RC Writer in Residence: Stuart Dybek @ Residential College
Mar 19 @ 9:00 am – Mar 21 @ 9:00 pm

Poet and fiction writer Stuart Dybek will be the RC’s 2015 Artist in Residence, March 19-21, 2015. He will also be keynote speaker at the second annual Voices of the Middle West conference, at the RC on March 21st.

Voices of the Middle West Festival
Mar 21 @ 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Midwestern author Stuart Dybek will be keynote speaker at the second annual Voices of the Middle West festival on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the University of Michigan Residential College, 721 E. University Ave. in Ann Arbor.

The free festival  features panel discussions by authors and publishers, an open mic event, and an all-day bookfair showcasing literary journals and independent presses from all over the Midwest, with issues and books for sale.

Stuart Dybek, a lifelong Midwesterner and author of The Coast of Chicago, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, and Paper Lantern, will give a keynote address at 5 pm. A public reception and book signing will follow.

The festival will bring together U-M students and faculty with writers and presses from all over the Midwest to showcase the rich, magnificent work being produced here in the Midwest, the stories that need to be told, the voices that need to be heard. Panel discussions on fables in Midwestern literature, gender parity in publishing, and other literary discussions will feature outstanding regional authors Laura Kasischke, CJ Hribal, Caitlin Horrocks, Anne Valente, Marcus Wicker, Matt Bell, and more. The festival’s authors will read at Literati Bookstore, 124 East Washington Street in Ann Arbor, on Friday, March 20th beginning at 6 PM.

More information at


Curiosity Day @ Nicola's Books
Sep 19 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Nicola’s Books will join other bookstores across the country to celebrate ‘Curiosity Day,’ an annual event that promotes the joy of reading and learning with everyone’s favorite monkey, Curious George. For two hours it will be everything Curious George – books, games, art and activities. Costume contest at 11:00 am (for both kids and adults); come as your favorite character in a Curious George book. Beverages and snacks will also be served throughout the event.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Michigan Fall Conference @ Thompson-Shore
Oct 3 @ 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

More Information:

Nicola’s Books will be at this event throughout the day selling books.

Homegrown Talent Schedule

Schedule (subject to change)

8-8:55 AM:  Registration / Mingle / Coffee

9-9:10 AM:  Welcome and Opening

9:10-9:20 AM:  Brief Introduction to Thomson-Shore

9:20-10:10 AM:  Kelly DiPucchio – Bulldogs, Babies, and Bacon: Everyone Has a Story
In this humorous and enlightening presentation, Kelly shares 13 concrete ways to improve your picture book manuscript and your odds of being published traditionally.

10:10-10:20 AM: Break

10:20-11:10 AM: Lynne Rae Perkins – A Beginning, a Middle and an End; and Something Has to Happen
If you already know that your story needs these basic elements, then you are ahead of where I started. Twenty-two years ago this October, I got my big break at a regional SCBWI conference in Pittsburgh, PA. I could draw, and I was a reader, but I was a novice in the world of children’s books. Eight picture books and four novels later, I still feel like a novice at times, but I’ve learned a lot. I’ll share the practical info and less obviously practical ideas that have, so far, been the most helpful, interesting, encouraging, and fun. (Image by Lynne Rae Perkins)

10:20-11:10 AM: Ruth McNally Barshaw – Packing the Perfect Portfolio 
We will analyze what works and what doesn’t in making your portfolio the best it can be for presenting illustrator work in the current children’s book industry. If you have one, bring your portfolio and your art. Bring any pieces you’re undecided on whether they’re strong enough for your portfolio.

11:15 AM – 12:05 PM:  Kathleen Merz –  Using Storytelling Techniques to Craft Narrative Nonfiction
How do writers tell engaging stories about real life? How can they capture a person’s life story in thirty-two pages? This presentation will look at the process of using general storytelling technique and sensibility to create well-crafted narrative nonfiction.

12:05-1:20 PM: Lunch / Bookstore / Tours of Thomson-Shore

1:20-2:20 PM: First Pages with Kathleen and Katherine
Busy editors have very limited time to read manuscripts. Some say the “make it or break it” window is thirty seconds per manuscript. During this session, editors Kathleen Merz and Katherine Jacobs will react to first pages of manuscripts read aloud. What makes it compelling? What is a turnoff? What does a first page need to make an editor want to keep reading?

