We welcome Benjamin Pauli to the store to read and discuss his book, Flint Fights Back, an account of the Flint water crisis which shows that Flint’s struggle for safe and affordable water is part of a broader struggle for democracy. The event is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.
When Flint, Michigan, changed its source of municipal water from Lake Huron to the Flint River, Flint residents were repeatedly assured that the water was of the highest quality. At the switchover ceremony, the mayor and other officials performed a celebratory toast, declaring “Here’s to Flint!” and downing glasses of freshly treated water. But as we now know, the water coming out of residents’ taps harbored a variety of contaminants, including high levels of lead. In Flint Fights Back, Benjamin Pauli examines the water crisis and the political activism that it inspired, arguing that Flint’s struggle for safe and affordable water was part of a broader struggle for democracy. Pauli connects Flint’s water activism with the ongoing movement protesting the state of Michigan’s policy of replacing elected officials in financially troubled cities like Flint and Detroit with appointed “emergency managers.”
Pauli distinguishes the political narrative of the water crisis from the historical and technical narratives, showing that Flint activists’ emphasis on democracy helped them to overcome some of the limitations of standard environmental justice frameworks. He discusses the pro-democracy (anti-emergency manager) movement and traces the rise of the “water warriors”; describes the uncompromising activist culture that developed out of the experience of being dismissed and disparaged by officials; and examines the interplay of activism and scientific expertise. Finally, he explores efforts by activists to expand the struggle for water justice and to organize newly mobilized residents into a movement for a radically democratic Flint.
Benjamin J. Pauli is Assistant Professor of Social Science at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.
We welcome debut novelist Maureen Joyce Connolly for an event in support of Little Lovely Things, which bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard called “a shattering adventure.” The event is free and open to the public. A signing will follow.
It is the wrong time to get sick. Speeding down the highway on the way to work, her two little girls sleeping in the back seat, medical resident Claire Rawlings doesn’t have time for the nausea overtaking her. But as the world tilts sideways, she pulls into a gas station, runs to the bathroom, and passes out. When she wakes up minutes later, her car—and her daughters—are gone.
The police have no leads, and the weight of guilt presses down on Claire as each hour passes with no trace of her girls. All she has to hold on to are her strained marriage, a potentially unreliable witness who emerges days later, and the desperate but unquenchable belief that her daughters are out there somewhere.
As hopeful and uplifting as it is devastating, Little Lovely Things is the story of a family shattered by unthinkable tragedy, and the unexpected intersection of heartbreak and hope.
Maureen Joyce Connolly is a former owner of a consulting firm that helped develop medications for ultra-rare diseases. While she misses her old career, she loves being a full-time writer. Maureen received her bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and her master’s degree in liberal studies from Wesleyan University. Her background and love for science and the natural world informs and inspires her writing. Little Lovely Things is her debut novel.
Join Black and Brown Theatre for an interactive workshop exploring the role of a playwright and their relationship to actors. In this workshop, participants will learn how to write their own simple one-minute scene which will culminate in a live performance of this new work by actors from Black and Brown Theatre. This conservatory approach allows participants to see in real time how important every word is to a playwright and how both challenging and rewarding it can be to communicate intentions using only words.
Black and Brown Theatre is a 501c3 non-profit theatre company celebrating the voices of theatre artists of color and creating work for all audiences. Since their premiere performance in 2016, Black and Brown Theatre has been busy performing all over the Midwest with their improv shows, scripted stage plays, and outreach shows for students. In addition to performing, Black and Brown Theatre also teaches community workshops to inspire others to engage in the act of creating live theatre. They also have a free database of over 100 actors of color currently used by over 80 directors to help cast plays, films and other special projects. For more information, please visit: www.BlackandBrownTheatre.org
We welcome Ann Arborites Patti F. Smith and Britain Woodman in support of their new book, Vanishing Ann Arbor. Free and open to the public. Signing to follow.
