We welcome critic Donna Rifkin in support of her book, The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood.
About the book: The little-known story of screenwriter Salka Viertel, whose salons in 1930s and 40s Hollywood created a refuge for a multitude of famous figures who had escaped the horrors of World War ll.
Hollywood was created by its “others”; that is, by women, Jews, and immigrants. Salka Viertel was all three and so much more. She was the screenwriter for five of Greta Garbo’s movies and also her most intimate friend. At one point during the Irving Thalberg years, Viertel was the highest-paid writer on the MGM lot. Meanwhile, at her house in Santa Monica she opened her door on Sunday afternoons to scores of European émigrés who had fled from Hitler–such as Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, and Arnold Schoenberg–along with every kind of Hollywood star, from Charlie Chaplin to Shelley Winters. In Viertel’s living room (the only one in town with comfortable armchairs, said one Hollywood insider), countless cinematic, theatrical, and musical partnerships were born.
Viertel combined a modern-before-her-time sensibility with the Old-World advantages of a classical European education and fluency in eight languages. She combined great worldliness with great warmth. She was a true bohemian with a complicated erotic life, and at the same time a universal mother figure. A vital presence in the golden age of Hollywood, Salka Viertel is long overdue for her own moment in the spotlight.
Donna Rifkind‘s reviews appear frequently in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times Book Review. She has also been a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Times Literary Supplement, American Scholar, and other publications. In 2006 she was a finalist for the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle.
We’re pleased to welcome faculty members from the University of Michigan’s History Department as they present their recent publications. Copies of the titles will be available for purchase.
Howard Brick, et al., At the Center: American Thought and Culture in the Mid-Twentieth Century
Joshua Cole, Lethal Provocation: The Constantine Murders and the Politics of French Algeria
Juan Cole, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires
Henry Cowles, The Scientific Method: An Evolution of Thinking from Darwin to Dewey
Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof, Racial Migrations: New York City and the Revolutionary Politics of the Spanish Caribbean
Victoria Langland, et al., The Brazil Reader: History, Culture, Politics
Alexandra Minna Stern, Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right Is Warping the American Imagination
Ellen Muehlberger, Moment of Reckoning: Imagined Death and Its Consequences in Late Ancient Christianity
Perrin Selcer, The Cold War Origins of the Global Environment
Julius Scott, The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution
How can literature address a climate of growing intolerance and hate? How can empathy in literature be used to confront exclusionary discourses by examining their underlying agendas? Canadian novelist and crime & fantasy author (A Deadly Divide, Among The Ruins) Ausma Zehanat Khan will discuss the importance of counter-narratives that open up spaces for members of minority communities to speak. She explores questions of identity and belonging, marginalization and exclusion, through the lens of a Canadian Muslim detective who investigates crimes connected to global human rights issues. Through the stories she tells, she considers the disproportionate impact of these issues on minority communities, reflecting on how our understanding of justice is shaped by our ability to achieve it. Finally, she discusses the vital role literature can play in developing and deepening empathy, thus challenging intolerance and serving to defuse hate.
This event includes a signing with books for sale and is in partnership with the Department of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University.
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.
Before Grace Lin was an award-winning and NY Times bestselling author/illustrator of picturebooks, early readers and middle grade novels, she was the only Asian girl (except for her sisters) going to her elementary school in Upstate NY. That experience, good and bad, has influenced her books—including her Newbery Honor WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON, her Geisel Honor LING & TING, her National Book Finalist WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER and her Caldecott Honor A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTLE STAR.
That experience also causes Lin to persevere for diversity: She is an occasional New England Public Radio commentator, she gave a TEDx talk titled “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf,” and she authored a PBSNewHour video essay called “What to do when you realize classic books from your childhood are racist?” She continues this mission with her two podcasts kidlitwomen* and Book Friends Forever. In 2016, Lin’s art was displayed at the White House and Lin was recognized by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling.
Political strategist Dan Pfeiffer’s new book, Un-Trumping America, offers readers three critical insights: first, Trump is not an aberration, but rather the logical extension of the modern Republican Party; second, how Democrats can defeat Trump in 2020; and third, preventing the likes of Trump from ever happening again with a plan to fix democracy.
