Literati is excited to welcome back author Ann S. Epstein who will be sharing her latest novel Tazia and Gemma.
About Tazia and Gemma:
Spanning 1911 to 1961, Tazia and Gemma is told from the perspective of an unwed mother, whose tale moves forward in time, and her daughter, whose search for her father moves backward. Tazia, a pregnant seventeen-year-old Italian immigrant and survivor of the Triangle Waist Company fire, flees New York, leaving her married lover to think she miscarried the baby he urged her to abort. To support herself and her daughter Gemma, Tazia takes low-wage jobs as she migrates westward. Gemma, now fifty, embarks on an eastward journey to find her father, eventually tracing her roots to Italy. In the end, Tazia no longer needs to escape her history, while Gemma finds that her identity leads back to her mother. The narrative illuminates the tension between assimilation versus honoring one’s heritage, and confronts the struggle for self-respect in the face of discrimination and demeaning work conditions–issues both timely and timeless.
Ann S. Epstein writes novels, short stories, memoir, craft articles, and book reviews. She is the author of On the Shore (Vine Leaves Press, 2017) and A Brain. A Heart. The Nerve. (Alternative Book Press, 2018). Her other work appears in Sewanee Review (winner, Walter Sullivan Prize), PRISM International, Ascent, The Long Story, Saranac Review, The Madison Review, Passages North, Red Rock Review, William and Mary Review, Tahoma Literary Review, The Copperfield Review, The Normal School, Carbon Culture Review, Earth’s Daughters, The Offbeat, Wilderness House Literary Review, and other journals. In addition to writing, she has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology and M.F.A. in textiles. Her historical works mix fact and fiction, and she is gratified to have forgotten what is and is not real by the time a story is finished.
Readings by members of the 2018 Ann Arbor Youth Poetry Slam Team. The program begins with open mike readings.
7-8:30 p.m., Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, 123 W. Washington. Free. 994-6663.
Literati is thrilled to welcome author Lucy Tan who will be sharing with us her debut novel What We Were Promised. Lucy will be joined with author Lillian Li for a post-reading discussion.
About What We Were Promised:
Set in modern Shanghai, a debut by a Chinese-American writer about a prodigal son whose unexpected return forces his newly wealthy family to confront painful secrets and unfulfilled promises.
After years of chasing the American dream, the Zhen family has moved back to China. Settling into a luxurious serviced apartment in Shanghai, Wei, Lina, and their daughter, Karen, join an elite community of Chinese-born, Western-educated professionals who have returned to a radically transformed city.
One morning, in the eighth tower of Lanson Suites, Lina discovers that a treasured ivory bracelet has gone missing. This incident sets off a wave of unease that ripples throughout the Zhen household. Wei, a marketing strategist, bows under the guilt of not having engaged in nobler work. Meanwhile, Lina, lonely in her new life of leisure, assumes the modern moniker taitai-a housewife who does no housework at all. She is haunted by the circumstances surrounding her arranged marriage to Wei and her lingering feelings for his brother, Qiang. Sunny, the family’s housekeeper, is a keen but silent observer of these tensions. An unmarried woman trying to carve a place for herself in society, she understands the power of well-kept secrets. When Qiang reappears in Shanghai after decades on the run with a local gang, the family must finally come to terms with the past and its indelible mark on their futures.
From a silk-producing village in rural China, up the corporate ladder in suburban America, and back again to the post-Maoist nouveaux riches of modern Shanghai, What We Were Promised explores the question of what we owe to our country, our families, and ourselves.
Lucy Tan grew up in New Jersey and has spent much of her adult life in New York and Shanghai. She received her B.A. from New York University and her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded the 2016 August Derleth Prize. Her fiction has been published in journals such as Asia Literary Review and Ploughshares, where she was winner of the 2015 Emerging Writer’s Contest. This is her first novel.