About the book: Ann Arbor has seen many cherished landmarks and institutions come and go—some fondly remembered and others lost to time. When the city was little more than a village in the wilderness, its first school stood on the now busy corner of Main and Ann. Stores like Bach & Abel’s and Dean & Co. served local needs as the village grew into a small town. As the town became a thriving city, Drake’s and Maude’s fed generations of hungry diners, and Fiegel’s clothed father and son alike. Residents passed their time seeing movies at the Majestic or watching parades go down Main Street. Join authors Patti F. Smith and Britain Woodman on a tour of the city’s past.
Patti F. Smith is the author of Downtown Ann Arbor and A History of the People’s Food Co-op Ann Arbor. She has written for CraftBeer.com, West Suburban Living, Concentrate, Mittenbrew, The Ann, AADL’s Pulp blog and the Ann Arbor Observer. A frequent public speaker around town, Patti curated HERsay (an all-woman variety show) and Grown Folks Reading (story time for grownups) and tells stories at Ignite, Nerd Nite, Tellabration and Telling Tales Out of School. She is a commissioner for the Public Art Commission and the Recreation Advisory Commission, a teacher of history for Rec & Ed and a storyteller in the Ann Arbor Storytellers’ Guild.
Britain Woodman lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A fascination with how the same brands and concepts fit into different communities led him to document them, first in in photographs and then in long-form writing. This writing led to speaking and, ultimately, to authoring this volume with Ann Arbor’s preeminent living historian, Patti F. Smith. Ideally, he would be out visiting every city’s beloved, vanishing places, but working on this book was cool too.
Let’s take a walk—a long walk, back over three centuries. At the dawn of the eighteenth century Detroit was established as simply an outpost for the French to take advantage of the fur trade while keeping the British at bay. The new book Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline, by Paul Vachon, points out many of the seminal events and noteworthy turning points of Detroit’s long journey, some little known: the city’s fall to the British during the War of 1812, the existence of slavery in Detroit as late as the 1820’s, and Mayor Hazen Pingree’s aggressive advocacy for the everyday citizen against corporate interests. Chapters devoted to the twentieth century highlight Detroit’s underappreciated architectural heritage, the development of its notable cultural institutions, as well as the exploits of assorted scoundrels, such as the Black Legion, the Purple Gang, Harry Bennett and Father Charles Coughlin.
Author Paul Vachon will join us to discuss and show images from Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline.
Martin Bandyke of Ann Arbor’s 107one will host this presentation. The event includes a book signing and books will be on sale.
We welcome Edgar Award finalist Paul Doiron as he reads from the latest installment of his bestselling Mike Bowditch series, Almost Midnight. Signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About Almost Midnight: In this thrilling entry in Edgar Award finalist Paul Doiron’s bestselling series, a deadly attack on one of Maine’s last wild wolves leads Game Warden Mike Bowditch to an even bigger criminal conspiracy.
While on vacation, Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch receives a strange summons from Billy Cronk, one of his oldest friends and a man he had to reluctantly put behind bars for murder. Billy wants him to investigate a new female prison guard with a mysterious past, and Mike feels honor-bound to help his friend. But when the guard becomes the victim in a brutal attack at the prison, he realizes there may be a darker cover-up at play–and that Billy and his family might be at risk.
Then Mike receives a second call for help, this time from a distant mountain valley where Shadow, a wolf-hybrid he once cared for, has been found shot by an arrow and clinging to life. He searches for the identity of the bowman, but his investigation is blocked at every turn by the increasingly hostile community. And when Billy’s wife and children are threatened, Mike finds himself tested like never before. How can he possibly keep the family safe when he has enemies of his own on his trail?
Torn between loyalties, Mike Bowditch must respond in the only way he knows how: by bending every law and breaking every rule to keep his loved ones safe and the true predators at bay.
A native of Maine, bestselling author Paul Doiron attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English. The Poacher’s Son, the first book in the Mike Bowditch series, won the Barry award, the Strand award for best first novel, and has been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity awards in the same category. He is a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine with his wife, Kristen Lindquist.
