Literary scene in Detroit transforming thanks to group's efforts

Literary Detroit hosts author events, ghost libraries, book swaps

DETROIT – Detroit is being transformed. The art scene, the food scene and now the literary scene, thanks to the efforts of local journalist Anna Clark.

"I was doing an interview with Jeffrey Eugenides for the Detroit Free Press about his book 'The Marriage Plot,' and while he was going all over the country, I was very surprised to see he wasn't coming to Detroit," Clark said. "He said it was because folks with his publisher just didn't know where to go."

"I imagine that some of this is tied to the disappearance of bookstores," Mitch Albom said.

"A lot of the readers here in Detroit don't know about a lot of the book events that are going on," Ashley Calhoun said.

So Clark got together with fellow writers and book enthusiasts like Calhoun and created Literary Detroit, a place for publishers to promote their authors and for readers to discover them.

"Reason that we started the group, too, is to sort of promote unconventional spaces, you know, to have authors," Calhoun said.

Literary Detroit hosts distinctive author events, ghost libraries and seasonal book swaps around the city. It also created the Motor Signal Series, which showcases poetry and performance art.

"But the overall goal is to get people to read and speak about what they're reading," Albom said.

"Yeah, to discover something new and create a space where you can kind of tap into that energy where people are creative, or they are laughing together, you know," Clark said. "It's exciting. It's fun.

"Also creating a sense of community amongst readers and writers that, you know, we need to let everyone know that we are here and that we are worth coming to visit," Calhoun said.

Creating the connection between author and reader, Clark, Calhoun and Literary Detroit are reinventing the book culture in the heart of Detroit.