Join us for a thought-provoking conversation about the culprits of and solutions for the largest issues facing the world today.
The Erb Institute is proud to host an evening with Anand Giridharadas, author of the National Best Seller, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. This candid conversation will examine the role of business in society, the flaws of philanthropy and the possibility of changing the world from the ground up. We’ll discuss climate change—culprits, challenges and collaboration for progress—social inequality—who’s winning, who’s losing and why—and what needs to change.
Seating will be on a first come first served basis. Book signing in partnership with Literati to immediately follow the event.
We welcome New York Times bestselling author Tim Johnston in support of his new novel The Current. Free and open to the public, book signing to follow.
About the book: In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their car from the icy Black Root River. One is found downriver, drowned, while the other is found at the scene—half frozen but alive.
What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens the community’s memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may still live among them.
Determined to find answers, the surviving young woman soon realizes that she’s connected to the earlier unsolved case by more than just a river, and the deeper she plunges into her own investigation, the closer she comes to dangerous truths, and to the violence that simmers just below the surface of her hometown.
Grief, suspicion, the innocent and the guilty—all stir to life in this cold northern town where a young woman can come home, but still not be safe. Brilliantly plotted and unrelentingly propulsive, The Current is a beautifully realized story about the fragility of life, the power of the past, and the need, always, to fight back.
Tim Johnston, a native of Iowa City, is the author of The Current and the New York Times bestseller Descent, as well as a young adult novel, Never So Green, and the story collection Irish Girl, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction.
We welcome acclaimed writer Mark Z. Danielewski in support of The Little Blue Kite, as part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati Series. A book signing will follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book: We all have fears, but if we can’t face the small ones how will we face the big ones? Kai is afraid to fly a little blue kite. But Kai is also very, very brave, and overcoming this small fear will lead him on a great adventure.
Remember: all great adventures start with one little moment. You know the one. It’s like a gentle breeze whispering in your ear what you already know by heart: not even the sky is the limit . . .
Mark Danielewski is the author of some pretty complicated books. The Little Blue Kite, though, is pretty simple. And, sure, maybe there is more here than just big beautiful skies, but who are we to start babbling about the virtues of letting go, especially in a bio, which is really where we should just say the author lives in California with his wife, daughter, and two cats, Archimedes and Meifumado, all of whom know that the wonderful thing about flying a kite is that in the end you don’t even need a kite.
Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. A highly skilled diplomat, Ambassador Ross was U.S. point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.
Jeff Kass is bringing the poetry and we are supplying the pizza. Teacher/Pizza Guy is a funny and relatable collection for readers, thinkers, educators, and pizza lovers everywhere. Kass will be joined by local high school poets.
About the Book
Teacher/Pizza Guy is a collection of autobiographical poems from the 2016–17 school year in which Jeff Kass worked as a full-time English teacher and a part-time director for a literary arts organization and still had to supplement his income by delivering pizzas a few nights a week. In the collection, Kass is unapologetically political without distracting from the poems themselves but rather adds layers and nuances to the fight for the middle class and for educators as a profession.
The timing of this book is beyond relevant. As a public high school teacher in America, Kass’s situation is not uncommon. In September 2018, Time published an article detailing the ways in which many public school teachers across the country and in a variety of environments work multiple jobs to help make ends meet. Teacher/Pizza Guy chronicles Kass’s experience of teaching, directing, feeding people, and treading the delicate balance of holding himself accountable to his wife and kids, his students, his customers, and his own mental and physical health while working three jobs in contemporary America. The journey of that year was draining, at times daunting, at times satisfying, but always surprising. Many of the ideas for these poems were initially scribbled onto the backs of pizza receipts or scratched out during precious free moments amidst the chaos of the school day. A driving force behind the book is Philip Levine’s poem “What Work Is,” which Kass believes attempts to examine not only the dignity and complexity of what we think physical, tangible work is but also the exhausting, albeit sometimes fulfilling nature of emotional work.
About the Author
Jeff Kass teaches tenth-grade English and creative writing at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is the founder of the Literary Arts Program at Ann Arbor’s teen center, The Neutral Zone, where he was program director for twenty years. He is also the author of the award-winning short story collection Knuckleheads, the poetry collection My Beautiful Hook-Nosed Beauty Queen Strut Wave, and the thriller Takedown. He lives in Ann Arbor with the author Karen Smyte and their children, Sam and Julius
Plessy v. Ferguson is synonymous with Jim Crow laws and the unjust legal doctrine of “separate but equal.” But few Americans know more than the name of the case and have just a superficial understanding of its origins and outcome. Joins us as award-winning author Steve Luxenberg discusses one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the 19th century and his award-winning new book Separate: The Story of Plessy V. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation.
