Isaac Fitzgerald: Dirtbag, Massachusetts

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 - 6:30pm


We welcome Isaac Fitzgerald to celebrate the paperback launch of his book Dirtbag, Massachusetts, in conversation with Amanda Uhle.

About The Book: Isaac Fitzgerald has lived many lives. He's been an altar boy, a bartender, a fat kid, a smuggler, a biker, a prince of New England. But before all that, he was a bomb that exploded his parents' lives-or so he was told. In Dirtbag, Massachusetts, Fitzgerald, with warmth and humor, recounts his ongoing search for forgiveness, a more far-reaching vision of masculinity, and a more expansive definition of family and self.

Fitzgerald's memoir-in-essays begins with a childhood that moves at breakneck speed from safety to violence, recounting an extraordinary pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to bartending in San Francisco, from smuggling medical supplies into Burma to his lifelong struggle to make peace with his body, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story: one that aims to put aside anger, isolation, and entitlement to embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others.

Gritty and clear-eyed, loud-hearted and beautiful, Dirtbag, Massachusetts is a rollicking book that might also be a lifeline.

Isaac Fitzgerald appears frequently on The Today Show and is the author of the bestselling children's book How to Be a Pirate as well as the co-author of Pen & Ink and Knives & Ink (winner of an IACP Award). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Best American Nonrequired Reading, and numerous other publications. He lives in Brooklyn.

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, along with Illustoria, an art and storytelling magazine for readers ages 6 to 11. She is co-founder, with Dave Eggers, of The International Congress of Youth Voices and co-editor of the I, Witness series of first-person stories by youth activists, published by Norton for Young Readers. She’s the occasional host of the author interview radio program and podcast, Living Writers. 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. Uhle is deeply involved with numerous youth writing organizations, as documented in Unnecessarily Beautiful Spaces for Young Minds on Fire, and serves on the board of Young Authors Greenhouse in Louisville, Kentucky. Her writing has appeared in The Washington PostPolitico Magazine, NewsweekThinkProgressThe Boston GlobeDelacorte Review, and elsewhere.

Event address: 
124 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional By Isaac Fitzgerald Cover Image
ISBN: 9781639731640
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - November 7th, 2023