Literati is pleased to welcome Dustin M. Hoffman in support of his debut short-story collection, One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist. Dustin will be joined for this reading by Chris McCormick, author of Literati Cultura selection Desert Boys.
Rare voices in fiction, the lives of the working class consume this collection. Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist brings to life the narratives of midwestern blue-collar workers. In these sixteen stories, author Dustin M. Hoffman invites readers to peek behind the curtain of the invisible-but-ever-present “working stiff” as he reveals their lives in full complexity, offering their gruff voices—so often ignored—without censorship.
The characters at the heart of these stories work with their hands. They strive to escape invisibility. They hunt the ghost of recognition. They are painters, drywall finishers, carpenters, roofers, oil refinery inspectors, and hardscapers, all aching to survive the workday. They are air force firemen, snake salesmen, can pickers, ice-cream truck drivers, and Jamaican tour guides, seething forth from behind the scenes. They are the underemployed laborers, the homeless, the retired, the fired, the children born to break their backs. One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist initiates readers into the secret nightmares and surprising beauty and complexity of a sweat-stained, blue-collar world.
Dustin M. Hoffman is the author of the story collection One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist (University of Nebraska Press), winner of the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. He spent ten years painting houses in Michigan before getting his MFA in fiction from Bowling Green State University and his PhD in creative writing from Western Michigan University. His stories have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Phoebe, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, Witness, Quarterly West, The Journal, Gargoyle, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Indiana Review, and a bunch of other neat places. He lives in South Carolina and teaches creative writing and literature at Winthrop University.
Desert Boys is the winner of the 2017 Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association. This series of powerful, intertwining stories illuminates Daley Kushner’s world – the family, friends and community that have both formed and constrained him, and his new life in San Francisco. Back home, the desert preys on those who cannot conform: an alfalfa farmer on the outskirts of town; two young girls whose curiosity leads to danger; a black politician who once served as his school’s confederate mascot; Daley’s mother, an immigrant from Armenia; and Daley himself, introspective and queer. Meanwhile, in another desert on the other side of the world, war threatens to fracture Daley’s most meaningful – and most fraught – connection to home, his friendship with Robert Karinger.
A luminous debut, Desert Boys by Chris McCormick traces the development of towns into cities, of boys into men, and the haunting effects produced when the two transformations overlap. Both a bildungsroman and a portrait of a changing place, the book mines the terrain between the desire to escape and the hunger to belong.
Chris McCormick was raised in the Antelope Valley. He earned his B.A. at the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.F.A. at the University of Michigan, where he was the recipient of two Hopwood Awards. His fiction and essays have appeared in the Atlantic, Tin House, Ploughshares, Lit Hub, and The Offing. He lives in Ann Arbor.
Richard Retyi and Brian Peters are Ann Arbor Stories, a podcast featuring stories of Ann Arbor’s distant and not so distant past, produced in partnership with the Ann Arbor District Library. Join them at Literati Bookstore for two all new live stories from Ann Arbor’s past, including photos, spoken word and music, as well as a Q&A session with the creators.
Learn more about the podcast and share your own memories of Ann Arbor as well. Check out Ann Arbor stories at aadl.com/annarborstories or visit them on Twitter and Instagram at @annarborstories.
Literati is thrilled to launch Live from Cairo, the debut novel by Ian Bassingthwaighte. Ian will be joined in conversation by Lillian Li, author of the novel The Duck House, forthcoming from Henry Holt in 2018.
From a hugely talented, award-winning young author, a brilliant, lively debut novel about an impulsive American attorney, a methodical Egyptian translator, and a disillusioned Iraqi-American resettlement officer trying to protect a refugee who finds herself trapped in Cairo during the turbulent aftermath of the January 25 revolution. Cairo, 2011. President Mubarak has just been ousted from power. The oldest city in the world is reeling from political revolution, its consequent hopes and fears, its violence, triumphs, and defeats. But for the people actually living there, daily life has not slowed down but become wilder, more dangerous, and, occasionally, freeing.
