Celebrating a new partnership with the Michigan-based Meijer Foundation, which is committing $500,000 to sustain Wayne State University Press's Made in Michigan Writers Series, a group of Michigan-based authors took to the state’s highways this past weekend.
WSU Press, which is located in Detroit, hosted four unique literary events in four cities across the southern and central parts of the state within a 24-hour period Friday and Saturday. The Michigan Writers Series Tour kicked off Friday evening with a "Books & Beer Backyard Bash" at Detroit’s Old Miami Bar, where WSU authors Gloria Whelan (Living Together, March), Ron Riekki (The Way North, May), and Chris Dombrowski (Earth Again, Feb.) read from their new releases.
On Saturday, 10 WSU Press authors rode the bus 40 miles to Ann Arbor to participate in a “Mad Libs” poetry session at the Ann Arbor District Library, which was followed by a group appearance 60 miles west at Schuler’s Books & Music in Okemos, a Lansing suburb. The tour concluded with a reading at the Grand Rapids Public Museum 80 miles west of Okemos, more than 150 miles where the tour had kicked off the previous evening. Whelan, a 2001 National Book Award winner for Homeless Bird (HarperCollins), read again from Living Together, and Bonnie Jo Campbell, a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award for American Salvage, read from that work.
"The bus tour was all about connecting our authors with new audiences in creative ways," series editor Annie Martin explained. "There is such an amazing literary community across the state; it was really important to us to reach out beyond metro Detroit to tap into it. It was great; we’d love to do it again."
WSU Press’s Made in Michigan Writers Series launched in 2006 and publishes four or five books each year by Michigan authors. Genres represented include poetry, creative nonfiction, short fiction, and essays.