Skip to Content

Voices of the Middle West

Saturday, March 21, 2015
12:00 AM
Various locations in East Quad

Midwestern author Stuart Dybek will be keynote speaker at the second annual Voices of the Middle West festival on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the University of Michigan Residential College, 721 E. University Ave. in Ann Arbor.

The free festival begins at 10 a.m. and features panel discussions by authors and publishers, an open mic event, and an all-day bookfair showcasing literary journals and independent presses from all over the Midwest, with issues and books for sale.

Stuart Dybek, a lifelong Midwesterner and author of The Coast of Chicago, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, and Paper Lantern, will give a keynote address at 5 pm. A public reception and book signing will follow.

The festival will bring together U-M students and faculty with writers and presses from all over the Midwest to showcase the rich, magnificent work being produced here in the Midwest, the stories that need to be told, the voices that need to be heard. Panel discussions on fables in Midwestern literature, gender parity in publishing, and other literary discussions will feature outstanding regional authors Laura Kasischke, CJ Hribal, Caitlin Horrocks, Anne Valente, Marcus Wicker, Matt Bell, and more. The festival’s authors will read at Literati Bookstore, 124 East Washington Street in Ann Arbor, on Friday, March 20th beginning at 6 PM.

More information, including photos and contact information, available at

Food service will be available (cafeteria). Light refreshments served in the afternoon. There is no cost to attend the festival.

The festival is a collaboration between the literary journal Midwestern Gothic and the UM Residential College. Jeff Pfaller and Robert James Russell are co-founders and co-editors of Midwestern Gothic, as well as published Midwestern writers. Laura Thomas is head of the U-M Residential College Creative Writing Program and also a published Midwestern writer.

Preliminary Schedule (subject to change)

(10 am – 5 pm)
Showcases Midwestern literary journals and independent presses, selling latest issues and books.

Student / Faculty Panel
(10-11 am)
U-M students and faculty (from The Residential College and the Department of English Language and Literature) discuss creative writing in the university and the community.

Author Panel: The Midwest as Place
(11:15 am – 12:15 pm)
Writers discuss and debate the elements of the Midwestern landscape in literature and their own work.

Lunch Break
(12:15 – 1 pm)

 MG Press + 826michigan Anthology Release Party
(12:30 – 1:00 pm)
Join MG Press and 826Michigan as they unveil their joint collaboration, the anthology Tell Me How It Was, featuring imagined Michigan histories written by the 8th graders of Scarlett Middle School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Publishing Panel: Gender Parity
(1:15 -2:15 pm)
Publishing experts in the publishing discuss the role of gender in publishing. Do differences exist between genders regarding equity and access to publication?

Author Panel: Midwestern Fabulism
(2:30-3:30 pm)
Writers discuss the recent trend of using fables and myth in Midwestern storytelling and literature.

Open Mic
(3:45-4:45 pm)
Students and community writers are invited to share their work with an audience.

Keynote (5-6 pm)
Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago, Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, and Paper Lantern.

Reception and Book Signing
for Stuart Dybek (6-7 pm)