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Meet our Debut Novel Panellists

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.

tiya-miles

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.

angela-fournoy

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.”

greermacallister

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.

Raffi Hadidian

Don’t miss a chance to meet writers whose books you will probably be reading for years to come.

Ann Arbor Public Library hosts reception for exhibit on the Book Jacket competition

Book Jacket contest entry

Book Jacket contest entry

Join the Ann Arbor Public Library for a pre-BookFest reception for the upcoming 12th annual Kerrytown BookFest, 7 P.M.-8 P.m., Friday, September 5 at the downtown branch library, 3rd floor. The event includes elegant refreshments and exquisite music by harpist Deborah Gabrion. The reception marks the grand opening of The Art Of The Book, Kerrytown BookFest Exhibit at the Library which showcases entries from the BookFest’s 7th annual Book Cover Design contest for high school students. The exhibit and will be on display on the 3rd Floor of the Downtown Library through October 12. The contest, which was open to all Michigan High School students and was sponsored in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, asked the students to re-imagine a cover for a chosen book and give a visual interpretation of the written word. This year’s book was “Paddle-to-the-Sea, a Caldecott medal winning book by Holling C. Holling who was raised in Leslie Michigan.  This year’s BookFest features three modern-day Caldecott winners: Chris Raschka, Brian Floca and Eric Stead. Read more about the Book Cover contest here and here. Check out the covers of all the entries here. The program includes remarks by John Hilton, editor of the Ann Arbor Observer, who will discuss the 12th annual Kerrytown BookFest and provide an overview of the exhibit and the book design contest.  Robin Agnew, co-owner of Aunt Agatha’s and president of the Kerrytown BookFest will announce the contest winners. She will be joined by Nancy Shaw, local children’s author, and contest judge. The 12th annual Kerrytown BookFest, (kerrytownbookfest.org), which will be held on Sunday, September 7,is an event celebrating those who create books and those who read them. The primary goal is to highlight the area’s rich heritage in the book and printing arts while showcasing local and regional individuals, businesses, and organizations. Since 2003, the BookFest has been growing, sharing, and discovering more and more about the rich book culture in this region. For more information on this event, call the Library at 734-327-4555 or visit our website at aadl.org.

Mystery writers will shine at this year’s Kerrytown BookFest

estlemanestlemanThe Kerrytown BookFest is like a magnet and each year, mystery writers from all over the country visit the BookFest to speak on panels, meet fans, and sign books.   This year the Bookfest is hosting two mystery panels with suspense and thriller writers and one with authors who write romantic suspense.

The suspense panel features Michigan treasure Loren D. Estleman.  The creator of the long-lived Amos Walker private eye series set in mostly in Detroit,  Estleman also is an award winning writer of Westerns, stand alone historical mysteries, and many other novels, more than 70 in all.

Estleman will be joined by Michael Harvey, whose private eye novels featuring Michael Kelley (The Chicago Way) are set in Chicago; and another Chicago based-author, Theresa Schwegel, who won the Edgar award for her first novel, Officer Down.  Her latest novel is The Good Boy.  Rounding out the panel is Michigan newcomer Elizabeth Heiter, whose first novel, Hunted, was published this winter.

The panel will be moderated by Detroit Noir editor E.J. Olsen.

The Romantic Suspense panel features New York Times Bestselling authors Tasha Alexander, who writes the Lady Emily Victorian mysteries (Behind the Shattered Glass) and Lauren Willig, whose series beginning with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is a fan favorite.

Joining these two veterans are newcomers  New Yorker Susan Elia MacNeal and Toronto based Simone St. James.  Ms. MacNeal writes the Maggie Hope series set during WWII (The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent) and St. James writes historical ghost stories (Silence of the Dead). Both writers have been nominated or have won several major mystery industry awards, including the Edgar for Ms. MacNeal and the Arthur Ellis for Ms. St. James.

The panel is moderated by historical mystery writer Anna Lee Huber (A Grave Matter) whose novels are set in 19th century Scotland.

Also if you get the opportunity extend congratulations to Jamie and Robin Agnew, proprietors of Aunt Agatha’s mystery bookstore. This past spring the Agnew’s were awarded The Raven by the Mystery Writers of America. The award is annually given to a non-writer who contributes the most to the genre.

Nicola Rooney named the 2014 Community Book Award Winner

Nicola Rooney named the 2014 Community Book Award Winner by the Kerrytown BookFest

February 18, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bill Castanier castanier@sbcglobal.net or Robin Agnew wengas@aol.com

Nicola RooneyAnn Arbor, Mich. – The Kerrytown BookFest has named Nicola Rooney, owner of Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, as the winner of the 2014 Community Book Award.  The award is annually awarded to the person in the Greater Ann Arbor area who helps create and retain “a vital book culture,” said Robin Agnew, president of the BookFest and owner of Aunt Agatha’s Bookshop.

“Rooney was recognized for her commitment as a bookseller for more than 20 years in Ann Arbor.  Her store is a big reason, even with the closing of stores like Borders, that the area has remained a city with an active book culture, and one with a busy and varied schedule of visiting authors from every part of the literary universe,” Agnew said. Nicola’s hosted or sponsored over 200 events in 2013.

Agnew said Rooney has made a long-time and serious commitment to the Ann Arbor Community, serving schools at bookfairs, providing books for library events in the area, serving on the board the Ann Arbor Book Festival, functioning as a vital sponsor and partner of the Kerrytown BookFest, as well as serving on the board of Washtenaw Literacy for 10 years.  Her store also hosts book clubs, writer’s groups and Master Gardeners’ lectures.

“Rooney feels bookstores are a vital part of any community and has made Nicola’s a comfortable gathering place,” said Agnew, who also owns another local bookstore,  Aunt Agatha’s Bookshop.  “I can’t imagine the Ann Arbor literary universe without Nicola’s enthusiasm for books and writers,” she said.

The Kerrytown BookFest will honor Rooney the day of the BookFest Sunday, September 7 at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market as a kickoff to the 12th annual day-long celebration of books which features more than 40 authors and illustrators and 100 exhibitors and book sellers.  She will receive a hand-made framed certificate and will be part of a bookseller’s panel along with some of her staff. Nicola Rooney joins the ranks of Ann Arbor librarian Josie Parker, bookseller Jay Platt, author Loren D. Estleman, BookFest founders Tom and Cindy Hollander, and others as the winner of the award which celebrates a significant contribution to the book community in Ann Arbor.