Literati is pleased to once again participate in the Voices of the Middle West Literary Conference! To celebrate, Literati will host some of the authors appearing at the conference for a special kick-off reading event on March 11th, at 7pm, in our second floor event space. Admission is free, but seating will be limited.
Created by Midwestern Gothic in partnership with the University of Michigan’s Residential College, Voices of the Middle West is a festival celebrating writers from all walks of life as well as independent presses and journals that consider the Midwestern United States their home. The Festival will take place on March 12th, starting at 10am, at East Quad on the University of Michigan campus. The festival includes panels and a book fair, and is free to the public.
The goal of the festival is to bring together students and faculty of the university, as well as writers and presses from all over the Midwest, in order to provide a perspective of this region and to showcase the magnificent work being produced here, the stories that need to be told…the voices that need to be heard. Truly, this is a celebration of the Midwest voice, and it is the festival’s aim to create an ideal environment for any and all to come and take an active part, to discover and discuss how rich our literary tradition is.
The festival, and the kick-off reading at Literati, will be headlined by a special keynote speaker, Ross Gay, the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry. He is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, “River.” He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’, in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.
Additional authors reading at the kick-off are listed below.
Fred Arroyo is the author of Western Avenue and Other Fictions, shortlisted for the 2014 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and the novel The Region of Lost Names, a finalist for the 2008 Premio Aztlán Prize. A recipient of an Individual Artist Program Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, Fred’s fiction is included in the Library of Congress series “Spotlight on U.S. Hispanic Writers.” He is currently completing a book of literary nonfiction,Second Country: Stories in Memory, in which he lyrically meditates on work, reading and writing, migration, and place—those sources of creativity arising from living and working in the Midwest, growing up bilingual on the East Coast, and being caught between urban and rural worlds. He is also at work on a novel set in the Michigan and the Caribbean, Fruits of Paradise.
Peter Geye was born and raised in Minneapolis, where he continues to live with his wife and their three children. He holds a PhD from Western Michigan University, where he was editor ofThird Coast. He is the author of the novels Safe from the Sea (soon to be a motion picture), The Lighthouse Road and, coming from Knopf in June 2016, Wintering.
Emily Schultz is the co-founder of Joyland Magazine, host of the podcast Truth & Fiction, and creator of the blog Spending the Stephen King Money. Her parents hailed from Saline, Michigan, and Detroit, and Schultz grew up just across the border in Canada. Her newest novel, The Blondes, released in spring 2015 from St. Martin’s Press. It received praise from the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and was named one of Kirkus Magazine‘s Best Fiction Books of 2015. Her writing has appeared in Elle, Bustle, Windsor Review, and Prairie Schooner. She currently lives in Brooklyn. Her forthcoming novel, Men Walking on Water, is set in 1920s Detroit and based on her family’s rumrunning history.
Amber Sparks is the author of THE UNFINISHED WORLD AND OTHER STORIES, out in January 2016 from Liveright/Norton. She is also the author of a previous short story collection, MAY WE SHED THESE HUMAN BODIES, and co-author of a collaborative hybrid novel, with Robert Kloss and illustrator Matt Kish. She lives in Washington, DC and is online @ambernoelle.