Lillian Li received her BA from Princeton and her MFA from the University of Michigan. She is the recipient of a Hopwood Award in Short Fiction, as well as Glimmer Train‘s New Writer Award. Her work has been featured inGuernica, Granta , and Jezebel. She is from the D.C. metro area and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Local physician Anthony DeBenedet discusses his new book that explores the effects and benefits of qualities such as imagination, humor, and wonder. Signing. DeBenedet is also at Literati Aug. 14 (see listing).
7 p.m., Nicola’s, Westgate shopping center. Free. 662-0600.
Readings by fiction writers Jessi Gage (romance), J.D. Barker (thriller), and J.A. Thomas (romantic mysteries). Also, a silent auction of signed books, used book sale, and cat-themed crafts. Kids invited to read to adoptable cats. Snacks. Fundraiser for Crafty Cat Rescue, a no-kill shelter.
11 a.m.-4 p.m., Think Outside the Books, 2547 Ellsworth, Ypsilanti. Free admission. 680-2418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local short story writer Alex Kourvo and young adult novelist Bethany Neal discuss ways to create strong, catchy openings for novels, memoirs, and nonfiction stories. For all fiction & nonfiction writers grade 6-adult. Also, Kourvo & Neal host an open house for writers to connect with one another and/or work on their projects at 7 p.m. on Aug. 20.
7-8:45 p.m., AADL Westgate. Free. 327-4200.
Literati is thrilled to welcome author Daniel Abbott who will be reading from his debut novel The Concrete.
About The Concrete:
Set on the gritty southeast side of Grand Rapids, Michigan, an impoverished area known for drugs and violence, The Concrete centers around the home of Jackson and Mae Carter, foster parents of two boys–Isaac, who is white, and Miles, who is black–who share dark and intersecting histories that neither one is aware of. As the boys try to escape the grim reality of the violent streets–i.e. “the concrete”–in different ways–Isaac through basketball, Miles though music–the novel shifts back and forth in time, in the process revealing the story of an entangled community plagued by trauma and death, trying to confront the ghosts of its past, and seize a better life. A multi-point-of-view work of realistic and often graphic literary fiction, The Concrete is a striking debut that grapples with the effects of childhood trauma on teens, lost dreams, human sexuality, and the difficulties of marriage.
Daniel Abbott received his BA from Grand Valley State University and his MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He lives with his family in Grand Rapids, MI.
Literati is excited to welcome author Margaret Bradham Thornton who will be sharing her latest novel A Theory of Love.
About A Theory of Love:
A follow-up to her successful debut Charleston and set in the world’s most glamorous landscapes, this moving new love story from Margaret Bradham Thornton draws on a metaphor of entanglement theory to ask: when two people collide, are they forever attached no matter where they are?
Helen Gibbs, a British journalist on assignment on the west coast of Mexico, meets Christopher Delavaux, an intriguing half-French, half-American lawyer-turned-financier who has come alone to surf. Living lives that never stop moving, from their first encounter in Bermeja to marriage in London and travels to such places as Saint-Tropez, Tangier, and Santa Clara, Helen and Christopher must decide how much they exist for themselves and how much they exist for each other.
In an effort to build his firm, Christopher leads a life full of speed and ambition with little time for Helen and even less when he suspects his business partner of illegal activity. Helen, a reluctant voyeur to Christopher’s world of power and position, searches far and wide for reporting work that will “take a bite out of her soul”–refugees in Calais, a mountain climber in Chamonix, an orphaned circus performer in Cuba. A Theory of Love captures the ambivalence at the center of human experience: does one reside in the familiar comforts of solitude or dare to open one’s heart and risk having it broken? Set in some of the most picturesque places in the world, this novel questions what it means to love someone and leaves us wondering–can nothing save us but a fall?
Margaret Bradham Thornton is the author of Charleston and the editor of Tennessee Williams’s Notebooks, for which she received the Bronze ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award in autobiography/memoir and the C. Hugh Holman Prize for the best volume of southern literary scholarship published in 2006, given by the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Florida.
Aug. 7 & 21. 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 a biweekly theme. August themes: “Business” (Aug. 7) & “Destiny” (Aug. 21). The 3-person judging teams 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.