Live from Cairo is the exuberant, dazzling story of these people: Dalia, a strong-willed Iraqi refugee who finds herself trapped in Egypt after her petition to resettle in America with her husband is denied. Charlie, her foolhardy attorney, whose frustration with the legal bureaucracy and complicated feelings for Dalia have led him to forge a not entirely legal plan to get her out. Aos, Charlie’s fastidious translator and only friend, who spends his days trying to help people through the system and his nights in Tahrir Square protesting against it. And Hana, a young and disenchanted Iraqi-American resettlement officer; she is the worker assigned to Dalia’s case, deciding whether to treat her plight as merely one more piece of paperwork, or as a full-blooded human crisis. As these individuals come together, a plot is formed to help Dalia. But soon laws are broken, friendships and marriages are tested, and lives are risked—all in an effort to protect one person from the dangerous sweep of an unjust world.
A vibrant portrait of a city in all its teeming chaos and glory, Live from Cairo is an exhilarating, electrifying debut, and a stunning testament to the unconquerable desire of people to rise above tragedy to seek love, friendship, humor, and joy.
Ian Bassingthwaighte was a Fulbright Grantee in Egypt in 2009, where he worked in a legal aid office that served refugees from Iraq, Sudan, and the Horn of Africa. He has been honored with Hopwood Awards for both novel writing and short fiction. He was also named as a finalist for the Daniel Pearl Investigative Journalism Initiative. His work has appeared in Esquire, National Geographic, the Chicago Tribune, The Sun, Tin House, The Rumpus, and many other publications. Live from Cairo is his first novel.
Literati is pleased to welcome Bianca Marais in support of her debut novel, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words.
Perfect for readers of The Secret Life of Bees and The Help, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words is a perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through one unique family brought together by tragedy.
Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a nine-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred… until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built and shatters their worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing.
Told through Beauty and Robin’s alternating perspectives, the interwoven narratives create a rich and complex tapestry of the emotions and tensions at the heart of Apartheid-era South Africa. Hum If You Don’t Know the Words is a beautifully rendered look at loss, racism, and the creation of family.
Bianca Marais holds a Certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto’s SCS, and her work has been published in World Enough and Crime. Before turning to writing, she started a corporate training company and volunteered with Cotlands, where she assisted care workers in Soweto with providing aid for HIV/AIDS orphans. Originally from South Africa, she now resides in Toronto with her husband.
Gregory A. Fournier received his bachelor and master’s degrees from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti while the Washtenaw County murders were occurring. He lived one block up the street from John Norman Collins and had several unpleasant brushes with him. Like so many other people in Ypsilanti, it was not until Collins was arrested and his photograph ran on the front pages that Greg could link a name with the face. He has first-hand knowledge of the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area and many of the people associated with these cases.
Greg has appeared on the Investigation Discovery Channel as a guest expert on John Norman Collins for their true crime series A Crime to Remember in an episode entitled “A New Kind of Monster.” He is the author of Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel and writes a blog entitled Fornology.
Between the summers of 1967 through 1969, a predatory killer stalked the campuses of Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan seeking prey until he made the arrogant mistake of killing his last victim in the basement of his uncle’s home. All-American boy John Norman Collins was arrested, tried, and convicted of the strangulation murder of Karen Sue Beineman. The other murders attributed to Collins never went to trial and soon became cold cases.
With the benefit of fifty years of hindsight, hundreds of vintage newspaper articles, thousands of police reports, and countless interviews, Terror in Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins Unmasked tells the stories of the other victims, recreates the infamous trial that took Collins off the streets, and details Collins’s time spent in prison. Terror in Ypsilanti compiles an array of physical and circumstantial evidence drawing an unmistakable portrait of the sadistic murderer who slaughtered these innocent young women.
All invited to read and discuss their poetry or short stories. Bring about 6 copies of your work to share. Hosted by local poets and former college English teachers Joe Kelty and Ed Morin.
7-9 p.m., Crazy Wisdom, 114 S. Main. Free. 665-2757
Readings by poet Clayton Eshleman. The program begins with an open mike for poets, who are welcome to read their own work or a favorite poem by another writer.