We welcome Edward Renehan as he discusses his latest, a biography of Michigan entrepreneur, industrialist, banker, mayor, and sometimes cowboy Charles Stewart Mott. Signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book: The name Charles Stewart Mott is today most widely recognizable when used in connection with the word Foundation. Established by the General Motors mogul in 1926, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has made grants in excess of $3 billion over the past nine decades, both in Mott’s adopted hometown of Flint, Michigan, and around the world. But philanthropy is only one reason the life of Mott—entrepreneur, industrialist, banker, mayor, and sometimes even cowboy—is worth knowing about today.
Mott was born ten years after the death of Abraham Lincoln and one year before the 1876 centennial of the founding of the United States. He not only lived through the most dramatic technological shift and period of economic growth that had yet been known, but he actively participated in and contributed to these events as a major innovator and leader at General Motors, as a public official, and as a philanthropist who in many ways reinvented the nonprofit model. Known widely as Mr. Flint, Mott was elected three times as the city’s mayor and played a central role in modernizing and expanding its infrastructure and institutions. In office, Mott helped transform Flint from a town capable of efficiently accommodating a population of roughly thirteen thousand in the first decade of the twentieth century to a modern metropolis capable of hosting an industrial middle class of more than one hundred thousand.
This vivid biography portrays a complex, brilliant, often contradictory, and ultimately fascinating man. His life—both as a record of himself and as a reflection of his times—makes for a good and important story that will be enjoyed by readers interested in Michigan history and politics, the automotive industry, and global philanthropy.
Edward Renehan is author of over 20 books, including Dark Genius of Wall Street: The Misunderstood Life of Jay Gould, King of the Robber Barons and The Lion’s Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War.
Crazy Wisdom Poetry Series hosted by Joe Kelty, Ed Morin, and David Jibson • Second and Fourth Wednesdays, 7-9 p.m. in the Crazy Wisdom Tea Room • Second Wednesdays are poetry workshop nights. All writers welcome to share and discuss their own poetry and short fiction. Sign up for new participants begins at 6:45 p.m.
Fourth Wednesdays have a featured reader for 50 minutes and then open mic for an hour. All writers welcome to share. Sign up begins at 6:45 p.m. Free. Contact Ed at 668-7523; firstname.lastname@example.org or cwpoetrycircle.tumblr.com.
As part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati Series, we welcome Zach Powers in support of his novel, First Cosmic Velocity, a stunningly imaginative novel about the Cold War, the Russian space program, and the amazing fraud that pulled the wool over the eyes of the world. Free and open to the public. Book signing to follow.
About the book: It’s 1964 in the USSR, and unbeknownst even to Premier Khrushchev himself, the Soviet space program is a sham. Well, half a sham. While the program has successfully launched five capsules into space, the Chief Designer and his team have never successfully brought one back to earth. To disguise this, they’ve used twins. But in a nation built on secrets and propaganda, the biggest lie of all is about to unravel.
By turns grim and whimsical, fatalistic and deeply hopeful, First Cosmic Velocity is a sweeping novel of the heights of mankind’s accomplishments, the depths of its folly, and the people–and canines–with whom we create family.
Zach Powers is the author of Gravity Changes, which won the BOA Short Fiction Prize, and his work has appeared in such places as American Short Fiction, Black Warrior Review, The Conium Review, and the Tin House blog. First Cosmic Velocity is his first novel.
As part of our ongoing Poetry at Literati Series, we welcome Valencia Robin in support of her debut collection, Ridiculous Light.
Valencia Robin’s first collection of poems, Ridiculous Light, won Persea Books’ 2018 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. A visual artist as well as a poet, her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in the New York Times, TriQuarterly, Foundry, Black Renaissance Noire, Kweli, The Cortland Review and elsewhere. Says Diana Whitney of the San Francisco Chronicle about Ridiculous Light: “These are praise poems for a dark time, musical poems that conjure up stories, transcendent poems to give to your mother, your lover, your friends, yourself.” The New York Times says: “The narrative lyrics in this debut collection travel from intimate to socio-historical and back again, finding room for routine wonders.” A Cave Canem Fellow, Valencia Robin holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia and an MFA in Art & Design from the University of Michigan. She currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. For more information, please see: valenciarobin.com