2:20-3:10 PM: Deborah Diesen – Writing Stories in Rhyme: From Inspiration to First Draft in Fifteen Thousand Easy Steps.  Debbie will discuss the process she uses to move from a picture book story idea to a rhyming first draft.

3:10-3:20 PM: Break

3:20-4:10 PM: Katherine Jacobs – The Body Electric: Creating Characters that Spark with Life
Learn how to create characters with rich inner lives, clear motivations, and problems that drive the plot. Look at examples and analyze why they work. Come away with concrete ways to make your characters into people readers long to know.

4:10-5:00 PM: Mary Bigler – Reading for the Love of It 
Join Mary Bigler as she shares the joy and wonder of reading aloud to children. She will introduce books that will tickle their funny bones, light up their eyes, and touch their hearts. Joke books, poetry, picture books and nonfiction books will be shared. Think about your own school visits as Mary presents ideas on how you can engage children with good books and create a love of reading.

5:00-5:05 PM: Catherine Bieberich: Mentorship Program Winner Announcement!

5:05-5:15 PM: Closing Remarks and Awesome Prizes (including a full conference tuition!)

5:15-5:45 PM: Bookstore / Autograph Party

Voices from the Middle West Festival @ Residential College, East Quad
Mar 12 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Created by Midwestern Gothic in partnership with the Residential College, Voices of the Middle West is a festival celebrating writers from all walks of life as well as independent presses and journals that consider the Midwestern United States their home. The Festival will take place on March 12th, starting at 10am, at East Quad. The festival includes panels and a book fair, and is free to the public. Ross Gay is the keynote speaker.

The goal of the festival is to bring together students and faculty of the university, as well as writers and presses from all over the Midwest, in order to provide a perspective of this region and to showcase the magnificent work being produced here, the stories that need to be told…the voices that need to be heard. Truly, this is a celebration of the Midwest voice, and it is the festival’s aim to create an ideal environment for any and all to come and take an active part, to discover and discuss how rich our literary tradition is.

More information at




Northside Ann Arbor Book Crawl @ Cardamom Restaurant
Jun 16 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

June 16-18. The first of 3 book crawls (see 17 Friday & 18 Saturday kicks off at Cardamom restaurant (1739 Plymouth, Courtyard Shops) with a reading by local poetDawn Richberg. 7 p.m. (Bookbound, Courtyard Shops): Readings by local poetsShutta Crum and Scott Beal. 8 p.m. (location TBA): Readings by local poet and storyteller Charlotte Young Bowens and Michigan writer Monica Rico. The festival also includes a street fair on Saturday.
6-9 p.m., various locations. Free.


Ypsilanti Book Crawl @ Ypsilanti District Library
Jun 17 @ 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The 2nd of 3 book crawls (see June 16 & 18) begins at the Ypsilanti District Library (229 W. Michigan Ave.) with storytelling by LaRon Williams (3 p.m.), a talk on ethnic and gender diversity in superheroes by comic ebook creator Jazmin Truesdale(4 p.m.), kids activities, a bookmobile, and more. 5 p.m. (Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center, 214 W. Michigan Ave.): Reading by local novelist Tiya Miles. 6 p.m. (Beezy’s Café, 20 N. Washington, Ypsilanti): Readings TBA. 7 p.m. (Chin-Azzaro Gallery, 9 S. Washington): Readings by Tennessee- and Michigan-based memoirist Deedra Climer and local novelist Heather Neff. 8 p.m. (Ypsi Alehouse, 124 Pearl St.):Readings by local memoirist R.J. Fox and Virginia-based mystery writer Tj O’Connor.
3-9 p.m., various Ypsilanti locations. Free admission.


Ann Arbor Book Festival Street Fair @ Literati Bookstore (and east)
Jun 18 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Sale of a wide variety of books, plus readings and spoken word performances, a drum circle (12:30-2 p.m.), balloon artists (2:30-4:30 p.m.), and more. Food available. The festival also includes 3 book crawls (see listings on June 16 & 17 and below).
Noon-5 p.m., Washington between 4th & 5th aves. Free

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