One of the best things about planning the bookfest program every year is focusing on new writers and hopefully helping to introduce them to a wide audience. Early career appearances from Michael Koryta, John Scalzi, Julia Keller, David Ellis, Benjamin Percy, Julie Hyzy (who returns this year) and others have made this a bookfest tradtion. This year we have a wonderful panel of women writers who are well worth discovering.
Moderated by the University of Michigan’s Doug Trevor, this year’s panel (1:30 in the Kerrytown Concert House, come early to get a good seat!) features Ann Arbor’s own Tiya Miles as well as Angela Flornoy, Greer Macallister and Aline Ohanesian.
Kirkus says of Tiya Miles’ first novel, The Cherokee Rose, “A buried, early-19th-century diary, the fragrance of wild white roses and the rustling of river-cane reeds bring to life this refreshing debut novel by Miles, a winner of a MacArthur Fellowship.” Kirkus sums up by calling the novel “ An enchanting examination of bloodlines, legacy and the myriad branches of a diverse family tree.” Miles, an historian at the University of Michigan, brings her knowledge to bear on her sometimes heartbreaking examination of the past.
Joining Ms. Miles is Angela Fournoy, whose first novel, The Turner House, is set in Detroit, and traces a large family hit hard by the auto recession of 2008. The New York Times said of her book, “Flournoy’s prose is artful without being showy. She takes the time to flesh out the world.” Furthermore, the reviewer compares her to Gabriel Garcia-Marquez.
Also on the panel is writer Greer Macallister, author of The Magician’s Lie, which is set in 1905 and tells the story of a well known magician, the Amazing Arden. At the end of her act one night her cousin (and assistant) is found dead with an ax in his chest, and the novel follows Arden’s “confession” to the police. Did she kill her cousin? Is she telling the truth? Or is she lying? The Washington Post says of her novel “Macallister, like the Amazing Arden, mesmerizes her audience.”
The final panelist is Aline Ohanesian, the author of Orhan’s Inheritance, the story of Orhan’s quest to discover why her grandfather left his rug business to an unknown 93 year old woman in Los Angeles. Focusing on the Armenian genocide a century ago, the New York Times says the novel “ is a book with a mission, giving a… voice to history’s silent victims. “ It’s also a rich, beautifully told family saga.
Don’t miss a chance to meet writers whose books you will probably be reading for years to come.