Fiction is all about characters: the heroes we love, the villains we hate, and the sidekicks that feel like our friends. But how do these essential characters drive the story? In this workshop, Alex Kourvo will show you how to write characters as real as the people we know.
This program is part of the monthly Emerging Writers Workshops, which offer support, learning, and advice for local authors. Each month, two weeks after the workshop, there is a meet-up where the instructors will read samples of your work and offer advice and assistance in a casual, supportive atmosphere.
Do you have a completed manuscript? Consider submitting it to the library’s imprint Fifth Avenue Press.
We’re pleased to welcome the beloved author of The Undertaking in support of his latest, The Depositions: New and Selected Essays on Being and Ceasing to Be. The author will be in conversation with poet Keith Taylor. Signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book:
For nearly four decades, poet, essayist, and small-town funeral director Thomas Lynch has probed relations between the literary and mortuary arts. His life’s work with the dead and the bereaved has informed four previous collections of nonfiction, each exploring identity and humanity with Lynch’s signature blend of memoir, meditation, gallows humor, and poetic precision.
The Depositions provides an essential selection from these masterful collections—essays on fatherhood, Irish heritage, funeral rites, and the perils of bodiless obsequies—as well as new essays in which the space between Lynch’s hyphenated identities—as an Irish American, undertaker-poet—is narrowed by the deaths of poets, the funerals of friends, the loss of neighbors, intimate estrangements, and the slow demise of a beloved dog.
As Alan Ball writes in a penetrating foreword, Lynch’s work allows us “to see both the absurdity and the beauty of death, sometimes simultaneously.” With this landmark collection, he continues to illuminate not only how we die, but also how we live.
Thomas Lynch has authored five collections of poetry, one of stories, and four books of essays. His first, The Undertaking, won the Heartland Prize for Non-Fiction and the American Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, Harper’s Magazine, and the New York Times, among other publications. He works as a funeral director in Milford, Michigan, and teaches at the Bear River Writer’s Conference.
Open-mic storytelling competitions. Open to anyone with a five-minute story to share on the night’s theme. Come tell a story, or just enjoy the show!
6:30pm Doors Open | 7:30pm Stories Begin
*Tickets for this event are available one week before the show, at 3pm ET.
*Seating is not guaranteed and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please be sure to arrive at least 10 minutes before the show. Admission is not guaranteed for late arrivals. All sales final.
BEG BORROW STEAL: Prepare a five-minute story about need, desire, and greed. Extraordinary measures. Swindles, heists and deals with the devil. Robin Hood or hood-winked. Making “it” happen by any means necessary….
We are delighted to welcome the publisher and three contributors to this intersectional collection of essays, fiction, and poetry featuring black, Latinx, Asian, queer, and trans writers for a panel discussion!
About the book: “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,” said Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford when she testified to congress in September 2018 about the men who victimized her. A year earlier, in October 2017, the hashtag #MeToo shone a light on the internalized, normalized sexual harassment and abuse that’d been ubiquitous for women for generations.
Among the first books to emerge from the #MeToo movement, Indelible in the Hippocampus is a truly intersectional collection of essays, fiction, and poetry. These original texts sound the voices of black, Latinx, Asian, queer, and trans writers, to name but a few, and says “me too” 23 times. Whether reflecting on their teenage selves or their modern-day workplaces, each contributor approaches the subject with unforgettable authenticity and strength.
Together these pieces create a portrait of cultural sea-change, offering the reader a deeper understanding of this complex, galvanizing pivot in contemporary consciousness.
Nandi Comer is the author of the American Family: A Syndrome (Finishing Line Press) and Tapping Out (Northwestern University Press, May, 2020). She is a Cave Canem fellow as well as a Callaloo fellow. She is a 2019 Kresge Artist Fellow. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Muzzle, The Offing and Southern Indiana Review.
Emily Jace McLaughlin is a fiction writer and screenwriter. Her short stories have appeared in Catapult, VICE, Cutbank, and Fiction, among other journals. She is a graduate of the Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, where she won Hopwood Awards for her novel, short fiction, essays and play, and where she currently teaches. She formerly wrote for Warner Brothers Television.
Polly Rosenwaike’s story collection, Look How Happy I’m Making You, was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ “Best Short Story Collections of 2019,” and Glamour’s “Best Books of 2019.” She works as a freelance editor in Ann Arbor and is the Fiction Editor for Michigan Quarterly Review.
Amanda Uhle is Executive Director and Publisher of McSweeney’s, known for its award-winning quarterly literary journal, humor website and eclectic book publishing program. She is co-founder, with Dave Eggers, of The International Congress of Youth Voices. For more than 11 years, Uhle was executive director 826michigan, a nonprofit tutoring and writing center for school-aged students in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Ypsilanti. Trained as a journalist, she writes independently and is sometimes host of the author interview radio program and podcast, Living Writers. She remains involved with numerous youth writing organizations in Michigan and around the world, supporting their fundraising and programming as a volunteer consultant. She’s a board member of Choose Yourself, a youth-led organization working to raise fearless girls and young women in the nations of Africa and in the United States
$5 suggested donation for food, drinks and printing costs.
There was a time when the word “job” was a pejorative term. Now, many people around the world think a job—any job—to be a blessing, essential to thrive; even, survive. Frithjof Bermann will give a short reading from his book, recently released in English, New Work, New Culture, in which he skewers what he calls the “Job System” of organizing work, as being outdated and dysfunctional. He proposes an alternative. After his reading, there will be an audience discussion.
Frithjof H. Bergmann is emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan.
This event includes books for sale.
One MFA student of fiction and one of poetry, each introduced by a peer, will read their work. The Mark Webster Reading Series presents emerging writers in a warm and relaxed setting. We encourage you to bring your friends – a Webster reading makes for an enjoyable and enlightening Friday evening.
Come with questions, a work in progress, or an empty notebook and meet other writers! ALL writers are welcome in this casual, supportive environment. NEW: in 2020 we will now have a special guest each month who specializes in one area. This month, author Alex Kourvo will be joined by Merrie Haskell, who specializes in Middle Grade Novels for children. Both authors will answer questions, share resources, and provide private, one-on-one critiques if you choose to have them read your work. Sharing your writing with other attendees is not required and is completely voluntary.
The Emerging Writers Meet-Up is an excellent opportunity to meet your fellow Ann Arbor writers and get feedback from published authors. This monthly meet-up welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects. Do you have a completed manuscript? Consider submitting it to the library’s new imprint, Fifth Avenue Press.
$5 suggested donation for food, drinks and printing costs.
Remember being cozy under a blanket or cuddled up in your favorite library corner while your teacher, librarian or parent read a book to you? We never outgrow our love of hearing a good story so join us for Grown Folks Story Time: Winter Stinks!
Our host is the incomparable Patti Smith who will be joined by author Ken MacGregor and other local folks sharing original stories and twists on childhood favorites. Pajamas, blankets, and pillows encouraged. Light refreshments.
NOT FOR CHILDREN!!
There may be profanity, bad jokes, and pseudo-intellectual banter…