Kerrytown BookFest is set to go for its 11th year in Ann Arbor

Detroit may be on the brink of bankruptcy, but the city is rich with authors writing new books about the city’s economy, the auto industry and its music.

The 11th Kerrytown BookFest will celebrate Detroit and its writers with three panel discussions featuring celebrated auto executive Bob Lutz (“Icons and Idiots”), rock ‘n’ roll writers Steve Miller (“Detroit Rock City”) and Peter Benjaminson (“Mary Wells”) and urban observers Edward McClelland (“Nothin’ But Blue Skies: The Heydey”), Gordon Young (“Teardown”), June Thomas (“Redevelopment and Race”) and John Gallagher (“Revolution Detroit”) of the Detroit Free Press. The BookFest is set for 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday September 8 at the Farmers Market in downtown Ann Arbor. The BookFest is free. Parking is free.

As always the Kerrytown BookFest will be an eclectic mix of authors, book artists, used book sellers and fun and crafts for children said Robin Agnew, president of the Kerrytown BookFest Board.

“Each year we ask ourselves how we are going to top the year before and each year we do,” she said.

Agnew said each of the authors featured at the BookFest have recently published books or have books which will be unveiled at the BookFest.

As an example, she pointed to the Automobiles and the Industry panel featuring Bob Lutz with his new book “Icons and Idiots”. He will be joined by Steve Lehto who has written a new book “The Great American Jet Pack” along with Bryce Hoffman who recently wrote one of the definitive books on the Ford Motor turn-around (“American Icon”) and Larry Webster of Road & Track Magazine.

Once again, the BookFest will feature several superior mystery writers including Julia Keller (“A Killing in the Hills”), William Kent Krueger (“Ordinary Grace”), Cara Black (“Murder Below Montparnasse”), Erin Hart (“The Book of Killowen”), Libby Fischer Hellman (“A Bitter Veil”) and Alyse Carlson (“The Begonia Bride”).

A special session will feature the quirky and hot authors Matt Bell (“In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods”) and Ben Percy (“Red Moon”) who will enter into a discussion with University of Michigan writing instructor Jeremiah Chamberlin.

There also will be numerous hands on activities for both adults and children where they can produce their own accordion, collectible poetry book and Meander books.

Agnew, co-owner of Aunt Agatha’s mystery bookshop in Kerrytown, said children and budding children’s book writers and illustrators will be enthralled and entertained by the lineup of authors at this year’s BookFest.

Children’s book authors Ruth McNally Barshaw (“Ellie McDoodle”), Nancy Shaw (“Elena’s Story”) and Shutta Crum (“Dozens of Cousins”)  will join with award-winning illustrator David Catrow (“Max Spaniel”, “Dozens of Cousins” and author or illustrator of 70 books) to discuss picture books from their inception to publication. In addition, Barshaw will conduct a drawing session for young illustrators and Deborah Diesen (“Pout Pout Fish”) will read from her books and conduct sing-a-longs.

Since one of the goals of the BookFest is to celebrate book arts, three panels will focus on Michigan book artists, experimental typography, the changing face of book content and the Detroit letterpress printing scene. The winners of the Sixth Annual Book Cover design contest also will be announced.

Agnew said by popular demand the panel “Cherchez la Femme” will feature writers Bonnie Jo Campbell, (“Once Upon a River”); Natalie Bakopoulos (“The Green Shore”); and poets Susan Ramsey (“A Mind Like This”) and Lolita Hernandez (“Quiet Battles”) discussing the women’s point of view in writing.

“Each year we mix new authors, veteran authors from a variety of genres along with notable experts in the printing arts to create the best small book festival in the country,” Agnew said.

“The BookFest is sponsored by many-many small donors along with the Michigan Humanities Council and is planned, organized and run by an all-volunteer Board,” Agnew said.

“It is something we are very proud of,” she said.

At the BookFest Jay Platt owner of Westside Books will be awarded the 2013 Kerrytown BookFest Community Book Award for his contributions to the literary life of Ann Arbor. In addition, Platt will join two other longtime Ann Arbor booksellers for a panel discussion on bookselling history in Ann Arbor.

For a complete schedule, a list of authors and presenters visit

The Michigan Humanities Council is a major sponsor of the Kerrytown BookFest; other major sponsors are the Kerrytown Market and Shops, the Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room, Thompson-Shore, Zingerman’s, Michigan Theatre, WEMU Radio, Sisters in Crime, Michigan Radio, Nicola’s, the city of Ann Arbor, Aunt Agatha’s and the Ann Arbor Observer.

For more information on the grants and supporting the Michigan Humanities Council visit The Michigan Humanities Council is a private nonprofit organization which fosters a better understanding of our state and its people through local cultural, historical and literary experiences. The Council is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Tags: ,

2 Responses to “Kerrytown BookFest is set to go for its 11th year in Ann Arbor”

  1. Wonderful site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to a few friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks to your sweat!

  2. Thanks for the great articles, the book fest is amazing and I would love to attend it again. Too bad I live quite a bit away, ever thinking about doing something similar over at Purdue?

Leave a Reply