoundly personal record of the couple’s fortitude in the face of fascism.

Johannes von Moltke is a professor of German and Film, Media and Television at the University of Michigan and the grandson of Freya and Helmuth von Moltke.

Dorothea von Moltke is co-owner of Labyrinth Books in Princeton, NJ, and the granddaughter of Freyaand Helmuth von Moltke.

Dec
3
Tue
Zell Visiting Writers: Arthur Sze @ U-M Museum of Art Apse
Dec 3 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Literati is pleased to be the official bookseller for the Zell Visiting Writing Series, produced by the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. 

Arthur Sze is a poet, translator, and editor. He has published ten books of poetry, including Sight Lines, Compass Rose, The Ginkgo Light, Quipu, The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998, and Archipelago, all from Copper Canyon Press. He has also published The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese and edited Chinese Writers on Writing. A bilingual Chinese/English selected poems, Pig’s Heaven Inn, was published in Beijing, and he has also collaborated with sculptor Susan York to create a book and installation, The Unfolding Center.

Known for his difficult, meticulous poems, Sze’s work has been described as the “intersection of Taoist contemplation, Zen rock gardens and postmodern experimentation” by the critic John Tritica. The poet Dana Levin described Sze as “a poet of what I would call Deep Noticing, a strong lineage in American poetry… Dispassionate presentation of ‘the thing itself’ is its prevailing attribute, yet Sze’s attention is capacious; it’s attracted to paradox; it takes facing opponents and seats them side by side.” In addition, K. Michel, a Dutch poet writing for Poetry International says, “Sze’s work is characterized by its unusual combination of images and ideas, and by the surprising way in which he makes connections between diverse aspects of the world. In his poetry he combines images from urban life and nature, ideas from modern astronomy and Chinese philosophy as well as anecdotes from rural and industrial America. In this way, he creates texts that capture and reflect the complexity of reality.”

Sze’s many awards include The Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a Lannan Literary Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowships, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, and five grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry. From 2012-2017, he served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and, in 2017, was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This event is free and open to the public. Onsite book sales will be provided by Literati Bookstore.

The Zell Visiting Writers Series brings outstanding writers to campus each semester. UMMA is pleased to be the site for most of these events. The Series is made possible through a generous gift from U-M alumna Helen Zell (BA ’64, LLDHon ’13). For more information, please visit the Zell Visiting Writers Program webpage: https://lsa.umich.edu/writers

Grace Talusan: The Body Papers: A Memoir @ Literati
Dec 3 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

We’re pleased to welcome Grace Talusan for a reading in support of her memoir, The Body Papers, Winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. Free and open to the public, a book signing will follow. 

About the book: Born in the Philippines, young Grace Talusan moves with her family to a New England suburb in the 1970s. At school, she confronts racism as one of the few kids with a brown face. At home, the confusion is worse: her grandfather’s nightly visits to her room leave her hurt and terrified, and she learns to build a protective wall of silence that maps onto the larger silence practiced by her Catholic Filipino family. Talusan learns as a teenager that her family’s legal status in the country has always hung by a thread—for a time, they were “illegal.” Family, she’s told, must be put first.

The abuse and trauma Talusan suffers as a child affects all her relationships, her mental health, and her relationship with her own body. Later, she learns that her family history is threaded with violence and abuse. And she discovers another devastating family thread: cancer. In her thirties, Talusan must decide whether to undergo preventive surgeries to remove her breasts and ovaries. Despite all this, she finds love, and success as a teacher. On a fellowship, Talusan and her husband return to the Philippines, where she revisits her family’s ancestral home and tries to reclaim a lost piece of herself.

Not every family legacy is destructive. From her parents, Talusan has learned to tell stories in order to continue. The generosity of spirit and literary acuity of this debut memoir are a testament to her determination and resilience. In excavating such abuse and trauma, and supplementing her story with government documents, medical records, and family photos, Talusan gives voice to unspeakable experience, and shines a light of hope into the darkness.

Grace Talusan was born in the Philippines and raised in New England. A graduate of Tufts University and the MFA Program in Writing at UC Irvine, she is the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to the Philippines and an Artist Fellowship Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Talusan teaches the Essay Incubator at GrubStreet and at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts. She is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University for 2019–2021. The Body Papers, winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, is her first book.

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