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Margaret Lazarus Dean & Christopher Hebert

Literati is delighted to welcome Margaret Lazarus Dean and Christopher Hebert back to Ann Arbor, in celebration of their recent (staff-favorite!) works. 

Christopher Hebert's Angels of Detroit draws us into the lives and voices of multiple characters struggling to define their futures in this desolate landscape: a scrappy group of activists trying to save the city with placards and protests; a curious child who knows the blighted city as her own personal playground; an elderly great-grandmother eking out a community garden in an oil-soaked patch of dirt; a carpenter with an explosive idea of how to give the city a new start; a confused idealist who has stumbled into debt to a human trafficker; a weary corporate executive who believes she is doing right by the city she remembers at its prime—each of these characters’ desires are as distinct as their voices, and their visions for a better city are on a collision course. In this propulsive, masterfully plotted epic, an urban wasteland whose history is plagued with riots and unrest is reimagined as an ambiguous new frontier—a site of tenacity, possibility, even hope. Driven by struggle and suspense, and shot through with a startling empathy, Christopher Hebert’s magnificent second novel unspools an American story for our time.

“A humbler, more endearing bunch of rainbow-hued misfits never fumbled their broken-hearted way towards revolution than those we meet in Christopher Hebert’s Angels of Detroit–truly a novel of our moment, both in the way it stares unsentimentally at the real trouble we are in–a world of poisoned children and cities in ruins–and in the deep and detailed empathy it shows for characters of every class and provenance. Hebert gets Detroit right, in this beautifully made book: his careful drawing of its physical catastrophe locates the city at the exact boundary between gritty-real and surreal, between last hope and post-apocalyptic nightmare.”—Jaimy Gordon, author of the National Book Award-winning Lord of Misrule

Christopher Hebert is the author of the novels Angels of Detroit and The Boiling Season, winner of the 2013 Friends of American Writers award. He is also co-editor of Stories of Nation: Fictions, Politics, and the American Experience (forthcoming from UT Press). His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such publications as FiveChapters, Cimarron Review, Narrative, Interview, and the Millions. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and is editor-at-large for the University of Michigan Press. Currently he lives in Knoxville, TN, where he is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Tennessee.


Margaret Lazarus Dean's Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. In the 1960s, humans took their first steps away from the earth, and for a time our possibilities in space seemed endless. But in a period of austerity and in the wake of high-profile disasters like Challenger, that dream has ended. In early 2011, Margaret Lazarus Dean traveled to Cape Canaveral for NASA’s last three space shuttle launches in order to bear witness to the end of an era. With Dean as our guide to Florida’s Space Coast and to the history of NASA, Leaving Orbit takes the measure of what American spaceflight has achieved while reckoning with its earlier witnesses like Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and Oriana Fallaci. Along the way Dean meets NASA workers, astronauts, and space fans, gathering possible answers to the question: what does it mean that a spacefaring nation won’t be going to space anymore?

“Margaret Lazarus Dean is that rarest of hybrids, the dearest of hyphenates. She brings to science such exquisite sentence making, to futurism the sound anchorage of the past, to space travel the tidings of personal journey. Journalist, essayist, memoirist and storyteller—her prized text shows Americans, each and every, how we came to be the ones we are. And where we’re going. This is rocket science, reliable witness, replete with poetry.”—Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking

Margaret Lazarus Dean received a BA in anthropology from Wellesley College and an MFA from the University of Michigan. She is the author of the novel The Time It Takes to Fall and the recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Tennessee Arts Commission. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Tennessee.

Event date: 
Monday, September 26, 2016 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
124 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Angels of Detroit Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781632863638
Published: Bloomsbury USA - July 5th, 2016

Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781555977092
Published: Graywolf Press - May 19th, 2015