Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and journalist Anna Clark, whose critically acclaimed books about the Flint water crisis drew national attention, will headline this year’s Flint Literary Festival Oct. 26-27 at the Flint Public Library. They will be appearing together for the first time to talk about their books, their publication process, and the Flint stories they helped to tell.
The festival kicks off on Friday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m. with readings by poets and Flint natives Sarah Carson, award-winning author of Before OnStar and Buick City, and Jonah Mixon-Webster, author of Stereo(TYPE) from Ahsahta Press.
Saturday afternoon, fiction writer Stephanie Carpenter, a former UM-Flint professor whose short-story collection Missing Persons won the 2017 Press 53 Prize in Short Fiction, will read from her work.
The water crisis authors, Hanna-Attisha and Clark, will read from their work at the festival’s concluding event on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m.
Now in its second year, the literary festival will also feature panel discussions, a creative writing workshop, open readings and a book fair.
“In keeping with our founding mission, the Flint Literary Festival 2018 will promote literature in all its forms, from poetry to fiction to creative nonfiction,” said Connor Coyne, festival co-founder and director of Gothic Funk Press. Coyne’s own novel, Urbantasm, has just been released this fall.
Hanna-Attisha, a Hurley Medical Center pediatrician and professor, wrote the water crisis memoir What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance and Hope in an American City. Clark is author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy. Both books were published in 2018 and have been widely reviewed, including by the New York Times Book Review.
The evening readings on Friday and Saturday will be followed by receptions and book signings. In addition, there will be an after-hours open mic night on Friday, beginning at 8 p.m. at Totem Books, 620 W. Court St.
Saturday’s activities begin at 10 a.m. with the opening of the book fair and the creative writing workshop facilitated by Sarah Carson.
Carson recently moved back to the Flint area after 10 years in Chicago. Her work has been widely published and praised by the likes of Rivethead author Ben Hamper; Frank Montesonti has called her “the bard of the Flint, Michigan working class.”
Jonah Mixon-Webster’s debut poetry collection, Stereo(Type) was the 2017 Sawtooth Poetry Prize winner selected by Tyrone Williams. Reviewer Aricka Foreman said the book is “kerosene for the torch, for an empire in dire need of being burned clean. His is a language wild with imaginative annihilation: of ‘the contagion that carries itself into the host,’ and the violence of ‘the body’s ruin.’”
Four panel discussions are scheduled:
- 11 a.m. – Finding Your Pack: A discussion of critique groups with the Flint Area Writers group
- 1 p.m. – Coming Home: Writers Reflect on Returning to the Source–featuring Sarah Carson; Flint-native fiction writer Kelsey Ronan, one of last year’s featured writers; Jonah Mixon-Webster; Connor Coyne; moderated by East Village Magazine editor Jan Worth-Nelson.
- 2 p.m. – University of Michigan – Flint faculty and graduate students describe how a “sense of place” relates to our literary lives.
- 3 p.m. – Taking Your Writing Online
In addition, space is still available for authors who would like to share samples of writing in the festival’s Reading Room. Slots run in 30-minute increments from 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. and are open until filled. To register, go to www.flintliteraryfestival.org/2018-application-for-reading-room-readers/.
This free event is a partnership between Gothic Funk Press, the Flint Public Library, East Village Magazine and the University of Michigan-Flint English Department.