Fiction at Literati: Robert James Russell ft. Ben Tanzer

Friday, September 25, 2015 - 7:00pm

Literati is pleased to welcome friend of the store Robert James Russell to launch his western novel, Mesilla. Reading with Robert will be Chicago-based author Ben Tanzer.

1863, New Mexico Territory. Shot full of holes and on the run from the relentless pursuit of his one-time friend now intent on retribution, Confederate deserter Everett Root finds himself navigating the brutal desert headed to the town of Mesilla.

“In a mounting gush of sumptuous prose, Robert James Russell’s Mesilla scrubs bare the elements of the classic Western—the wounded, questing hero, the damsel in distress, the phantasmal villain in hot pursuit—and reinvents them as existential meditation.”—Matthew Gavin Frank

“A shotgun marriage between classic and revisionist Western, Mesilla sings a hard-bitten practicality and brutal authenticity.” —Emily Schultz, author of The Blondes

A born and bred Michigander, Robert James Russell is the co-founding editor of the literary journal Midwestern Gothic, which aims to catalog the very best fiction of the Midwestern United States (an area he believes is ripe with its own mythologies and tall tales, yet often overlooked), as well as the micro-press MG Press. In 2013 he launched the online literary journal CHEAP POP, which publishes micro-fiction, 500 words or less.

Fascinated by regionalist literature and the intersection of place and relationships, his work has appeared in numerous publications, both print and online. His first novel, Sea of Trees, was published by Winter Goose Publishing in 2012. His first collection of stories, Don’t Ask Me to Spell It Out, was released in April 2015 by WhiskeyPaper Press.  His Western novel, Mesilla, will be released in September 2015 by Dock Street Press. He’s been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, and was awarded an artist residency with the University Musical Society for the 2014-2015 performance season.

Ben Tanzer is the author of the books My Father’s House, You Can Make Him Like You, So Different Now, Orphans and Lost in Space, among others. Ben can be found online at This Blog Will Change Your Life, the center of his growing lifestyle empire. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.


Event address: 
124 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104