Un-Trumping America dismantles toxic Trumpism and offers a way forward. Dan Pfeiffer worked for nearly twenty years at the center of Democratic politics, from the campaign trail to Capitol Hill to Barack Obama’s White House. Here, Pfeiffer urges Democrats to embrace bold solutions—from fixing the courts to abolishing the electoral college to eliminating the filibuster—in order to make America more democratic (and Democratic).
This event is in partnership with Literati Bookstore and includes a signing with books for sale.
In A Citizen’s Guide to Beating Donald Trump, David Plouffe, former Obama campaign manager, offers an action plan for how we can put our country back on track without having to leave our jobs, move to Iowa, or spend every waking moment on the election. According to Plouffe, there are at least 65 million Americans who are likely committed to voting for a different path than what the President has plotted, and it is our responsibility to grow that number and make sure the support materializes in actual votes. Plouffe believes we can beat Donald Trump in 2020, and he has a plan every one of us can use.
Plouffe’s message is simple: the only way change happens, especially on this scale, is one human being talking to another. It won’t happen magically; it won’t happen because of debates and conventions—it will happen because of you. And your neighbor. Your babysitter. Your best friend. It relies on all of us—progressives, anti-Trump conservatives, used-to-be Republicans, third-party voters—banding together and familiarizing ourselves with the Democratic candidate’s policies so we can explain to a voter who is on the fence, or considering voting third party, that four more years of Trump will do nothing but wreak more irreparable havoc on our already-thinning democracy. It relies on us correcting fiction with fact. It relies on us empowering each other to do the right thing.
David Plouffe served as the campaign manager for Barack Obama’s primary and general election victories in 2008 and later joined the White House as a Senior Advisor, with responsibility for his re-election victory in 2012. He was previously a senior executive at Uber and currently leads policy and advocacy efforts at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. He lives in San Francisco, CA.
This event is in partnership with Literati Bookstore and includes a signing with 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.
This week’s reading features Zahir Janmohamed and Joumana Altallal.
Zahir Janmohamed is a fiction writer from Sacramento, California.
Joumana Altallal is an Iraqi-Lebanese poet and educator. Before moving to Ann Arbor, she lived in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Come out to a special storytime with author Aya Khalil. Her picture book follows an Egyptian-American girl who learns to appreciate her second language, Arabic, after a class project intended to celebrate everyone’s identity.
About the Book
Kanzi’s family recently moved from Egypt to America, and on her first day in a new school, what she wants more than anything is to fit in. Maybe that’s why she forgets to take the kofta sandwich for lunch, but that backfires when Mama shows up at school with the sandwich. Mama wears a hijab and calls her daughter Habibti (dear one). When she leaves, the teasing starts.
That night, Kanzi wraps herself in the beautiful Arabic quilt her teita (grandma) in Cairo gave her and writes a poem in Arabic about the quilt. Next day her teacher sees the poem and gets the entire class excited about creating a “quilt” (a paper collage) of student names in Arabic. In the end, Kanzi’s most treasured reminder of her old home provides a pathway for acceptance in her new one.
About the Author
Aya Khalil is a freelance journalist and educator. She holds a master’s degree in Education with a focus in Teaching English as a Second Language. THE ARABIC QUILT is based on true events growing up, when she immigrated to the US from EGYPT at the age of one with her older brother and parents. Her articles have been published in The Huffington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Post & Courier, Toledo Area Parent, and more. She’s been featured in Yahoo!, Teen Vogue, Book Riot and more. She lives in Toledo with her husband and three children. Visitwww.ayakhalil.com for more information.
About the Illustrator
The illustrator is Anait Semirdzhayan, who lives in the Seattle area with her husband and children. The Arabic Quilt is the fifth picture book she has illustrated.
Living in Detroit, Nadine Marshall is a poet, avid reader, collaborator, and curator with an MSW and B.S. in Psychology/African American Studies. Their work intimately explores the intersection of being genderless, black, and queer – asking what was to lead to what is. Nadine is interested in using literary art, poetry specifically, to build communities with radical hope and love. Their words have reached the audiences of TEDxUofM, The National Poetry Slam, The Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam, CUPSI, the ShadeJournal, and Freezeray Poetry Journal.