This sweeping, swiftly paced, and richly detailed book is essential reading for any American looking to understand racism, the long struggle for civil rights, and the deep, often surprising history of our nation’s most devastating divide. On June 7, 1892 Homer Plessy, a light-skinned Creole bought a first-class ticket on the East Louisiana Railroad, boarding the whites-only first-class car. The train conductor promptly arrested him. The resulting case Plessy v. Ferguson (Ferguson was the state judge that ruled against Plessy and upheld the state’s law) was argued before the Supreme Court in 1896. Drawing from letters, diaries, and archival collections, and weaving biography, history, and legal drama together on a grand scale, Luxenberg recreates the personalities and debates that informed the Court’s decision and shaped race relations for generations.
The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation was named a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and was longlisted for the 2019 Cundill History Prize. As a work in progress, it won the 2016 J. Anthony Lukas Award for excellence in nonfiction. Steve Luxenberg is an associate editor at The Washington Postand an award-winning author. During his forty years as an editor and reporter, Steve has overseen reporting that has earned many national honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes. His first book, the critically-acclaimed Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret, was a 2010 Michigan Notable Book and the 2013-14 Great Michigan Read. Steve lives in Baltimore.
This event will be followed by a book signing with books available for sale.
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.
Anelise Chen is the author of So Many Olympic Exertions (Kaya Press 2017), an experimental novel that blends elements of sportswriting, memoir, and self-help. A finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, the novel challenges modes of contemporary mythmaking and the validity and usefulness of our current narratives of success.
Chen’s essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, such as the NY Times, New Republic, Village Voice, and BOMB Magazine. She has received residencies and fellowships from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Blue Mountain Center, Banff Centre, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and she is currently a 2019-2020 Literature Fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Columbia University.
Chen is currently at work on a hybrid memoir, Clam Down (One World Random House), based on her mollusk column for the Paris Review. Bringing to mind Helen MacDonald, Rebecca Solnit, and Maggie Nelson, Chen transforms the ordinary clam into an unlikely metaphor for deep self-examination—how the specific shells we build for ourselves reflect our experiences of grief, assimilation, and connection.
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
We welcome law professor Joshua A. Douglas in support of his book, Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting. A book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public.
About the book: In contrast to the anxiety surrounding our voting system, with stories about voter suppression and manipulation, there are actually quite a few positive initiatives toward voting rights reform. Professor Joshua A. Douglas, an expert on our electoral system, examines these encouraging developments in this inspiring book about how regular Americans are working to take back their democracy, one community at a time. Told through the narratives of those working on positive voting rights reforms, Douglas includes chapters on expanding voter eligibility, easing voter registration rules, making voting more convenient, enhancing accessibility at the polls, providing voters with more choices, finding ways to comply with voter ID rules, giving redistricting back to the voters, pushing back on big money through local and state efforts, using journalism to make the system more accountable, and improving civics education. At the end, the book includes an appendix that lists organizations all over the country working on these efforts. Unusually accessible for a lay audience and thoroughly researched, this book gives anyone fed up with our current political environment the ideas and tools necessary to affect change in their own communities.
Joshua A. Douglas is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law. His most recent scholarship focuses on the constitutional right to vote, with an emphasis on state constitutions, as well as the various laws, rules, and judicial decisions impacting election administration. He has also written extensively on election law procedure. He is a coauthor of an election-law case book and a coeditor of Election Law Stories, which tells the behind-the-scenes stories of the major cases in the field. In addition, his media commentaries have appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, Reuters, the Washington Post, Politico, the Atlantic, Huffington Post, and Slate, among other outlets, and he has been quoted in major newspapers such as the New York Times and theWashington Post. He appeared live on CNN on Election Day 2016.
Lopez will join us for the evening to examine the lasting damage done by a daylong act of collaborative immigration enforcement in Washtenaw County, Michigan. He will share his title Separated, where Lopez discusses deportation’s rippling negative effects on families, communities, and individuals and reveals efforts to cope with trauma, avoid homelessness, handle worsening health, and keep families together.
About the Book
In Separated, Lopez examines the lasting damage done by a daylong act of collaborative immigration enforcement in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Exploring the chaos of enforcement through the lens of community health, Lopez discusses deportation’s rippling negative effects on families, communities, and individuals and reveals efforts to cope with trauma, avoid homelessness, handle worsening health, and keep families together.
About the Author
William Lopez is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and collaborates and organizes with the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights and Washtenaw ID Project. He lives in Ann Arbor with his partner and two children.