Five local authors to be featured in Ann Arbor library event

The Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) will host the next installment of its free Local Writers Live series, featuring five local authors presenting works ranging from memoir to poetry, April 12 at AADL's Westgate branch.

AADL staffer and event organizer Erin Helmrich explains that the Local Writers Live events were a "natural extension" of AADL's Emerging Writers workshop series, which returned to the library this past February after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The monthly workshops are designed to assist local authors in a supportive and encouraging environment. 

Local Writers Live events aim to create public exposure for some of those local authors' works. Attendees will be able to hear readings from each featured author, purchase their books, and speak with the authors directly. AADL’s website also describes the event as an opportunity for local writers to connect. Helmrich says such opportunities can be few and far between for the local writing community.

"It’s clear this is a town full of writers and editors, but with lots of people coming and going, there’s a transience that can make it hard to find other writers," she says, noting that other independent writing groups have been formed by past attendees.

This month's Local Writers Live event will feature readings from the anthology "Bring Your Words: A Writers' Community Anthology" by Kathryn Orwig, featuring essays and poems by Orwig and nine other authors. This will be the first time the event has featured an anthology. The anthology as well as local poet Rick Solomon’s book "Dali, Dalai" were both published by AADL’s publishing imprint, Fifth Avenue Press.

Also featured will be "The COVID Diaries: The Last Days of My Normal" by Ypsilanti-area author and Concentrate contributor Monica Hickson. Her book focuses on the struggles she faced after her husband’s death from COVID-19 in early 2020, following up on her previous book.

Helmrich says the Emerging Writers has seen an influx of new participants since it returned, adding that the program feels "reinvigorated" post-pandemic.

"People are wanting to support each other in smaller ways than they had in the past," Helmrich says. "People are looking for simpler ways to form a community and support each other in a positive way."

Local Writers Live is free to attend, and will be held in the West Side Room at AADL’s Westgate branch on April 12 at 6:45 p.m.

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.
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