Clayton Eshleman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 1, 1935. He has a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A.T. in English Literature from Indiana University. He has lived in Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Peru, France, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. He is presently Professor Emeritus, English Department, Eastern Michigan University. Since 1986 he has lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan with his wife Caryl who over the past forty years has been the primary reader and editor of his poetry and prose. His first collection of poetry, Mexico & North, was published in Kyoto, Japan in 1962.
From 1968 to 2004, Black Sparrow Press brought out thirteen collection of his poetry. In 2006, Black Widow Press became his main publisher and with The Price of Experience (2012) has now brought out seven collections of his poetry, prose, and translations, including, in 2008, The Grindstone of Rapport / A Clayton Eshleman Reader. Wesleyan University Press has also published six of his books, including Juniper Fuse: Upper Paleolithic Imagination & the Construction of the Underworld (2003), the first study of Ice Age cave art by a poet. Three book length poems, An Anatomy of the Night, The Jointure, and Nested Dolls were published by BlazeVOX in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Eshleman has published sixteen collections of translations, including Watchfiends & Rack Screams by Antonin Artaud (Exact Change, 1995), The Complete Poetry of César Vallejo with a Foreword by Mario Vargas Llosa (University of California Press, 2007), and Aimé Césaire: The Collected Poetry (co-translated with Annette Smith, University of California Press, 1983). Recently Wesleyan University Press has brought out two more translations of Césaire: Solar Throat Slashed and The Original 1939 Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, both co-translated with A. James Arnold.
Eshleman also founded and edited two of the most innovative poetry journals of the later part of the 20th century: Caterpillar (20 issues, 1967-1973) and Sulfur (46 issues, 1981-2000). Doubleday-Anchor published A Caterpillar Anthology in 1971 and Wesleyan will publish a 700 page Sulfur Anthology in December of 2015.
Among his recognitions and awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, 1978; The National Book Award in Translation, 1979; two grants from the NEA, 1979, 1981; three grants from the NEH, 1980, 1981, 1988; two Landon Translation Prizes from the Academy of American Poets, 1981, 2008; 13 NEA grants for Sulfur magazine, 1983-1996; The Alfonse X. Sabio Award for Excellence in Translation, San Diego State University, 2002; a Rockefeller Study Center residency in Bellagio, Italy, 2004, and a Hemmingway Translation Grant in 2015.
Recent publications include a translation of José Antonio Mazzotti’s Sakra Boccata with a Foreword by Raúl Zurita (Ugly Duckling, 2013). In 2014 Black Widow Press published Clayton Eshleman / The Whole Art, an anthology of essays on Eshleman’s work over the decades, edited by Stuart Kendall. In the fall of 2015, Black Widow brought out Clayton Eshleman / The Essential Poetry 1960-2015 and in the fall of 2016 Wesleyan will bring out a 900 page bilingual edition of The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire, co-translated with A. James Arnold.
7 p.m., Bookbound, 1729 Plymouth, Courtyard Shops. Free. 369-4345.
Literati is delighted to welcome P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast in support of the latest novel in their House of Night series for teen readers, Loved.
About Loved: It’s Zoey’s eighteenth birthmas and the Nerd Herd has been scattered across the country busily adulting for almost a year when Stark calls them back to Tulsa to surprise Z. But all is not well in T-town. Strange, dark signs are appearing—could it be possible Neferet is stirring? Not willing to chance disaster striking again, Zoey calls on her newly reunited friends to circle with her and add a layer of protection over Neferet’s grotto jail. Easy-peasy, right?
Wrong. Nothing at the House of Night is ever as it seems. With rabid red vampyres closing in, Zoey and the Nerd Herd must come together again and battle evil. But a year is a long time. Have these old friends grown too far apart? When the world fractures and allies become enemies, will darkness devour friendships or will light save those she’s loved?
P.C. Cast is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author whose novels have been awarded the prestigious Oklahoma Book Award, as well as the Prism, Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, and more. She lives in Oregon with lots of dogs, cats, horses, and a burro.
Kristin Cast is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who teamed with her mother, P. C. Cast, to write the wildly successful House of Night series. She has a passion for all things paranormal.