June 25th--Act of Grace: A Conversation with Karen Simpson and Robbie Ransom

On Saturday, June 25th authors Karen Simpson and Robbie Ransom will discuss their new book Act of Grace from 5:00 to 6:30 PM at the University of Michigan's North Quad, room 2435. Act of Grace explores the story of Grace Johnson, an African American from Michigan who saves the life of a Klan member named Jonathan Gilmore--and the controversy which follows. Simpson and Ransom are both Michigan residents and graduates of Eastern Michigan University well known for their work in gender and cultural studies. The discussion is free and open to the public, and is presented by the Author’s Forum, a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, and the Ann Arbor Book Festival. Don't miss the discussion on this amazing story of forgiveness!

For the official UM Library event posting, click here.

Steve Hamilton Author Talk on Thursday

Michigan author Steve Hamilton will be giving a talk on his latest novel Misery Bay on Thursday, June 9th, at Aunt Agatha's Book Shop.

Misery Bay is set in Paradise, Michigan, and is a part of the Alex McKnight mystery series.

This year Hamilton won the Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Alex Award for The Lock Artist, also set in a Michigan town.

The talk will take place at 7pm, and admission is free. Aunt Agatha's is located at 213 South Fourth Avenue, about a block away from the Downtown branch.

2011 Arab American Book Award Winners Announced

ArabAmericanBookAwardLogoArabAmericanBookAwardLogoToday the 2011 Arab American Book Award winners were announced. The awards were established in 2006 by the Arab American National Museum, the Arab American Book Award honors significant literature by and about Arab Americans.

Local poet and University of Michigan professor, Libyan American Khaled Mattawa won in the Poetry section for his book Tocqueville, described as "part personal lyric, part jeremiad, part shooting script, and part troubled homage to the great wry chronicler of American society evoked in the book’s title."

Thérèse Soukar Chehade's first novel, Loom was declared the winner in the Fiction section. The the remiscences and anxieties of the Zaydan family unfolds while awaiting a cousin returning from Lebanon during a Northeastern blizzard.

The Evelyn Shakir Nonfiction Award, named for the recently passed author and scholar Evelyn Shakir, went to Arab Americans in Toledo: Cultural Assimilation and Community Involvement by Dr. Samir Abu-Absi. The contributors to this collection come from all walks of life and write on diverse subjects concerning the life and livelihood of Arab Americans in Toledo, Ohio, from economics, to politics, entertainment, to language.

Prolific children's author Diane Stanley won in the Children/ Young Adult category for her Young Adult book, Saving Sky about seventh-grader Sky who helps a classmate of Middle Eastern descent who is being profiled during a time of war.

In addition to the Winners, there were three Honorable Mention Awards:

Non-Fiction: Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity by Manal M. Omar, Poetry: This Isa Nice Neighborhood by Farid Matuk & Children/ Young Adult: Time to Pray by Maha Addasi.

Steve Hamilton, UM alum, wins top Edgar 2011 Mystery Award

Steve Hamilton, UM alum, wins top Edgar 2011 awardSteve Hamilton, UM alum, wins top Edgar 2011 award

Steve Hamilton, former Michigan resident and an alum of The University of Michigan, won the Mystery Writers of America's top Edgar prize -- Best novel -- for The Lock Artist.

Hamilton, 50, who won a Hopwood for fiction before graduating in 1983, was born and raised in Detroit. He had previously won an Edgar for his Alex McKnight series. In his stand-alone The Lock Artist, Michael Smith writes from prison trying to unravel the childhood trauma that has left him mute. He is a magnet for a number of evil forces who want to exploit his gifts as a master safecracker.

For the complete list of 2011 Edgar winners, click here.

Short Shorts at AXIS Coffeehouse

image by Tom Harpel, Flickr.comimage by Tom Harpel, Flickr.com
Short short fiction that is! Local writer Keith Hood will join us to share techniques for writing flash fiction, complete stories written in 1,000 words or less. As the Bard said -- "Brevity is the soul of wit." If you feel up to the challenge, join us in the Malletts Creek program room this Friday from 6:30-8 and get ready to think small.

To see just how much can be said in few words, check out It All Changed in an Instant, in which a collection of writers both famous and ordinary tell their life stories in just six words. In the spirit of things, here's a six-word story from me:

"Life is short. Visit AXIS Coffeehouse."

Malletts Creek | 6:30-8:00 p.m. | Friday, March 18

Live at AXIS Coffeehouse...

image by Clearly Ambiguous, Flickr.comimage by Clearly Ambiguous, Flickr.com
This Friday from 6:30 to 8 at Mallett's Creek, our friend Scott Beal will return to AXIS Coffeehouse to share his poems and his poetry-writing tips. When Scott is not writing for AnnArbor.com, he can be found at 826 Michigan, the Neutral Zone, and generally anywhere poetry is taking place. Scott's last visit was great fun, so come check out this one!

AXIS Coffehouse Presents....

image by Bruce, Flickr.comimage by Bruce, Flickr.com
This Friday AXIS Coffeehouse will be even cooler than it normally is due to the appearance of special guest Jeff Kass! Jeff Kass -- who can often be found at the Neutral Zone -- will present some of his awesome work, and give some suggestions for writing and performing poetry. The time: Jan. 21st 6:30-8. The place: Malletts Creek branch. Don't miss it!

Author's Forum: The Protest Psychosis

A conversation with Jonathan Metzl, Derek Griffith and Gregory Dalack -- all of the U-M faculty -- is coming up Wednesday Jan. 19 at 5:30 pm in Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery. This Author's Forum is called "The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease." In his book The Protest Psychosis, author Metzl writes about how schizophrenia became the diagnostic term overwhelmingly applied to African American men at the Ionia State Hospital and how that mirrored national trends linking civil rights, blackness, and mental illness.

AADL programs provide inspiration!

If you live hereIf you live here

Jannie Ho who participated in last summer's AADL Comics Fundamentals six-week workshop recently announced on her blog that she has finished her first comics story for the Sketch Book Project. In the epilogue, she thanks Comics Fundamental instructor Jerzy Drozd whose question sparked the idea for her book, If You Lived Here. And now Jannie’s book will tour the country before joining the book collection of The Brooklyn Art Library.

Pretty cool huh? If you want to develop your visual storytelling ideas join the next Comics Fundamentals six-week workshop. It will meet on Wednesdays July 6-August 10 (6:00-8:00 p.m.).

Exercise Your Creativity at the AADL Kid-i-Cotts!

by Marc Davis, Flickr.comby Marc Davis, Flickr.com
The Caldecott Winners and Honor Books have been proclaimed, including A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Ann Arbor's own Erin Stead! Now it's time for you to get in on the action. Stop by the Downtown Library Multipurpose Room this Saturday from 1 to 2:30 to hear a storytime presentation of one of these fine books, followed by a creative craft. Let your imagination take flight!

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